I never thought of myself as an anxious person growing up, but then again, I was extremely proficient at being the child my parents expected me to be in social situations. My mum was “painfully shy” as a child and was determined that I would not be. From a young age she pushed me into social situations, pushed me to talk to children, to perform tricks front of adults, (reciting poems/singing songs) all with the belief that this would not make me shy. Instead I spent my early years knowing that who I am was not good enough. Following my breakdown, and the subsequent counselling, I realised that the dread I felt when faced with something as innocuous as a family party was not ‘normal’ it was in fact a form of social anxiety.
Playing dress up.
I spent most of my life playing the role that was expected of me. I’ve spoken about this before here and it wasn’t until I realized I didn’t have to so this that I began to feel better.
I say better, not healed, because I don’t think I will ever be fully healed. The damage to my psyche, that feeling that being who I am is not enough, invades too many aspects of my life. It certainly feeds my anxiety when meeting strangers.
When we started to go to munches, both Mr H and I were anxious. He isn’t comfortable in social situations. Not that he has social anxiety, rather he simply does not like the macho bullshit that you often encounter when a group of alpha type males get together. I find the cock measuring hilarious, and the “one up manship” that ensues. I’m sure you know the type? If you have one arse, they have two?
But, we went and we enjoyed it. There were indeed several dickheads there but mostly they were nice and friendly. Mr H enjoyed people watching and I enjoyed talking to some wonderful people. We haven’t been for a while and I know when we do I will experience anxiety again because of it.
I knew I wanted to come to Eroticon as soon as I learned about it. So many people that I interacted with online were going, I couldn’t resist but even booking the tickets caused me anxiety. I immediately feared arriving at the event and being laughed at. Who does this girl think she’s kidding? She doesn’t belong here with serious, successful bloggers. Were just a few of the things I imagined people would think.
The closer the event, the worse it became, but even with the anxiety, when I thought we might not be able to go because of my back pain, I was devastated. You see, no matter how anxious I get, I will always battle my fears to go to things that I know will ultimately be worth it. There were so many friends I wanted to meet I knew I would regret not going. When we had to make that decision to cancel it took days for me to recover from the disappointment.
Fight the fight.
In among that disappointment was also some relief. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to that but when the Event itself was cancelled I was saddened for all the people who were preparing to go. I don’t know when it will be held now, or if we will be in a position to go when it is.
In the mean time, I will continue to fight my anxiety, attending munches and going to the supermarkets even when I’d rather hide at home where I know I’m safe.
Mostly what helps me fight through my anxiety is having Mr H at my side. He makes me feel brave, keeps me calm and when I stop moving forward, he gives my hand a gentle squeeze, and encourages me.
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