There. I said it.
I have always been that shy, calm girl. Few friends, good grades, not one to talk much. I thought it was simply because I am an introvert and it’s simply my nature. Little did I know what it is so much more…
Years went by and I went out less, lost contact with more and more friends, stayed in almost every day, talked with people only in school. I never was the one to raise a hand to answer a question even though I knew I know the right answer. I pretended to think instead. I always prayed that teacher won’t call me to go to a blackboard. I dreaded the moments when a group or oral presentations were announced.
I am sure as hell wasn’t thrilled by a thought of going on stages, speaking in front of people, even my class. I am not even talking about speaking on the phone or calling someone I don’t know. Even going up to a teacher to ask a question was nerve-wracking for me.
And that’s when I knew. It’s not being an introvert. It’s mental.
I got anxiety attacks. I couldn’t stop shaking and my hands were sweating. I was overthinking every little detail and thinking of the worst scenarios were could be. Even going by bus alone stressed me out so much. I felt like every passenger was judging me and making fun of me. I wouldn’t go down school hallways alone without feeling anxious and tense.
I hated it when people told me “stop overthinking”, “god, just do something alone for the first time”, “can’t you do it alone?”, “stop being stupid”. They just didn’t get it. They didn’t get what was going on in my head. They didn’t get that I wanted to talk and make new friends, but when I came face to face with that person all my wants were replaced by worry and stress. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t even hold a freaking eye contact with them. And it’s not something I can do easily, to “stop being stupid”.
I am sure lots of you who have any form of anxiety will relate to this. And I am sure you know that it isn’t something we can control easily. But it is something we can fight with. And I am telling this not to only you all, but to myself too. I want to fight it. I want to make new friends. I want to go out and not worry about everyone else around and every little detail. I want to be happy and content with myself.
I started acknowledging my social anxiety in May 2015. I started by making myself believe that it is okay to have fun. I started letting go of worry and replaced it with positivity. Every day I am faced with these little things, situations that others get annoyed with and angry at and all I do is tell them that it is okay and not worth worrying about. I choose to go on and look at the bright side of it. And I encourage you to start fighting with your illnesses, worries, learn to see a good in a bad, learn to say no when it’s needed and yes when you want it.
We all can become free of anxiety and stress, we can become happy. And all we need to do is change our mindset. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding. Hopefully, I will get rewarded soon too.