How My Family Handles My Social Anxiety
I get exhausted from interacting with people due to my social anxiety even though I love my friends and family. I find it very difficult to interact with people for a long time. This extends so far as to be exhausted by texting. However, my family has learned how to handle my social anxiety in a way that benefits all of us.
What My Social Anxiety Looks Like to My Family
Social anxiety can present itself in different ways. For me, it is the combination of a few things, including:
- Excessively sweaty palms and armpits
- A heartbeat that pumps so wildly that other people have commented on being able to see it
- An endless fear of embarrassing myself
- A ceaseless concern that I might offend someone
When I’m in public, I cannot stop thinking about how my company is interpreting what I am doing. I try to predict how I am about to come across and modify or change it so that what they hear is a perfectly crafted representation of what I want to say.
The best thing I can relate this experience to is playing a video game and having to beat the timer to pick a dialogue option, and by doing so, you may destroy your relationship with that person in the matter of a sentence. The stress of all of this is overwhelming.
How My Family Reacts to My Social Anxiety
I have a few extroverts in my family, and that dynamic can sometimes cause problems. On top of having social anxiety, I also have a serious fear of missing out on things. I’m sure you can see my issue, which then becomes wanting to spend time with my family and friends, just not too much time that I become exhausted and reclusive. To help me, my family has developed a certain way of interacting with me over the years that is mutually beneficial for us, and it all centers around one thing. This magical thing is honesty.
My family is acutely aware that when I go out to social events, I will want to be there for a maximum of one hour before I need to leave. Sometimes, my family will willingly accommodate this and leave with me. However, there are times when my family members want to spend more time at an event and one of two things will happen.
The first is that they will tell me to get my own transportation there. If my family wants to stay somewhere for several hours, I will have to drive or ride-share myself somewhere, so that I can leave when I want to without disturbing them.
The second is that I am verbally told that I will not be allowed to leave early and that if I want to go, I will have to stay the full time without complaint. This may seem harsh, but when this is warned ahead of time, it feels extremely fair.
Everyone has their quirks, and this becomes especially true when you live in a family where each member has a mental illness. I manage to survive my social anxiety by just being honest about what I can handle comfortably, and by my family being willing to accommodate me with honesty and options.