Nearly University

So I don’t have anything specific to write. Because it’s still the summer, I’ve been either at home or doing stuff with my friends a lot, and social anxiety hasn’t been such a big challenge. A Level results day the other week treated me very well because I got A*AA, meaning I’ve got into my first choice university with more than the grades they were asking for! While this is great and everything, I can’t begin to think how I’ll survive Fresher’s Week, that first week of uni where it’s solid partying and trying to make friends all week. I’m conflicted between badly wanting to make friends but being terrified of doing the work required to get there. 

Everybody will be trying to make friends and be befriended. It feels almost like marketing. If I’m not charismatic enough or funny enough or whatever enough, I’m afraid people will pass me by and make friends with somebody else instead. That’s how it often goes.

If we could just skip Fresher’s Week and get to the nitty gritty of university I’d still be nervous about this, but it wouldn’t be that bad, because the social expectations wouldn’t be so in your face as soon as you move in. I’d rather try to make friends as I go about my routine than having to force myself to walk into social events all by myself. Besides, social anxiety or no social anxiety, I’m just not the type of person who goes out clubbing and drinking at night. I guess I need to find the other people like this at uni, because there will be a few. But where are you supposed to start?

 

 

To Be Open or not to be Open?

Recently I’m turning over in my mind the question of being open about my social anxiety with other people. Telling anecdotes about “that awkward moment when” seems to be a new craze and naturally I’ve got plenty of them up my sleeve. But admitting to people that what you’ve got isn’t just shyness but an actual condition is a whole other ball game. I keep imagining possible situations and what people might say if I was open about it. The idea of it is strangely appealing, yet not quite appealing enough just yet. I imagine many would be very understanding about it, others might get kind of preachy, some sceptical, and others might think I’m attention-seeking.

Is it worth it? Does opening up bring relief or is it best not to tell the whole world? Should you just save it for trusted friends? Or would it be good to raise more awareness for issues like this that not everyone knows exist? I saw some stats somewhere that S.A.D is the third most common mental health problem after depression and alcoholism. If so, we could have all met someone that has this and never known.

If somebody could give me a witty or insightful reply to the question, “So are you usually quite a shy person then?” that’d be great. Saying, “Oh I have social anxiety and I always get tongue-tied when I meet new people,” seems rather a severe bomb to drop on someone you’ve only just met. What do you say?? I usually end up apologetically saying “Kind of, sorry” or “Not always,” but this is a conversation killer and makes me sound like an uninteresting and/or dumb person, which is hardly the first impression I want to give.

Then again, I’m not sure why these people think “Are you always this shy?” is a socially acceptable thing to say. What kind of answer do they expect? Pointing out a stranger or acquaintance’s apparent personality defect simply isn’t kind, even if said with good intentions, and it’s certainly not going to break the ice.

I know that this blog is so new that nobody’s really reading yet, but if by some small chance anyone is, I’d love it if anyone has any suggestions or answers to leave a comment.

 

Some Background

I feel like some background is probably required.

According to http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-social-anxiety-disorder?page=2 there are a possible mix of causes for the development of Social Anxiety Disorder. These are biological, psychological, and environmental.

  • I’m not sure if biological factors are that responsible for mine, if at all. I mean, my mum was extremely shy growing up, but that was kind of due to her family and school environment. On both sides of my family there’s a strong pattern of introversion, but I’m not sure if any research shows a link between this and social anxiety. Introversion is seen as a negative trait in Western society, when it actually has many benefits and doesn’t mean a person is excessively shy or retiring. Dictionary.com shamefully defines an introvert as “a shy person” when this simply isn’t accurate or backed up by scientific evidence. I’ve written to them at length a Continue reading “Some Background”

Doorknocking and other Horrors

I’m so excited about having a blog that I’m back again already!

I am unwinding now after spending the last half an hour stalking up and down my street knocking on the doors of folks who didn’t leave their Avon catalogues outside for me to pick up today. Thank goodness that’s over with! I had to knock on the nextdoor neighbours’ door (with whom my parents havent always seen eye to eye) and frankly that was just awkward. I knocked on another door and immediately noticed the catalogue was on an outdoor ledge staring me in the face- made a runner before anyone answered the door! On the bright side I actually got an order from one house, the house with the friendly black Continue reading “Doorknocking and other Horrors”

Eyup!

So on a whim I’ve decided to write a blog about my experiences with social anxiety. I can’t pin down exactly why. I guess I feel like I need some sort of voice, as I never really discuss it with people I know even though it’s a major part of my everyday life. I also just like to write, even if it is about such a subject as this. I’ll try not to get overly stuck inside my own head, as this isn’t a diary. I’ll also try to bring some positivity into the equation rather than coming across as whiny.

I’m 19 years old and am starting university in autumn, having just finished my A Levels at college. Although I know of a few people heading to the same university as me, I never really got to know them well at college (Social anxiety has a lot to do with that!). So leaving home for the first time is making me super nervous right now. I’m not entirely dishonest with people when they say to me “You must be so excited about university!” and I agree, because I genuinely am excited about studying the subject I love and doing the whole independence thing. But I can’t stress enough how much the social side of it worries me.

Ok, that was borderline whiny; I’m going to leave it there.

Signing off,

Charlotte