Then, it turned into social anxiety when I struggled to leave the house. A simple errand like grocery shopping or going to a doctor’s appointment was impossible at times.
I couldn’t get myself to leave the house. It was my safe place. Why would I risk going out?
I didn’t understand at first the relation between my anxiety over my daughter driving and my social anxiety. It all clicked when I started to make the connection between bad drivers and my daughter having to face unfortunate situations while driving. Plus, facing rude or mean people in certain situations made me fearful of meeting people, even in fleeting moments like shopping.
I tried to do everything online as much as possible, so I wouldn’t have to leave the house. I went grocery shopping early in the morning so I didn’t have to encounter anyone. I won’t lie; it was awful. And it kept getting worse.
I avoided any social event at any cost. There was no way I would attend that end-of-year social event at school or show up for my daughter’s recital without Xanax. My therapist tried to help me to no avail. I wasn’t budging. I avoided social media too. Seeing all those happy social posts made me feel worse about myself. Why am I not that social? It was depressing.
I worked very hard to be able to go out on my own again. I’m still not 100%, but I’m getting there. Over the past year, I learned to get out of my comfort zone. The only way to get myself to go out was to force myself to do it.
It was tough at first, and I would start to choke up and cry, but it got better. I realized over time that it is not so bad; I can do this. I did it before and can surely do it again. I still can’t deal with social media, and I would rather not go anywhere alone.
Now I can go grocery shopping sometimes! I go to all my appointments on my own. I attended two graduations this year and dropped my daughter and her friend off at a social event. I even went to a pre-prom event and had dinner with a friend without Xanax!
These are small victories that I celebrate here and there. But the most important thing that I celebrate is that I’m not giving up on myself. I keep on working to improve what I can about my mental health.
So, if I wasn’t very social with you over the past year or so, know it’s not you; it’s my social anxiety.