I might have an outgoing personality, but my social anxiety cripples me.
One of the most difficult predicaments is having an outgoing personality but not being able to enjoy it to its fullest. Honestly, I don’t miss being around crowds of people all that much, and my social anxiety prevents me from sounding normal when I am thrust into a social scene. But when I go to the store, I can’t resist starting conversations with the cashiers, but even this fills me with anxious regrets.
“Did I sound stupid?” “Are they talking about me?” “Please, just take me to my secret place!!”
This mindset is a difficult one to explain. I called myself an introvert for a while, then noticed how I was filled with an uncontrollable urge to talk to strangers and smile at them. Then I considered my list of mental disorder diagnosis’ and checked off every symptom that aligned with how I was behaving. After this, I noticed how I wanted to escape from the judging eyes of those on the street, and I wanted to leave all those dreaded humans in the dreaded world that I hated.
This is what it’s like being socially anxious but having an irresistible urge to conversate.
Now that you have an idea of what it’s like being someone like me, I can show you the various struggles that I go through from day to day. These struggles do three things for me: They help me grow stronger and also make it hard for other people to label me. I think both of these things are positive outcomes. On the other hand, they also keep my mind in a whirlwind, and that’s not so good. Here are the struggles of me, the stressed and socially awkward woman with an outgoing personality.
Brave but full of regrets
Say that I attended a party, well sounds pretty normal, right? I may go to the party, talk with lots of people, even get a little wild and crazy if I’m filled with vodka or rum. These things are quite doable for me, but they are rare. There are a few reasons I shy away from this sort of atmosphere, however, and it revolves around my wavering self-esteem and my regrets in the morning.
I know we all have regrets, especially if we’ve had too much to drink. Having an outgoing personality means I am brave, but being riddled with anxiety also means I regret, analyze and grieve the words and deeds done the day, night or even the moment before. In the work environment, this can work in much the same way. Actions, taken the day before, can not only cause anxiety but can also cost your job.
Dating is horrible
So, I’m not that great at dating. I think my last date consisted of me making plans to sneak into this guy’s window to watch anime because I didn’t want to meet his roommates. Well, I ended up coming in the side door and running into his room. It’s not that I wouldn’t talk to them, it’s just that I would have talked to them, this is where it gets confusing. It goes back to that regret thing again.
As far as the dating scene with the setting places, no elbows on the table and make sure to bring my manners business, that’s difficult for me too. I end up explaining to my date why I eat the edges of my sandwich first and then the middle and why I can’t stand to leave the table dirty. I also cannot stand to use three-pronged forks, tablespoons or coffee creamer. I love going out, but I am incredibly anal about things. Let me just scroll down my list of mental disorder symptoms, if you look with me, you can locate these eccentricities. Lol
Depression gets worse because we can’t get enough attention
I want attention, like, all the time. Then I don’t want to see anyone, anything, not even my own reflection. So, I’m lying in bed, crying because I dislike human contact, but craving attention like a drug. The only thing that will take away this pain is to sleep, and this is what usually happens when it gets to be too much.
This episode is what worsens my depression. I feel hopeless sometimes, trying to meet the needs of opposing mindsets. I feel like the only solution of playing for both teams is to sleep it off and hope for a more normalized approach in the morning. My need for attention makes sense, but with my aversion to human contact, it just doesn’t compute.
Acquaintance or friend?
My Facebook profile is filled with over 900 “friends”. I know what you must be thinking: “What a social human being she is!” Well, not exactly. About 850 of these people are only acquaintances, with 50 who could possibly be friends. The reason for this distinction revolves around whether or not I actually talk on a personal level with these people. Social media, after all, doesn’t put us face to face with other human beings.
My outgoing personality likes to lie to me and say that all 900 people are really my friends and “Wouldn’t I love to throw a party for every single one of them?” My anxious mind says this: “Heck no, there is no way in hell that I am going to endure spending time with 900 people that I barely know, besides, they could be dangerous. Are you insane?” Logic laughs at both of us because we stand at extremes which rarely meet.
Getting to know me is frightening
At first, I might appear to be a social butterfly, able to talk to anybody and help people with their problems. The more you get to know me, the more you will realize that I am not what I seem to be. Before you judge, let me explain this. I am not wearing a mask or trying to be someone that I’m not, I am just trying to not fall apart in front of you.
How would it look if I showed my anxious problems at our first meeting? More than likely, you would run away because my anxiety is pretty extreme. If I spoke lovingly to the waitress and then told her how much I hate people, that might seem odd, don’t you think? Unfortunately, getting to know me is a roller coaster ride, and I am truly sorry for people who have to endure this. Now, how hard do you think that was for me to describe and to live with every day?
I am judged, misunderstood and insulted on a daily basis
One of the hardest things that I’ve endured with being an outgoing personality with social anxiety is the fact that people just don’t understand. The worst part – people don’t want to understand. Unfortunately, there are many who will not take the time to understand the myriad of illnesses and symptoms that are similar to mine, either.
They insult, ridicule and degrade those who don’t act in a standardized manner, including me. When I stutter, when my hands shake and when I laugh at everything, they only see the abnormalities. First impressions are usually riddled with these misconceptions, and that’s another reason why meeting people, although wonderful in a sense, is also a living hell.
All those little opposing forces will wage war right before bedtime. This happens to me almost every night, and I have to think about flowers and rainbows and all that malarkey just to fall sleep. My anxious brain loves to replay the day’s events in an attempt to reconcile my need to be social.
As long as my social abilities surpass my nervous mistakes, my brain can rest. If not, I will stay up half the night trying to formulate a plan to fix what I screwed up. After all, I need people, I want people and I just can’t make it without them. Then again, I could be on an island completely alone as well, until I needed them again, that is.
Failing to follow-up
You know how you can make friends and then after the initial introduction, you will have to follow up with that friendship? Yeah, imagine that scenario with me! My outgoing personality makes me want to meet people everywhere I go, but then I can never get back with them afterwards, that would take too much effort, you see.
I will admit, there have been those few that I desired to get to know better, and even some who reached out to me, but for the most part, I have a notebook full of names who exist only in my first impression. I will probably never see them again.
I know my words are depressing, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Being outgoing with a socially anxious personality is hard. But there are powers that reside within this mindset. Playing on both sides gives you the ability to see more than one perspective, understand more than one disability and love from more than one place.
I hope you can relate to this struggle and find peace while you wage your battles. I leave you with a thought of love and hope for tomorrow, because, after all, tomorrow is a new day.
And we can always start again!