I have been very silent about my social anxiety lately. With all my issues over the last month with mania, it just was an outside problem that was unsolvable. It is still there, and it is affecting me a lot. The main issue recently is with me leaving my house. I do leave my house most days, but my anxiety has been through the roof which limits my time outside “my safe place.” It is a daily struggle with social anxiety because I desperately want to get out and do things, but I am always aware of the high level of intensity of my anxiety. When you mix that while still relying too much on my Ativan, it means things are not great at the moment.
When I do go out, like to the store, it’s always a struggle to be around people. I am so comfortable working from home and alone. I am alone most of my day if not all my day. I don’t like human contact (other than meeting with my clients which does not happen every day.) Working as a freelance writer gives me the flexibility to stay home as much as possible, but am I using it as a crutch?
The “not leaving the house” will start to become an issue as I am just a week and a half away from starting my master’s program. It sucks because I have not been to a coffee shop in months to write or read a good book. Everything has been short trips a few times a week. Coffee shops are my favorite place in the world when I am in school. I am so afraid that once school starts all my school work, freelance work, and my writing will feel so comfortable at home. What does that mean for trying to focus and put me back into social situations?
It is terrible timing really because I am nearing the time of year where the seasonal component of my Bipolar diagnosis starts to kick in. My SAD typically kicks in late October, and I go through the ringer until about April. It was a rough ending to 2017, though I did find myself for a few months with limited depression and social anxiety between January and March of this year. I hope to carry that on, at least to be able to manage my symptoms.
I really thought I would conquer my social anxiety this summer.
It is a real bummer because I had high hopes that my three months sabbatical before starting my masters would give me the opportunity to really change my social anxiety outlook. Social anxiety is still a significant part of my life, and I don’t know how to indeed fix it— at least not yet. The upside is that panic attacks are on the decline, though I have had one or two a week, and at times I on that edge.
I am always working towards that goal of defeating social anxiety, but it has been harder to conquer than depression. Truth is I only really started to work on my social anxiety last year with cognitive behavioral therapy, and while I am still working on CBT, I took a break this summer. I think it was not the best idea, but I digress.
I get so comfortable in my “safe place,” and it becomes so easy to not leave my house for long periods of time. Winter really is coming, and I need to find some level of comfort with my social anxiety. I will do what is best— keep fighting.
Please check out my social anxiety journey: My Social Anxiety Life – The Series
Always Keep Fighting (AKF)