If you know me well, you’ll know that I love hanging out and talking to people. However, with my anxiety comes a whole lot of things that make something as enjoyable as socialising with people very difficult. In this blog post, I will describe some of the things that fire off bad feelings when I’m hanging out and socialising. The below points apply mainly to online communication, though some of them can apply to communication in the physical world also. Call me petty and weak if you want, but my mind is wired differently to yours, and you can’t judge me or think any less of me for it.
The sound of silence
When I’m in a voice chat with someone, or physically talking to someone who I don’t know very well, I will often sound quiet or not speak at all for a while. I often think that people will make fun of the way I talk, my accent, the way my voice sounds etc, or that they will simply not be able to understand what I’m trying to say. This makes me very sad, as it means that I may have lost a potential good friend. We all need friends in our lives, and feeling like you’re losing someone new who you have the potential to form a really close bond with is the worst feeling in the world.
Was it something I said?
I could be having a conversation with someone, and the person I’m chatting with could just stop replying out of the blue. It’s a two-stage process at that point. First, the anxiety kicks in. Many thoughts run through my mind, such as:
- Did I say something wrong? Did a reference I make, a question I ask or a view I put across cause offence or anger towards me?
- Am I being too annoying by asking too many questions, talking too much etc or does the person think I’m generally just a pain in the rear?
- Does the person simply hate me and not want to talk to me?
Then, the depression starts. I get very sad and begin to feel isolated and alone, I feel guilty because I feel I’ve done wrong by that person, and I start to hate myself more and more.
Out of the loop
I could be with a group of people, and they could be discussing a topic that is completely alien to me. As a result, I will often feel as though I’m completely out of the loop, and not really a part of the group at all because I have nothing useful or understandable to contribute to the conversation with. I often find it hard to express my feelings to others, and as a direct result, they all get bottled up and I start to feel sad, lonely and left out.
Somebody help me, now!
I am often too afraid to ask people for help and support with things, especially tech support, because in the past, people have snapped at me for asking too many questions and I was once accused of “harassing” someone via email. While I do look things up online, often the articles I read will contain terrible grammar which annoys and frustrates me to no end. Also, you can’t always believe what you hear or see online. I just think that talking to someone about your problem is the best support method. I often get very anxious when asking a question or asking for help in general because I feel I have to word it perfectly so as to not sound stupid or anything else. This anxiety ultimately stops me from doing it, and I’m just left alone to figure things out. It’s an awful feeling when you’ve tried every possible solution you can think of and nothing has worked, or you just don’t know how to solve a problem and you feel you have nobody to turn to because you’re so anxious and scared that someone will react badly to your request for help.
I hope this post has taught you some things and help shed some light on the thoughts and feelings that I often experience when I communicate with people both in cyberspace and in the physical world of planet Earth. I bet I’m not the only one who experiences these feelings. Be sure to let me know down in the comments if you have any similar experiences to me and how certain social situations make you feel inside.