Social Anxiety has presented itself in lots of different ways for me over the years, taking away so many of my opportunities along with it. I’ve cancelled plans more times than I can remember, using sketchy excuses to get out of them. I’ve dodged phone calls and not called back. I’ve delayed seeking treatment for my asthma out of fear of wasting a Doctors time. I’ve even suffered from insomnia because my anxious thoughts have kept me up all night.
I’m doing much better now, after lots of treatment and hard work but there are still habits that linger, that I need to work on even harder to break. It’s tough breaking habits that you have had your whole life.
Most recently I came to the realisation that one habit in particular is directly caused by my social anxiety and I’d had no clue this entire time:
I’m never able to make a decision!
The inability to make a decision comes out of me in many forms, such as “It’s up to you”, “I don’t mind”, “I’ll do whatever you want” or simply saying “Okay” instead of “Yes please” because I’m worried that if I make a formal decision, based on something that I want, even if you have asked me what I want, that my decision will be wrong or that I’ll somehow come across as selfish.
I’d never really noticed that I did it until someone pointed it out (in a very nice way) and it all started to click. It runs along the same lines as avoidance, like when I cancel plans or dodge those phone calls but it is subtle and easier to miss.
It doesn’t just occur when I’m around other people either, it’s so ingrained into me that sometimes I struggle to make a decision on my own because I’m too afraid of ruining my own day. Running out of time is a big thing for me, I feel so rushed to do anything because I’m so busy that when I do have a small bit of time to myself, I pretty much waste it all by internally debating what I should be watching, eating, listening to. It’s almost as if I’m going to really disappoint myself if I don’t make the right decision.
When people ask me what I want to do/eat/watch, it’s like I freeze and while it feels like my mind has gone blank, I’m actually firing a gazillion thoughts about what I’d really like to do but I’d hate to say it loud in case I seem silly, or it doesn’t make the other person happy.
I do know what I want most of the time but I am so used to being afraid to say it, that “I don’t mind” is as close to a decision as I usually make.