Social Anxiety – A Week in a Life
It has been a tough one for me. I had some setbacks. Missed appointments which caused more issues. I had more problems while increasing leaving my house this week, and to be honest I have struggled with my new wake/sleep schedule.
I wanted to look back at a week I’d like to remember because the struggles I faced are ones that help me figure out what is wrong. What is it like on a typical week in this social anxiety life?
Planning is everything…
My day always starts with planning. I always have to plan my day because without a real plan my anxiety likes to spiral. So I plan my days. I wish that were the end and my day turns out great, but as my life does as I spiral, the to the worst possible things tend to happen.
I have increased my time out of my comfort zone over the past few weeks. I’ve done things this week I hate. One thing I hate is going shopping. These types of task always make me anxious, so I always know what I am going to get when I go to a place like a mall (which I haven’t done in two years.)
My goal this week was to buy a new Dodgers hat for the opening day. It’s a tradition. So I went to a place outside the mall in hopes to score my opening day hat. I found out that the store was closed. Go figure.
Why tell this story? Well by this point my anxiety was already high. Again I hate going to the mall because there are always a lot of people, but I wanted my hat. So I went to Lids in the mall. From my car, to the store, to deciding on the cap, and leaving was about a five-minute ordeal. I knew what I wanted, and if they didn’t have it, I would have gone from the store with minimal words with the salesman.
These types of encounters are typical in my life. I try to spend the least amount of time talking to people, being in places with other people, or to interact with people. This is an unfortunate byproduct of my social anxiety and avoidance behavior.
I Tend to Avoid Situations Involving People
Another example of avoidance behaviors I exhibited this week is when I went to study or write at Starbucks this week. I know every barista at my favorite spot and they know me. well. I practically live there, but I always order my coffee and breakfast item on the app before I leave my house. On average it takes me about eight minutes to get to the coffee shop. I say good morning the baristas and at times we have a short conversation. That’s the limit of my interactions. I am usually in my seat within two-three minutes of walking through the door. My headphones go on, and I drown out the world.
Even sitting in a stuation that I am familiar with my anxiety was still high this week and it limited how many hours I could spend in this safe place.
I had to renew my license this week, and that was also a planned event. I made sure to make an appointment. I had made it about three weeks ahead of time. In this situation, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. It had been a long time since I had to go into DMV, and when I first got my license I failed the vision test (they make you go do a test with your eye doctor, and they have to fill out paperwork to actually get your license.)
It sucked because I knew I was going to fail the eye test. I don’t have a good left eye. When I was young, I never wanted to wear glasses, and that meant my left eye never fully developed. I can see just fine with both eyes, but I fail every time in my left eye.
My anxiety went through the roof while I was at DMV. Even with the appointment, it took time, and I could feel every second ticking in my mind. Then, knowing I had to do more just to get the license renewed (BTW I have a perfect driving record) it just got to me. I couldn’t get out of their fast enough.
When Things go Bad, My Anxiety Spirals
My week spiraled after that day (Tuesday) and to be honest a few days I wanted to give up. I haven’t been able to corral my thoughts enough to get me through a single day this week without social anxiety and panic attacks. I have been productive, but it’s been a social anxiety-filled week.
Which takes me to the last two days. I found out on Thursday that my medication refills (which all said that I had one more refill on the bottles) were out of refills. I had enough Ativan to last me until today. This is bad because, those of you that are in the “state system of care” knows that things move slow, and there was an excellent chance that I could run out of the one thing that gets me through a day.
It went as bad as I could imagine happening to me because it is like this every time. I left about a half a dozen messages from Thursday morning to Friday around noon with the person who works on medication with no one returning my call. I had to bug my therapist to get things moving. Finally Friday afternoon I get my medications sent to my pharmacist with the hope that Saturday I could pick them up.
I woke up Saturday with hope. I should have stayed in bed.
First I call my pharmacy, and they tell me everything is copacetic, and I can come down in an hour and pick up my medication. Yes!!!!
I could feel as if a weight has lifted. It was a premature feeling. I went to my pharmacy, and they somehow told me the wrong thing on the phone. (How does that happen?) I had to drive all the way there just to say, “Well you can wait, but it could be a while.” Yeah. That would be great if my anxiety would let me.
So I had two choices wait until Monday or wait. My anxiety had other plans and I told them to have it delivered Monday to my house. I spent my entire Saturday worrying that I will run out of Ativan. It took the life out of me. I spent the rest of the day, afternoon, and night defeated. I could barely focus. I stayed in bed. I felt giving up for the second time this week.
A week is 168 hours long. I sleep maybe 4-5 hours a night sleeping. If I round up, that’s about 35-40 hours of sleep a week. That leaves about 125 hours give or take to think about everything I did wrong in my week. It’s why this week has been hard.
My productivity went down, and it made me mix my social anxiety with depression. The worst thing I can do. That leaves me with today— Sunday.
I can do what I can to the right the ship. I have to give myself a break. Things that are out of my control have been ruling my life the past few weeks.
As I sit here sipping my coffee, I have hope. I wrote my feelings in this blog post, and it has helped me work through my worst week of 2018. I don’t know where I find my strength at times. I don’t know how I woke up this morning. Or how I got to bed.
I took a shower, and I am sitting here writing this post at six in the morning in bed. I am starting my week today. The best I can do is keep fighting— always.
Please Help me Publish my Memoir
I have finished the first draft of my memoir “The Bipolar Writer,” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. Those that give will get a special mention in my memoir on a page dedicated to those that made my memoir possible. Thank you in advance!