I’m known to be loud, funny and sometimes even the leader of the group. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. I’m not sure how I got to be this way- it’s not like I’m the oldest kid or had to fight to make my way in the world. I’m actually the youngest of three and haven’t had to fight for a lot. I usually just fight myself.
I tend to withdraw, get quiet, and think more than I probably should. I don’t know why. I just know that I do. If I’ve been around a lot of people for a day or so, I will probably need that much time to recharge my brain and want to be around people again. It takes a lot to engage fully with others. I have to think of what they’re saying, shut out the extra noise in the background, other thoughts in my own mind and focus on my answers.
I wasn’t always as quiet as I tend to be now. I didn’t always re-think what I say, wonder who will be out where I’m going, skip events where people I dread seeing might be. I’ve gotten a lot better at this, but for a time, I wouldn’t deal with any of this.
My husband was very verbally abusive to me for years, and to this day, I still pause sometimes before I speak. I still worry if something I say will upset him. He has done a lot of work on himself, but I am still scared. I don’t want to bring that side out in him ever again. That is something that I don’t want to repeat. I don’t just do this with him- I do this with almost everyone I am close to.
I developed severe social anxiety after the death of a close friend in 2015. I left the job we shared due to some issues that I had with some co-workers. I knew the environment would not be healthy. After this, I stayed away from events that I knew a lot of my former co-workers would be at, because I didn’t want to see or talk to them. I knew I would be angry with them, and didn’t want to distract them from whatever the event was. I asked about who would be at events for a year after this happened. I even skipped a friend’s wedding. She understood and I sent her a wedding present. I just couldn’t handle it.
I have been able to work on this through over a year of therapy. My therapist has been wonderful in helping me through so many issues. The struggle inside me remains daily. I’m still working on beating it with self talk, talking to others, meditation, and other healthy coping skills. The anxiety has eased, but I am sure it will remain an issue for a time. I have a better outlook on my life.