fear and anxiety · personal experiences · social anxiety

Living with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

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I don’t normally post sad things like these, but I won’t be able to sleep until I write it all out. Feel free to click away.

Ever since I was young, everybody said that I was anti-social and just couldn’t make or keep friends. I don’t blame them, it’s all true even to this day. But I always knew that this was more than just a feeling of shyness because I actually feel anxious after any social encounters, which ranges from having a small group discussion to returning broken items to Walmart. I would then think about these interactions at night and beat myself up for not being good enough, funny enough, friendly enough, caring enough, not smiling enough… and the list goes on.

I initially ignored these thoughts because being ‘anxious’ in social situations didn’t make sense to me at the time. I thought I was just a weird kid. However, about two years ago, I saw a documentary that actually explained what was wrong with me. I immediately cried because it was like seeing a documentary about myself — I found out that, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been living with a mental disorder called Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

During the past year, I have exceeded my own expectations and came out of my shell a little bit. I got hired to part-time jobs. I was even appointed to take office on several organisations. I was proud of myself for once. With this, I thought that I would overcome SAD in no time. But turns out I was wrong.

When I first got into my part-time jobs and officer positions a year ago, I was excited despite of my SAD. But as time flies by, my performance started to plummet. Real bad. I stopped having the initiative to do tasks, I avoided going to organisation events (mostly by calling in “sick” or saying that I have exams the next day even though I don’t), I stayed quiet in meetings, and I even resisted going to them. The worst part is, people started to notice; and they thought I was lazy. I wasn’t… I swear. For some reason, I had the tendency to just stay at home and cry silently as much as I could, thinking about the things that I was just too anxious to do.

Obviously, nothing good came out of these. I started to lose friends and I felt like a total jerk. I was losing all motivation and I convinced myself that I was a loser because all my friends were excelling and progressing into better people. Plus, I wasn’t in any of my friend’s pictures because I never came with them to gatherings. I deactivated Facebook a couple of times thinking that I would feel better, but guess what? I never did. All of these outcome just made me even more anxious.

I’ve tried so hard to forget that I own a brain that’s literally ruining my life. I’ve tried so hard to be a great communicator by reading Dale Carnegie books, meditating, and creating self-affirmations every morning and night. None of them seem to make me feel better. For some weird reason though, I don’t mind public speaking. I don’t care what people think of my when I go up on stage. But my anxiety start to act up when I have to be in group discussions or in one-on-one conversations.

I am writing this tonight because I just recently got another anxiety attack; but I felt that this one was the worst after a long time. I couldn’t sleep because I was literally shaking just thinking about what I did today. I was misunderstood many times in one day by multiple people that I lost count. Made me feel like a terrible person. I also felt like I was just sitting still while the others were being active. I. was. useless. I tried hard, I really did.

When my friends talk about allergies or light physical illness, I would congratulate them in my own mind. They do not know how much worse a mental disorder is. At least physical illnesses are visible, making it usual for people to be concerned about them.. and then treat them. Mental disorders that nobody has ever heard of? “Just try harder,” they say. “Just go on and be more active,” they scold. I can only wish I had a broken leg instead of being afraid of social situations. I can only wish that these kinds of disorders were given the same amount of attention as physical illnesses.

It’s now 5AM and I’ve lost the ability to think. All I can try to do right now is try to sleep and hope things will get better tomorrow. Again, I don’t normally do these kinds of posts. I usually post happy stuff in an attempt to make myself and everyone else happy. I just can’t do it right now.

If you’ve had experiences relating to social anxiety, please let me know. Because I need help. I don’t know what else to do.