To the average person, me working in a job that requires interaction with strangers every day, whether on the phone or in person, would seem odd. Believe me, it is, even to me. Even though I have lived with anxiety, panic attacks and depression my entire life, I still have difficulty managing it.
There are days when I can get up and face the world like a brave lioness, and others where I literally have to bribe myself to leave the bed and finish my to-do list.
The past few days, weeks have been seesawing between highs and lows and it is showing more and more. I don’t think a single day has passed this month where I haven’t cried at least once. I have been feeling so lost.
The worst moments are when I have had to leave home. I have not been handling this second lockdown well at all. So to have to stand in long lines to buy groceries is nerve-wracking and exhausting. I feel so exposed standing there alone, waiting, headphones plugged in and trying to stay calm on the surface. Yet, I was so anxious thinking everyone is staring at me, the poor sad lonely woman in her tomboy clothes, bad skin and ratty slippers.
As the line slowly moved forward, I lowered the volume so I could hear when I was called forward to enter the store. And something told me to take deep breaths and just listen, well eavesdrop. I noticed that no one was noticing me. The couple in front of me were preoccupied with discussing the weather. The sisters behind me were on call after calls talking with friends about which store had what and making game plans.
No one was talking about me. Only me in my head was talking about me. I should wear more makeup, I should exercise, I should dress differently otherwise no one will like me or want me. My finances are trash and who would want someone that can’t budget at my age. I am my own worst enemy, and I need to stop.
When I will I don’t know. I am a broken record at this point because I know what my issues are, but I still fear facing them. And until I do, I will never fully heal.
Dear Social Anxiety,
When you shut up long enough and listen and just pay attention, you’ll realise everyone else is busy talking about everything else but you.
So just breathe and relax. Enjoy your day.