Monday, May 8, 2017

Through the Looking Glass

I have terrible social anxiety. Anxiety in general, but the social stuff is just the worst.

I definitely get myself out there, and anyone would tell you I'm outspoken and confident. It's possible in short busts, best in professional settings, and if you look closely enough, you'll see that I'm probably missing an earring or my shirt is inside out. Before and after social obligations, I tend to need rest and silence. If it's an impromptu moment, I might seek immediate escape. 

This is the one thing I wish I could change about who I am. I accept my circumstances as I've created them, my body as it is, but I hate Hate HATE the social anxiety. 

I attended my niece's wedding this weekend and now feel a sense of relief that the event has passed. I spent all day Sunday recovering, not from alcohol, but from the mental force I expended the day before. It's like holding a panic attack at a low simmer. Trying to cup water in your hands. Or catch sharks with an aquarium net. 

I've learned that events are best faced sober, and with an observer's eye. I take one moment at a time, in slow motion. If my breathing becomes shallow, I look for the color blue- or any cool color- and send long breaths into it. I got called out at a meeting one time for using this technique; a coworker said I looked like I wasn't paying attention. I'd actually had a panic attack when they closed the doors of that very small room where we were all crowded in. Thank goodness the carpet was blue. 

Sunday's recovering included French press coffee, cleaning the kitchen, lots of Netflix, and a lot of wine. Maybe 6 short glasses throughout the day and into the evening. That's a whole lot for me, but rather than the amount I'm drinking, I prefer to assess why I'm drinking. One glass for the wrong reason isn't worth it. Three glasses for the right reason is completely wonderful. 

I won't medicate my anxiety with prescription meds. I tried a few different types, and I didn't like the part of my personality that they all deadened. I'm snarky, I curse, I have a really dirty mind, and I love to laugh. But I'm also very loving and care deeply. If it doesn't come out in the ways that society needs it to, that's not my problem. 

One promise I make to myself, is that the recovery self-sabotage needs to change. The negative self-talk and self-medication needs self-love.