I have self-confidence that is equivalent to a pile of dirt. Everything I do, I seem to always find a niggling speck of wrong in my actions or lack of actions. Many times just the fear of humiliation or failure keeps me from pursuing the thing I wanted to do. I’ve been through this cycle for years to know that what I’m so often envisioning most likely won’t happen. Or, if it does, it is not as awful as my imagination made it out to be. The recent times I dared to defy my inner critic, I suppose I can say I felt good for a brief period but I always ended up spiraling down the dark rabbit hole again sooner or later.
I am a very socially anxious person; no doubt about that. This blog began as a public journal about my immense struggles with social anxiety and expanded through countless entries to include my observations about how poorly I deal with anxiety in general. Then I played around with adding posts about other things I’m interested in, like my cross stitch projects and sometimes a review for a book I really enjoyed. I considered having different blogs to keep my ramblings separate from everything else but decided against it. I’m both comfortable and uncomfortable letting people see that the person known as Nat has a life and interests beyond anxiety.
I am starting to consider if being part of the social anxiety meetup group has done more harm to me than good. In the beginning, I felt like attending the meetups was a sometimes safer way to meet new people with the knowledge everyone else there is also struggling with social anxiety. However, this hasn’t made it easier for me to initiate conversations or just share my opinions in a group. The last time this happened weeks ago, I was so uncomfortable and sat in silence for over a half hour or more while everyone else around me chatted with each other. The worst part is I felt like I let myself get to that point because I knew that because it was a social anxiety meetup, no one would question why I seemed nervous and so non-verbal and that people would be fine I with leaving me alone and/or giving me space. Had it been a meetup at another group that has nothing to do with SA, perhaps I would have found the strength to push myself as I have done before. I am even questioning my ties to some acquaintances in the group, which seem feeble at best. Playing catch-up with people is terrible. I either have no updates to give them about my so-called life or I don’t think there is anything noteworthy to bring up. Then there’s the obligatory politeness I feel about asking people what they’ve been up to. The minute the words leave my mouth, I regret it and wonder what right I have to ask the question when I don’t know the person that well. Or if I do know the person, I still find some other excuse to make myself feel bad, like pointing out how long I’ve been out of contact with him/her and how fake I sound.
It’s possible to change how my mind reacts but I don’t have patience to work through it. I know that when the endless waves of self-doubt hits me, it’s my anxiety talking to me. I’ve had this for so long that fighting against it is mentally exhausting. That’s why most of the time it is victorious over me.