So I was just doing some research on Western and Eastern ideas on “shyness”. Although the terms “Western” and “Eastern” might be a bit reductive, as no doubt individual countries and even regions have slightly different ideas about things, the impression I’m getting is that in Western cultures we usually see shyness as anti-social or rude, whereas Eastern cultures tend to see it as thoughtf Continue reading “Thoughts about this Culture and Shyness”
There was a time when I was very stuck in the past at the expense of the present and future and by the time I realised all this it had messed with my thinking. Nowadays I don’t think I live with a thinking bias in any of these directions; I think about each one of them in a lot of depth.
I’ve got an insanely good memory when it comes to things that happened even a very long time ago; I can think back to things that probably should feel blurry now but actually I can remember vividly exactly how I felt and experienced consciousness in that moment. I attach a lot of emotional meaning to things I remember, even the smallest ones. I’ve a weird knack for remembering the exact year when a lot of memories happened without trying to- maybe I have a really chronological mind like that.
I’m acutely aware of the present too- I take in an insane amount of information about subtle things that are happening in a social situation as it’s playing out. It’s like I have a constant radar for figuring out how the people around me must be thinking and feeling. This is a useful skill but also can tend to hype up my social anxiety because sometimes it would be better not to know all these details… or have so many speculations about them, whichever it is.
And I don’t know if it’s starting to become obvious but I’m very much thinking about the future at the moment too. I seem to be having a mid-uni crisis where suddenly it’s going to be my final year of uni starting next September and I’d rather stay right here in this moment and ohnoworkexperiencecareersanxietyohno…
So does this make me well balanced or do I process all three far too deeply?
I just had a eureka moment while I was thinking about how my social anxiety developed. I already had detailed ideas about it but this feels like the last piece of puzzle.
So I’ve always been very much a peace-loving person. When I was little, people described me as the “peace-maker” among other kids. I never set out to cause controversy or offence but still somehow managed to do that (I’m on about getting bullied, which worked mostly on the level of social exclusion- ie: the bully turns the other person’s friendship group against them, they all make up, but then it happens again and the cycle repeats and repeats)
But I guess when you think of that kind of person you think of someone who’s unflappable and calm (At least I do). But I’m also the type of person that’s always been prone to worry and stressiness.
So maybe these two traits added together + experiences eventually produced social anxiety.
Because when I internalised the bad experiences I’d had with people, despite never trying to be provocative (I blamed myself for these things when I was like 12/13) , then maybe on a subconscious level I ended up paranoid about the way I could disturb the peace with people without even trying. So I got shy and anxious about speaking, fearing confrontation. And I basically conditioned myself to have these anxieties before I realised what I was doing.
I don’t know, it’s interesting isn’t it? I’m sure it starts differently for different people, but maybe some people can relate to this. I don’t know what practical use I can really put this information to, except to urge people (esp. teachers) to take bullying seriously… Please don’t see it as something you can ignore because it’s just kids being silly or whatever, because the experiences they have now affect how they will operate when they get older.
Sorry that wasn’t meant to turn into a preach. I do so strongly feel this is important though.
Just a short one today! I’ve come to a milestone, nothing major but it’s a start.
I’ve started to get professional help for this thing. I don’t know if it’ll work but I have to explore my options. And I also managed to tell someone I know about it today. And even though this is completely out there, actually talking about it, I’ve been pretty level-headed about it the whole time. I couldn’t have done that a few years ago, so I guess that’s a good sign.
That’s pretty much all I have to say. That must be a record for non-waffliness 🙂
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”
So it’s the second week of the second term back at university now (how poetic) and also the start of a new year.
We had a whole month off for Christmas, and in that time I went to Iceland with my best friend and then spent Christmas at home. I had the time of my life in Iceland, especially seeing as it was my first time abroad. Taking off on the plane was really something, and I spent the entire journey there gawping out the window. When my friend suggested bringing earphones for the flight there to watch a film I was like “Are you crazy?” In Iceland, we saw the northern lights, geysers, and lots and lots of snow.
Christmas at home was the usual, quiet Christmas, which we’re okay with. Sometimes I feel a bit wistful about the fact I have a whole tonne of extended family who we’re not well enough aquainted with and/or geographically close enough to to ever see at Christmas. But on the other hand I certainly don’t envy people who have umpteen Christmas dinners and parties to go to every year. Besides, I met up with some friends on New Year’s Eve.
Now that I’m back at university I’m not quite feeling the same heights of confidence that I had in Term 1, but that’s probably something to do with it being cold and dark January. My main freak-out was last Friday, when I had my weekly Creative Writing workshop and a lecture in the same subject afterwards. I guess Friday is usually my panic day for this reason; I’d probably have skipped a few workshops by now if not for the fact they are compulsory.
We submit our bits of writing online on a Monday and then everybody else prints off these pieces and marks them in order to give feedba Continue reading “On To Term Two!”
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”
I moved to university last Saturday dreading Fresher’s Week; Now it is Tuesday and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going!
I don’t know where my social anxiety has disappeared to! I know it will probably be back soon but right now in the most socially demanding week of the university year I feel just fine.
I love my flatmates– there are 7 of us and we get along really well. 3 of us are planning to get the bus into town and go shopping next week. Lancaster is a beautiful city, although I haven’t explored it much yet. It’s only small, town-size really. It has a castle and all the buildings look quaint and old. I’m really into History as well so living in a historical city like this is a bonus for me.
On the first day our Fresher’s Reps got us all together in the kitchen to play ice-breaking games, the first event I was dreading. Incredibly, I didn’t get shy and awkward and say lame things like I usually do. We went to the college bar Continue reading “Part-Way Through Fresher’s Week”
Ok, so I think now is a good time to make some sense of how social anxiety affected me at 6th form college. Hopefully in times to come I’ll be able to look back and think “I’ve come a long way since then!”
As I wrote before, I left college 3 months ago and I’m starting university shortly. If you’re not familiar with the English education system, college (sixth form) is a bridge between school and uni, usually attended from 16-18 (in my case 17-19 though) There’s a few different qualifications you can study after leaving school, and it’s your choice if you study any at all; in my case I chose the academic option of A Levels, where you choose 4 subjects in the first year and drop 1, continue 3 for the second year.
Two years ago I left my tiny independent Christian school of 20 and set out for college. I knew it would be very different from the s Continue reading “College Days (Part 1)”