I have social anxiety.
There. I said it.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Right?
Because it really only starts the conversation. Do I have social anxiety? I don't know. Maybe I don't. People with REAL anxiety might look at my symptoms and scoff at me. So maybe I'll just admit that I have mild social anxiety. I mean, I can look at the world around me and see others who have severe social anxiety. So maybe they're the only ones who can say it.
So maybe I have mild social anxiety.
But I don't answer phone calls from people I don't know. I don't make phone calls. I'd rather ask someone else to do it for me because in order to make a phone call, I need to have a good cry and find myself with no other options... like writing an email or sending a text message. I have more control over written mediums. I can read it over a dozen times and ask someone else's opinion about how I phrased it.
I was in charge of an event once. But I made a mistake and other people noticed. So I found an excuse to leave my own event so I could talk about it with someone safe. They agreed that my mistake wasn't intentional, so all I had to do was remember to do it differently next time, go back to the event and keep going.
I had a good cry first.
Did I tell you I'm really good at smiling?
I can wipe my red eyes, take a few deep breaths and keep going. All the while my mind is abuzz. It's like I can't turn it off. Yes. Remember to do it differently next time. Move on. But what about my job? What if people don't trust me after this? Will my mistake hurt my credibility? I don't always make mistakes, but what if this one turns out to be a really big deal?
BUT I'M HUMAN. We're all human.
But that doesn't mean people always give me grace.
But I would have given them grace...
But they might not give it to me.
There was someone else listening when I got called on my mistake. How will this affect them? What are they thinking right now? Maybe they sympathize with me.
Or not. Especially if this one little thing ruins the rest of the event. Stains it. Taints it.
But that's not rational. It'll probably be fine. I just need to stop obsessing. Spiraling. No one else is probably thinking about it. But I would be thinking about it. If I were in their place. I would feel so bad for the host. I would feel awkward. Do they feel awkward? I really hope they don't feel awkward.
When someone starts talking to me, I have a tendency to listen with one ear. I take in what they're saying, all the while coming up with a response or reaction. What is the most appropriate, wise thing to do? If I get this right. Everything will go well. I can totally handle a social event if everything goes well.
I'm not completely agoraphobic. I can go out in public. I do it all the time.
But I'd rather be at home.
The people at home have to love me whether I'm perfect or not.
God loves me whether I'm perfect or not.
Ok, Emily... think about this. GOD LOVES YOU. It will be okay. Adapt. Things didn't get off on the right foot, but if you just adapt, it'll be all right. Laugh it off. Learn. It'll be fine.
There we go. God loves you.
God loves you.
Can you hear the music? That's a nice song.
Look, they're laughing. They seem to be having a good time. It'll be fine.
Reality check. God loves you.
Deep breath. You'll wake up in the morning, and everything will be fine. There will be more days. And people's opinions aren't formed in a moment, they're made over a series of moments. Just breathe.
Reality check. My feelings are NOT my reality.