I love that word – nonetheless . It just feels quite wrong and doesn’t fit to either the pen nor the tongue does it? Arrggh already waffling on and haven’t even begun yet!
When you suffer from social anxiety it’s really tricky to explain to people how difficult it can be to do usual day to day things. How tasks and interactions that other people wouldn’t give a second thought to can be and feel impossible.
I wish this wasn’t the case. I wish I could click my fingers and make my social anxiety disappear . That I would find myself sauntering down the street with confidence , head up, shoulders back .Striding along looking people dead in the eye .
NOT attempting to take up as little space in the world as possible.
NOT choosing self service tills to avoid human interaction.
NOT struggling to express myself on subjects I know I am knowledgeable about for fear of other people thinking I’m wrong and stupid.
These are big things though , big deals . I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and be able to suddenly be a changed woman with a changed brain that doesn’t tell her lies about what other people think of her.
I’m left then charting progress by celebrating little victories . Chalking up the small wins. The times I don’t let the voice of social anxiety that lives in my brain whispering ” everyone thinks you’re pathetic” win whenever I have to engage with fellow humans.
I thought maybe if I tell you some of my recent little wins , and some of them are really tiny , maybe some of you could relate and give yourselves a pat on the back for your recent little victories.
I ANSWERED THE PHONE (MORE THAN ONCE)
I wrote here about my phone anxiety . I bloody can’t stand phonecalls . Often because of my accent I think (that’s what i blame anyway) people don’t always understand what I’m saying and all it takes is a “pardon?” or “can you repeat that?” and that’s me done .
Anxiety voice telling me the person on the other end of the phone thinks I’m an idiot who can’t even talk properly.
NOT this week. Now this is not a courage mind over matter thing. It was a backed into a corner type thing. They were important phonecalls , I had no choice. Were they as awful as I’d feared ? Course not ! It was fine .
That’s anxiety though isn’t it , it’s power is having you worried and catastrophising (my therapist’s fave word!)
I TOOK A JUMPER BACK TO A SHOP
Again pretty easy stuff here , surely ?
Errr well no not for me !
I bought a jumper , the sleeves were so long they could have made a straitjacket (not lost on me !)
Now it wasn’t very expensive so ordinarily faced with the choice of taking it back and dealing with someone who might ask me all kind of questions or just putting on the charity shop pile – then congrats charity shop you bagged yourself a nice new jumper.
Anxiety voice would be telling me the shop assistant would be thinking I was so stupid and how could she not even be able to buy the right size jumper.
This week I did it , shop person was lovely – win for me!
I ASKED FOR SUGAR
Now this is what I meant when I said some of these wins are tiny. However as it was big enough for me to point out to the friend I was with at the time then it deserves a mention here.
We were in a cafe . I was slurping away at my tea as per. However when i went to pour my second cup – shock horror , there was only brown sugar cubes left in the bowl. Ordinarily I’d have just used them so as not to make a fuss and silently berated myself for ruining perfectly good tea because I was too lame to ask for some more white sugar (yes it DOES make a difference , I’m from Yorkshire I am picky about my tea!)
On this occasion I asked the perfectly friendly and helpful gentleman for some white sugar and guess what? He brought it . It was that simple , the earth didn’t crumble beneath my feet or anything!
Social anxiety sucks !!
Little wins though , they’ve got to be little carefully trodden stepping stones to a big one . I have faith in that!