I have three tabs on my Chrome that have been there for weeks to months with drafts of blog posts, all about different things.
But now I just really feel like I need to get something out and that something is about my crippling social anxiety.
"Gab Latona has social anxiety? Yeah right" -everyone.
"You do not have social anxiety." - my dad
"You have the world's worst social anxiety and everyone hates you." -me
No one ever needs to explain to me how anxiety works because I know it all too well.
Growing up I didn't always love playing with other kids. I loved being alone a lot. I remember finding areas of the playground in elementary school where I could basically hide and not have to interact with anyone. Kids would always look for me and try to play with me and I would be like, "Ugh ok fine."
When I lived in Canada (I lived in Canada in 4th and 5th grade) I remember having this huge coat and when we go out for recess I would sit indian style so that my coat would cover me and then do a turtle move and pull my head into my coat to play with my polly pockets.
When I got to high school I knew literally two girls and I was barely friends with them. The girls who ended up being my best friends freshman year told me at the beginning of the year they thought I was a fucking weirdo because I didn't speak to anyone. I was terrified entering high school because I knew no one. But I had to go, so I just kept to myself until I was comfortable to interact with the other humans.
However, if I am socializing with other humans I know I am much more comfortable and less off putting.
I push myself a lot to interact and face my anxiety fucking daily. Saying hi to someone I don't know is generally a strain. People think because I am so social and have so many friends that there is no way I have social anxiety but... how can I explain this to you... Why the fuck would I make this shit up?
When I got sober I literally could not speak to other humans. I was in a mental hospital and I would, again, keep to myself. Then when I got out and was sent to rehab I refused to go to AA, mostly because of the social aspect. While I was living at home for the next couple of months it was insanely difficult to leave my mothers side. I could barely talk to people who were my friends. And I could not interact with anyone else. Obviously overtime I became less of a deer in the headlights and more adjusted to the world. But a lot of that trauma still lingers.
But you know what in life you have to push yourself to grow. If I let my anxiety get the best of me I wouldn't have a job, I wouldn't leave my parents house and I wouldn't have any friends.
People scare the living shit out of me.
People say to me all the time, "it's so awesome you can go to bars and clubs sober." Yeah that didn't happen over night and there are certainly still times when it's really fucking hard. Dealing with other people's bullshit when your sober and they're not is trying at times. I'm not judgmental it just puts me in a weird place sometimes.
Because of all this, I find relationships pretty fucking difficult. Talking about my feelings is really hard for me. And to be honest with you I have only done it a few times. It is painfully difficult to me. I can be sitting there saying to myself, "say it Gab, just say it" And nothing will come out of me.
Lately my social anxiety has been getting the best of me. I haven't been saying how I feel. I have been going to less meetings because I know less people. And I can't even begin about the gym......
It's way easier for me to say fuck it and stay home then to deal with any of my emotions and move forward with anything.
But usually it just takes a little push and I can get over it. I will say this shit gets easier with practice and time. At least with me.
I will tell you this, with all anxiety, you can fall into a hole. If you let that little voice of doubt and negativity get to you your done for. But if you fight it if you do the opposite of what it is telling you to do you can win.
And you know, honestly this is hard for me to admit because it ruins the facade that I portray as being a social creature. Saying I have social anxiety and then going and socializing is like uh, harder... But I keeps it real with you and I keep it real with myself. Honesty is sometimes all you have and extremely powerful.
I think I just needed to remind myself of all of this to cut the bullshit and take back control.
So if you're struggling with this just say yes. Say yes to what that inner monologue is saying no too and you will be ok. This too shall pass.