Social Anxiety, Could It Be?

Post date: 1/20/15

I have been thinking a lot recently and I don't know exactly how to put it words, but I feel like I need to talk about this or else it might never go away. I have decided to use the beginning of 2015 as a turning point for myself and try to push myself, take advantages and talk more (I will explain).

I am a full-time student, a blogger and I live abroad. All of these things put an extra pressure on me as if being in my 20ties isn't enough.. When I hear a question: "Are you happy?", I immediately think "yes! of course!" - I have family, health, friends.. but then again, I am not happy with myself. And this is not that much about the appearance, but the way I feel.

I started this blog when I still was in high school and living with my parents back in Latvia. It became quite successful back then and I was very proud of it because it was something that made me communicate with others with same interests as me. When I got contacted by this PR agency who worked with H&M back then, it was a complete twist in my life. I was over the moon and excited, but it came with other things that most people would enjoy, like events, socialising, press. This is where I start to panic.

No matter how excited I am for an event, every time I receive an invitation I get this panic attack. And not about what to wear (that one too, but it's fixable), but about the fact that I need to go out in public. I have never been to an event here, in Copenhagen, though I am invited to my first Copenhagen Fashion Week (panic!), but in Latvia, the fashion industry is so small that everyone knows everyone. There are already small groups of people always sticking together, friends. To be a newbie in such a community makes me want to just run away. Usually I don't, because I enjoy being a blogger more than anything and I want to keep doing this, but here is the part about talking more.. I am the one who you would see going to an event (a +1 is a relief) and standing alone, taking photos and videos that I need for my blog, gathering the info needed, thanking the organizer and leaving. This is where I started to notice that something must be wrong with me. When I did the research about this, Social Anxiety Disorter popped up and made me put the puzzle together. Then I realised that it's not just the events, it has been with me for a long time - school, out-of-school activities, everywhere. I can go to a friends party and not speak a word unless a glass of wine is put in my hand.
I have talked to my mom a lot about this and we came to the conclusion that she deals with the same problem. I still don't know what exactly it is though and why is it affecting me so much.. To be honest, I wouldn't like to call it Social Anxiety or something like that, I just want it gone and forgotten..

The same is with school. We do so many presentations and group projects that I much rather would call in sick than go to school. I try to avoid any kind of speaking in public and being the center of attention. I have had multiple situations while presenting a project in front of class and I would be the person who stands in the very corner and doesn't say a word. I've been called out for this and most of the times they assume that I have no idea what the project was about, but the real thing is that I completely freeze when in front of an audience and can't say a word. Of course I am working on it now because this actually affects my grade, but whenever I can, I much rather stay low.

I remember my dad always telling me to talk to people, be open and free, but I never could. I am very polite, I say hallo to new people, shake hands or whatever and then I just freeze. I feel like this problem is taking over my life and the things I want to do. I avoid social gatherings as much as possible, I enjoy being locked up in my room and I much rather listen than talk, but if you live long enough like this, you start to get to the point where it harms you.
I try to always smile and be active, but it is hard to keep up when it is not how you really feel..

As you can see, I haven't been very active on my blog. I have tons of ideas, great plans, but all of them mean that I need to push myself like never before. And that is exactly what I plan on doing this year, but I need to hear your thoughts about this. Do you get the same feelings? For a long time I though I had a depression, but it can't be it. I know it's all in my head and unless I start working on it, it will stay there.

Thank you for reading.


Image source: Pinterest; edit: me