So we got invited to meet up with some extended family for what I realised was the first time in my life around Christmas/ New Year’s (let’s start the post on a melodramatic note, why not?).
I feel like I’m still adjusting to actually knowing these relatives. I only saw them a couple of times before Age 12 and in the nine years since then, I’ve only seen them very occasionally. After this age and especially after age 16 I was of course getting very socially awkward. I’ve had social anxiety around this lot in particularly quite badly, and that’s possibly because I’ve been so anxious for them to get a good impression of me. And they are a family of ten siblings while I’m awkward penguin only child.
Anyway, this is how it went.
We went first to my cousin C’s farmhouse where she lives with her husband and kids. At first the three of us were stood in her kitchen talking to her. My mum and C get along really well. To her and and the other relatives this side my Dad is regarded as an oddball (that’s the main reason I’m aware of for aforementioned fallouts) when in fact he has mild Asperger’s and an intellectual, quirky personality that just contrasts dramatically with their practical, straight-thinking personalities. And from their perspective, I must be the Continue reading “I saw Family at Christmas and it was Interesting”
So having been a real worry-guts all this term and feeling like anxiety came back to get me, I went back to counselling today. I finished it in June and everything was much better then, so I felt a bit sheepish about coming back now.
I saw the same person as before, so at least it wasn’t someone totally new. I was really nervous, which was the first time I’d really visibly shown this in a counselling session (before I was very good at keeping my cool even if I didn’t feel like it).
The long and the short of it was, I explained the situation and he thinks I don’t just have social anxiety but “Generalised Anxiety Disorder”. That seriously unnerved me; I haven’t done as much research into GAD but I have it established in my head as something that’s a pretty big deal that I really don’t want to have.
I had been quite proud of the way I could figure out what was going on by myself ages before asking a professional (I figured out I had social anxiety about 4 years previously) so it was espe Continue reading “A Little Bit Shell-Shocked”
I’m currently going through an application process which involves Skype interviews, something that is new to me. I did one a month ago, then had a more informal call two weeks after, and in a few days I have another one. I read on one online website which was giving advice that skype interviews are less nerve racking than normal interviews because “you’re in the comfort of your own home”. Well I don’t know about that! The few moments where that screen appears saying “X is calling you” and you hear the little beeping noise is solid adrenaline, for me at least.
But it doesn’t have to be so bad! The first time I had one I think the best thing I did was pace myself, reminding myself that the interviewer shouldn’t mind if you need a few seconds to formulate a thought and that it’s best to just talk steadily and let things come out as natural as possible. I did this because I’m aware that when I’m anxious I tend to gabble things out and not give myself time to think, assuming the other person will be expecting absolute speed and perfection. But it’s been pointed out to me recently that I often reply much sooner than I need to, and this results in choppy, broken sentences.
I think, as cheesy as it sounds, it also helps to smile regularly as well, because that builds rapport and almost tricks you into feeling more laid back.
I say all this now but I’m still probably going to lose sleep over it the night before. Nevermind, hopefully my own advice will carry me through like it did last time! And if it doesn’t, I’ll just keep trying.
Three days ago, I got up at an ungodly hour to go to London for the day. I was going to an awards ceremony at St James’ Palace for completing my gold Duke of Edinburgh at 6th form college (I wrote about college in my 2-parter blog posts “College Days”) A trip to London is always exciting; I worked out I’ve been five times in the last two years which makes me feel like a seasoned London traveller, although I’m really not. It’s a 3 1/2 hour train ride from here in Lancaster.
The awards ceremony involves going to a part of St James’ Palace that tourists never get to look around, meeting Prince Edward, and getting certificates, which is one of those things that’s only going to happen once.
I didn’t think I was likely to see any of the people from college at the ceremony, as we all finished this thing just over a year ago, and there have been opportunities to attend an awards c Continue reading “Old Faces, Different Place”
If Fresher’s week went slowly, my second week at university has flown by. Nothing much happened this week, except for settling into the new routine. I don’t have any morning lectures or seminars, which means I now get the dream life of lie-ins all week long. This may change when I start to get coursework and essays however.
Things took a dive on Wednesday when everything seemed to go wrong; for one thing I took some clothes down to the launderette and accidentally put the washer on without any detergent in. That was a waste of money. I also managed to fail at online shopping one day so the next day traipsed into town on the bus and back to go to the supermarket, carrying 5 heavy bags all the way back to the bus in torrential rain.
All in all, however, things were good. I can’t say I’ve made any friends on my degree courses yet, but then I don’t have that many lectures and seminars to go to a week. A couple of the girls in my flat who have much fuller timetables were inviting new friends back to the flat or going to their friends’ flats and I was baffled by how anyone can reach that stage of friendship so fast.
I feel very much at home with my flatmates though and that gives me a huge sense of contentment. I had a conversation with one of Continue reading “Finding Routine and Settling in”
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.
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”
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”
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.