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Friday, 4 August 2017

Anxiety & Me: Socialising

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about how having anxiety affects me when I travel, and it felt so good to get something that I don't usually like to talk about off my chest. This time, I'm gonna talk about how it affects my social life. If there's anyone reading this who actually knows me in person, this may give you some new insight into my inner workings. Maybe. I dunno, let's see where this goes.

I think I mentioned in my previous post that I don't like going to busy or crowded places in case something bad happens. Well, most social events tend to involve going to busy and/or crowded places. Sometimes, that involves travelling via public transport, E.g, getting the train into Liverpool, and I think that's where my main issue lies.

When I think about going on a night out, even in a small town, all these bad scenarios pop into my head. Some of them can be really awful. I never used to be like that. Right up until my mid-twenties if someone asked me to go out all I would think about is having a good time with my mates. I wouldn't worry that maybe we'd cross someone inexplicably violent or get kidnapped by a rogue taxi driver, which are both possibly and yet very, VERY improbable things to happen.

If you want me to get public transport on my own in the evening you can forget about it. I can't bring myself to get a bus, train or taxi alone of a night, so if that's the only way of me getting to a destination then it simply won't happen. During the day I am generally ok with public transport, but after about 9pm I can't do it unless I'm with someone, and even then I'm still hella nervous. It's crazy, because just four years ago when I was first dating my ex-boyfriend I was quite content getting the train home from Liverpool at 11 o'clock at night, not arriving home until nearly midnight.

It's when I think about all of this that I'm so grateful to myself that I got my drivers licence. Most of my friends these days live at least 10 miles away, so I don't know what I'd do without my car, especially since the public transport from my hometown is shocking and that using public transport it would take me at least two buses or two trains to get to anyone's house.

Then there's the whole getting in touch with people thing. I think we've all been there on a general level, not getting in touch with people you used to be close to because life gets in the way. There have been times where I have found myself on Messenger, with the conversation screen up and a message or even just a simple "hey" typed out, and I can't bring myself to send it. The thought of them reading it and not replying can get a bit much, as can the idea of having a really short and stilted conversation, which all sounds really daft but I can't seem to help it.

Like with travelling, I do feel like I've made progress this year and that I am getting out and about a bit more than I did last year. Hopefully the trend will continue and I'll eventually find myself "back to normal".

Do you have similar issues? How do you handle things?

Stacey Rose xx

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