Ants in your pants

. 8.15.2007

Some of you may be aware of this or at least figured as much, but I have social anxiety. With that being said, I cannot quite explain to you how anxious I am for my show opening on Friday night. I don't really like talking to people much and I especially don't like talking to people about myself. I'm just hoping that I can get through the 4 hour gallery opening without having too many terribly awkward moments. My current state of anxiety over the whole thing is getting to the degree that I almost don't even want to go or even have a show at all. Completely unreasonable, I know. Those aren't my true, deep down feelings about it. I really do want a show and am crazy about this opportunity.. I tend to get blinded by my anxieties and lose sight of my passions and dreams. I can't tell you how many opportunities I've let slip by simply because I was afraid to talk on the phone. Phones are the worst. Often, talking on the phone makes me shake, get hot, turn red, and sweat. This is generally the case when I'm talking to someone I don't know well or have spoken to rarely on the phone. Sometimes it's even with people I am very familiar with. I can't really explain it other than to say it's a completely unreasonable, but paralyzing, fear. The weird thing is I'm fully aware of it while it's happening. I can tell myself how ridiculous my reaction or response is, how completely invalid my worries/fears are about a certain situation, but it doesn't help. In fact, it often times escalates the problem. I become hyper aware of myself, the way I'm acting, and especially of how I perceive the other person to be responding. That last one is the killer. I know I'm acting awkward and that the other person is simply responding to that.. and it only makes it worse. The more awkward the other person acts, the more aware I am of that fact and of myself, and that makes me even more awkward, which in turn makes them even more awkward.. and it's a cycle that sometimes seems endless. Here's a tip: if I'm acting weird, just ignore it. If you don't respond to my obvious awkwardness, then it will eventually subside and I'll return to normal. Otherwise, it will keep getting worse and I'll eventually just implode. And nobody really wants that.

To further understand some of my thought processes and those of others like me, check out these links:

Social Phobia / Social Anxiety Association
Wikipedia's Opinion
Social Anxiety Support

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