“You clearly show signs of social anxiety”. That’s what the doctor told my during my first assessment. I sat there thinking WTF and raced through my memories to check is she was right. In the past I’d always just avoided social situations because I knew I was quite socially awkward and “couldn’t be asked” for the effort except with good friends, or at least that is what I would tell myself. But social anxiety? I didn’t think I’d been truly anxious about a social situation since I was a teenager. I know what anxiety is. No social situation consumes my thoughts like the other things that spark my anxiety. Straight away I was skeptical. I always thought I was just a super introverted guy.
How on earth did this women come to that conclusion after a few simple questions anyway? Was it really that obvious on the surface? It had only been 20 minutes in and I was acting like typical Hamza, fidgeting and avoiding any “serious” conversation by making jokes or just laughing. She managed to pick up on the fact that I’m quite a smiley person and didn’t really stay on topics that were too serious or required an emotional response, which was fair, that exactly how I am, that’s a whole other set of issues (I’ll write about that one day). But her comments on social anxiety really pissed me off. Maybe deep down I knew she was right.
I went home and googled social anxiety and amazingly I could relate to most the things. I do feel pressured or dread meeting people I’m not comfortable with, I blush a lot, I’m extremely shy, I don’t make much eye contact, I hate being the centre of attention and there was loads of other stuff too.
Maybe she was right and it was masked by my numerous other issues, or I’d learnt to get around it by just acting like I didn’t care.
For whatever reason, it reminded me of the days my ex would try to get me to go places with her family and I would avoid it at all costs. It did play a role in me not spending more time with her, which was one of the many factors that eventually led to us separating. I got annoyed the more I thought about how it may of hindered my life if the doc was right. I hate the idea of being held back by my own mind.
Side note, I’ve never actually been to a real party outside of family ones. I always make excuses to get out of them. How sad.
I’m not sure if its worth taking meds for it like she has suggested, but I have started to re-evaluate my own intentions when an opportunity for a social interaction or gathering arises. I’m usually quite self aware or try fixing things when I realise they’re an issue. How did I not realise this before though?. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.