When we’re amidst a situation that has us shaking like a Weeble on a guitar amp at a Led Zeppelin concert, it feels far too real for comfort. It’s not crazy, it’s not made up, it’s very real okay?!
Obviously it’s not real though, it’s our mind at work blocking us from being a typical functioning human being but we convince ourselves that we’re in some kind of danger. It’s our brain saying “Oh I think someone just glanced at me briefly, they’re obviously judging me, so now I’m going to die”.
As real as it feels in the moment, it’s sometimes therapeutic and almost necessary to reflect on some of the silly things social anxiety made us do. It may be painful, but here’s a list of things I’ve done because of my social anxiety:
On the bus… well almost!
I can’t count the amount of times I have had to run for a bus, and when it drives away without me I’ve just carried on running. As if people aren’t going to know that I was attempting to catch the bus, they’re just going to assume I was actually going for a jog… ya’ know, with my smart clothes on clutching my laptop bag!
Other person; “Happy birthday”
Me; “You too”
Suddenly I don’t need to eat.
Many times I have entered a restaurant, been given a high table with only bar stools to sit on. Having attempted to sit on the bar stool graciously and realising I look a complete twat, I’ve got up and just left the restaurant probably looking even more of a twat!
Just. Keep. Running.
When I used to go out jogging along the river, even if I’d been running for 3 miles already I wouldn’t want to turn around and jog back because if someone saw me I wouldn’t want them to think I was lazy.
There’s no one on the phone but shhhh!
Countless amounts of times I have taken my phone out of my bag and pretended to text someone whenever I’ve been unsure of where to look! If I’m in a busy waiting room or I’m standing outside of a shop waiting for someone and I feel like everyone is looking at me; Out comes the phone!!
Yeah this is totally my floor, but also it isn’t.
A few years ago I got inside a lift in a hotel, there was already a man inside the lift. Being a gentlemen he asked me which floor I was going to, I panicked and told him 4. It wasn’t. It was 3.
Hoping that he would get out of the lift before me, he didn’t and when we arrived at floor 4, I swiftly exited the lift and started to walk towards one of the hotel rooms pretending it was mine (even fumbling around in my bag for the room key). As soon as the lift doors closed and I was no longer in his sight, I quickly ran towards the stairs to get to get to my actual floor!
Can’t breathe so can’t sing.
Once used my asthma as an excuse not to join the school choir.
I’m so sorry that you’re in my way.
Every time someone knocks into me because they’re not looking or gets in my way, I apologise to them! I never stop telling rude people that I’m sorry. When in reality I am not sorry, and would actually rather like to punch them in the face.
Just hold the pee in a little longer.
In a public bathroom completely alone, just about to pee, when somebody else walks in and sits in the cubicle next to me. I then hold in my pee until they have finished, washed their hands and left. Ahhhhhhh sweet relief.
I totally wanted this item in two sizes. I fluctuate like that.
I’ve previously bought a clothing item and because I hated changing rooms, taken it home with me, tried it on, didn’t fit, so bought another one in a different size instead of returning the original.
Just having finally put the washing on the line after being terrified for hours of people seeing me in my garden from their windows, it starts to rain. I don’t want to unpeg the washing and look like an idiot, but I don’t want to leave it in the rain after having put it all out and look like an idiot. So I run inside and hope for the best.
These are just a few of the things I’ve done because of my anxiety. There’s so much more, like all the times I’ve avoided using a vending machine because it might be too complicated and I’ll get it wrong! Or all the times I’ve waited at the traffic lights even though there are no cars on the road because I’m too embarrassed to walk across if the light is red!
I laugh at these things now, even if I still do some of them sometimes because nothing trivialises the fear in my head more than laughing at it. I suggest you write down some of the weird and silly things your anxiety has made you do and hopefully it will help you make some light of the situation.