Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I’ve only recently been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. It often accompanies Bipolar Disorder. Again, it’s like getting a pair of glasses for the first time – I thought everyone felt the same as I did. Turns out you all don’t.
I have lots and lots of friends, but I rarely call them or see them. They are either people I work with or neighbours. Doing something social is a rarity – when I’m invited, I usually panic inside and decline – it’s like a reflex.
I haven’t kept any of the friends I made in high school, college or university.
I have trouble asking for help. I’ve gone through some pretty tough times, but have always avoided seeking assistance – just the thought of it makes me cringe.
I get super anxious thinking about parties, meetings, or other gatherings. When I go, I tend to talk to one or two people, and then sneak away.
My anxiety causes me to forget names. When I’m introduced, I’m so stressed that the name just flies by.
The biggest pain this has caused me is my drift away from my relatives. It’s insidious – everything is fine one day, and then I forget to return a phone call. The anxiety about not returning the call grows and grows, until it is huge. I become totally impaired, and separated.
I now have no contact with any of my aunts, uncles or cousins, save for a second cousin once removed. I have gone long stretches when I have been very unwell where I have had little contact with my siblings.
I wish this would just stop, but it’s going to take a lot of work. Some of the medication I’m taking will help, but the more important thing right now is to get my bipolar disorder under control.
Anyhow, that is only a brief introduction to SAD and how it affects me. Please don’t feel badly for me – I’m used to it and assumed for almost my whole life that it is normal. If you run into me on the street (I’m pretty easy to recognize) please introduce yourself and ask me to explain more.
I will say hello, immediately forget your name, and happily chat with you – all the while panicking a bit on the inside.