Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012
2 years ago, I decided to write about my life with social anxiety disorder. It was very therapeutic to finally openly discuss what I'd been dealing with most of my life. My book is titled "On the Outside Looking In-My Life with Social Anxiety Disorder."  I still deal with the effects of this disorder everyday and so feel I still need to talk about it. For someone who hasn't experienced it, it is difficult to comprehend I know, but for those of us who have, it is an extremely frustrating, humiliating, and lonely way to live. No matter how many people are around you each day, you feel incredibly alone. It is nothing shy of torture each and every day.

Going to work everyday is very difficult to say the least. I asked for my own cubicle so I wouldn't have to share an office space with anyone. 8 hours confined in an office with someone was unbearable and I felt bad for the other person.  I rarely spoke because no words would come to me but I felt I needed to try for their sake. (Because it's always about what the other person thinks of you, no matter what impact it will have on you, you're always trying to be pleasing) I would force something out that would sound stupid and/or uninteresting so then I would embarrassed by what I said. It was 8 hours of constant tension, apprehension and awkwardness.

I sit alone now in my cubicle and stay to myself as much as I can because the smallest comment will send me into a tailspin and leave me analyzing it for hours and beating myself into the ground with negative self-talk. I can see the break room from my seat so I watch for it to be empty before I will go in to get a glass of water. I walk the entire way around our floor to get to a printer I think will most likely not be in use. I walk to the bathroom but if I hear anyone inside, I will turn away and wait. I sit and listen to my co-workers wander into each other's offices talking and laughing to take a  break from their work. While others enjoy a company sponsored lunch together in the break room, I wait for everyone else to get their food before I get mine to take back to my cubicle and eat alone if I take any at all. I know this all sounds like avoidance but I didn't start avoiding until it got too unbearable not to. I feel so out-of-step with everyone around me. I am an alien here on earth who does not belong.

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