If I had to choose my largest complaint about social anxiety, I’d have to say the way it twists my perception.
It makes me exaggerate the future to the proportions of an atom bomb detonation. Fuck curiosity, anticipation killed the cat.
That doesn’t make sense?
I don’t give two shits. I went to sleep at five thirty A.M and it is now 8.A.m and I was woken up by someone who doesn’t know how to respect other people by slamming my door against the wall and screaming about dishes.
You see I have a bad habit of snaking in the middle of the night. I will eat everything and anything and sometimes I use multiple dishes. It’s horrible. I don’t usually take them from my room until early morning. This morning I did so and one plate had syrup on it from some waffles. I was rinsing it off when my dad said he’d “take care of it if I wanted” so I left it in the sink.
Now here he comes slamming my door against the wall screaming about the dishes I didn’t rinse off. The dishes he said he didn’t mind taking care of, because he was doing them anyway. Those dishes.
Then he turns up the stereo in the living room and sings at the top of his lungs.
So it’s 8.a.m now and I’m having fun with my subwoofer and I give zero fucks if any of my metaphors make sense in this post.
If you don’t have social anxiety as a disorder than you probably don’t catch the jist of what I mean by anticipation killed the cat. I’ll give you a few examples.
When I first started high school, before I ever knew my behavior had a special name or label I took an Earth Science class full of freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors. The syllabus said there was a presentation project due at the end of the year.
I spent each night thinking about that project. Most nights were spent crying about it and similar things, and the few nights I didn’t cry I just destroyed the last bit of my confidence and self-esteem by berating myself because I felt guilty I couldn’t be like the other kids.
My teacher happened to have me in a college prep class as well and when we did mandala projects and mine was rather dark and disturbing (I swear I hadn’t planned it that way) he realized there were reasons for my silence and if not my silence, at least for my odd demeanor. He always asked how I was and always made conversation with me. When I showed up in the science class with a project at the end of the year, he stared and said “Oh, you actually have one?”
I said yep and I did that fucking presentation and it was one of the worst experience of my life and at the end of the year when grades closed I saw on my report that teacher gave me a massive amount of extra credit points.
So I got special treatment in the end. But the year up until that date was torture; it was on my mind every day, every moment, along with all the other horrible social things I was forced to do in that educational prison. This was before I researched my own symptoms and realized I had a problem that could be coped with better than how I was coping.
I won’t go into detail about the four years it took to convince my mother I was suffering.
Being in the advanced classes with all the rich white kids talking about their summer trips to Paris didn’t help either. There’s no equality in these schools. Hispanics are encouraged into the college prep classes (no, in my town they’re not the minority so stop), white kids are encouraged into the advanced classes, and the rest of us? If we look Hispanic we’re lucky enough to get into the college prep (my life story) but if not you’re fucked. They’ll preach “no kid left behind” and then choose specific ones to leave behind.
Why was I in the advanced classes? Because I knew my brain and I knew I wouldn’t survive in the regular classes. I’d blow them off.
What I’ve learned is people love words. They love words that make them sound good and smart. But their words are never backed up by intention or action. I hate when people say “well, the intentions were good.”
The intentions can’t be good when they’re lying through their teeth. The intentions can’t be good when they’re an illusion. That invalidates their intentions.
Anyway, anticipation of social events is always worse than the actual event. Always. I know this and yet I still get that bubbling pit of uncertainty and overwhelming despair in my stomach. Where am I going to sit this week? I don’t want to come in between people’s friendships so I should get their early and let everyone sit around me who wants to. But if I get there early I risk having to have a conversation with the professor, or rather sit there awkwardly and try to shove words from my mouth like a toddler with two tongues. When people start filing in the classroom I’ll have to glance at them and feel like an idiot when they look away quicker than I do–did I do something wrong? On my face? My expression? They just know how uncomfortable I am and it’s the end of the semester now, they already know how odd I am. When no one sits next to me–oh shit, I’m going to be stuck at this table by myself of course, I’m the outcast as usual. Great. Jolly. Look how stupid I look.
It’s just constant scrutiny of one particular moment in time. It replays over and over and the closer it gets to the date the stronger it gets. That’s when the urges come. The urges to skip class or weasel my way out of something surge. Sometimes I give in, other times I don’t. Sometimes I have to lie, sometimes not. When I’m at that seemingly uncontrollable level of anxiety I will manipulate whoever I have to in whatever way possible to make sure I don’t have to leave this room. I know how lies work. They’re powerful.
It’s like an addiction; it is an addiction.
Anticipation is one thing, but then you have to deal with the borderline paranoia. At least, I do. When I’m in a room of people I’m convinced without a doubt people talk about me. I’ve said this before. I keep saying it because it’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my social anxiety.
I know they talk about me. I know they ask each other why I am the way I am (I guess I think I present myself differently than others and I probably do) and I know they ask each other why I’m such an arrogant, rude, prick. I know one of the women in my classes, the one who stares–I know damn well she has something to say about me to her fucking friends. I believed she’d read this blog and if I’m being 100% honest, I’m still not convinced she hasn’t.
I see disgust and judgment in expressions that aren’t there. I see it and I feel it and I can’t help but fall to the feet of it. I hear lies in their words and their tone and I trust no one. Why would I have a reason to? I know I’m seen as lazy and stupid and a coward to be sitting in my room all day like there’s something physically wrong with me, like I have a real reason to be housebound, and when I ask people if that’s what they think and they look at me with that bewilderment in their eyes and their voice I know they’re lying.
It’s uncomfortable to walk outside or be outside or be around people. Yes, I cope, yes I push myself out of my comfort zone but most days I appreciate the fact that I can snuggle in this fuzzy robe and not have to say a word to any stupid fucker for days upon days.
This semester has been a rollercoaster in a horror game. My moods were all over the place but for the last month and a half they seem to have been quelled by something. The calm before the storm? A result of all the work I’ve been putting into my mental health over the last two years?
I don’t know.
I do know last week I had enough confidence to speak with my group and share ideas. This week, because I am now running on two and a half hours of sleep, I give zero fucks about all of them. Zero fucks. Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, and don’t you dare try to talk to me in baby voice or act like you know what I go through just because you were “shy” in elementary school.
I dare a bitch to call me shy.
I could use a fight.