I don’t talk about my social anxiety very often, I mean that’s kind of the point! I get intense anxiety in social situations to the point where I can break down entirely if a conversation goes too long or taxes me too much.
I have been this way my entire life. My therapist and I have it as a goal of mine to work on eventually. I learned to mask quite well as a journalist. I was capable of holding extensive conversations with people for long periods of time. I learned to make eye contact and everything, things that make me uncomfortable also.
You see my social anxiety is rooted in my borderline personality disorder, itself caused by all the bullying I received in my childhood. I am learning to work through that trauma with a therapist but for the time being it still causes me pain, physical pain to be in an uncomfortable conversation. I get tense. My heart races. I clam up. It triggers my flight response and I usually do flea those conversations that go too long or get too uncomfortable for me. It doesn’t take long.
I have to be in the right mood to discourse. Otherwise I am a mess. If I approach a person to initiate a conversation that doesn’t mean I want it to be intense or lengthy, it just means I found the courage to reach out and made an effort. Sometimes just saying hi is all I had energy for.
The reason I bring this up is because people keep telling me I am great at conversations. I see this because they see me doing a podcast or hosting interviews on my TV show. This is cool and all because it does demonstrate the skills I learned, but it is also misleading. You see it is one thing to interview someone asking them specific questions with a set purpose. You don’t see the behind the scenes where I tell the person I am interviewing point blank it will be a short, to the point interview and you don’t see me wrapping up the interview nervously because I hide that well. But it is still intense discomfort for me. Even talking to my therapist triggers my social anxiety.
I mention this because I don’t often show people the pain it causes me. I hide that part well. But it is there, very real as can be. I write this because I don’t want my friends to worry if I go quiet and stop reaching out. I want the world to know I am hurting right now even. I will be fine but I can’t always handle social interactions. Sometimes it causes me pain and I can’t deal with that right now.