Thanks to my social anxiety, I always feel as if every single person around me is watching me all the time. I try to avoid standing up on the bus as much as possible because then I'm in full view for everyone to see. When I'm walking through the bus terminal, I feel like all eyes are on me. When I'm walking home I walk with my head down and earphones in because I'm afraid that people are watching me walk through their windows. Very far fetched, I know. But my subconscious doesn't seem to care.
But as of late, I've been trying to deal with my social anxiety via cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Not to sound like one of those annoying neurotypical people but with social anxiety? It really is all in your head. No one is watching you, not even the Feds. No one is giggling and stickering about your average ass. No one is judging you severely. Cause nobody care about you 🗣. You are not going to trip and fall on your face in front of a crowd of people. The worst case scenario is just not going to happen while doing your normal routine.
After realizing that in the nicest and least negative way possible that nobody cares about me, I remembered this iconique tweet because it fit my mood perfectly.
I was shocked because I'm like wow I really am fucking paranoid for no reason like who do I think I am to be truly out here believing that the whole world is watching my every move 24/7? But also upset because nobody cares about me and I'm a slight attention whore deep down inside who sometimes revels in the obsessions and stares I get from strangers. But all in all just mostly relieved to know that I'm just another honey nut cheerio in the bowl of life. An insignificant little star in de galaxy. You catch my drift.
I had to begin this process of cognitive behavioral therapy by changing my thinking patterns and constantly mentally repeating the aforementioned thoughts in my head in order to soothe my soul and anxiety every single day. If someone was staring at me I'd just tell myself, "it's cause you're a cute bitch. No you don't have a boogie and no you're not exponentially ugly." I unfortunately still kind of have a fear of eating by myself in public, but it's not as bad as it used to be. I think it partially stems from the war flashbacks I get from when my friends wouldn't show up at the cafeteria for lunch sometimes and I had to eat alone. But anyway, I haven't quite mastered that one yet and I have yet to truly challenge myself and eat out alone, but I still have to tell myself that it's normal and people do it all the time. What's the absolute worst that can happen if a stranger thinks you're some lonely loser? Nothing really. Not if you keep letting everyone's opinions define you. Yeah I'm scarfing down these cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster by myself, mind your business.
I'm also still quite afraid of making eye contact with people, strangers for the most part, and I'm still not entirely sure why. I think I'm so paranoid to the point where I believe if a person makes eye contact with me they somehow develop X-Ray vision and can see through my soul and skull, and figure out all my deep dark secrets and insecurities. Or something else absolutely ludicrous like that. But even more social and personal things like dating and partying also send me over the edge just thinking about it.
When you're a severely anxious and insecure person like I am, you have the tendency to project your thoughts onto other people in an unconscious and non-malicious way. For example, I have a few insecurities about my body that I hate. I hate my love handles, the belly rolls I get when I sit down and bend over, the discoloration on my *coughs* bikini area, shit like that. And I can't help but think that because I hate it, the next person that dates me will too. Despite the fact that 95% of guys don't care about that shit. I also hate when people get a little too close to my face and see every little detail like my pores and fine lines. You weren't supposed to see those! I have an image of a brown porecelain doll that I need to be consistent with, you can't be in the know of my human traits.
As far as partying, it's not so much that I'm afraid of people watching me but I'm more afraid of the fact that I don't know what'll happen? I wouldn't know what to do or how to act. That's another part of having anxiety; fear of the unknown. Not being prepared for a situation always leaves me scared and uneasy because I like to play it safe most of the time and know what I'm getting myself into so that nothing potentially embarrassing happens.
I'm honestly awkward as fuck and I'm well aware of that at this point in my life. Going to a crowded party full of strangers would multiply that by 100 probably, which is why I've avoided them my entire life. Seems counterproductive since I'm here talking about dealing with my anxiety and exposure therapy, but I just still haven't mustered up the courage to do it. Nor do I have close enough friends who understand what I'm going through to be my support system at the turn up function. I shan't be boo boo the fool by myself. If I get too drunk and act a fool, whom will bring me back to my senses? If I get too pussy to talk to that fine specimen across the room because rejection, who's gonna hype me up? (Psst, here's me discussing the importance of having wonderful people around you. Because es muy importante.)
Despite the fact like I'm like 70% socially awkward now, I've almost completely gotten over my fear of working in customer service. I'm actually so used to it now and grown so accustomed to it that I'm basically like Daria at work. Monotoned, kinda dull, and sharp because I've had it up to here with people and their bullshit. I've seen and heard it all, it's like my second nature now. This was a big one for me because I was unemployed for an entire year and before that I had only had 2 jobs that lasted 2 weeks. Because I quit. Because anxiety. Yes, it was that bad. After those jobs, I swore I would never be a cashier anywhere ever again. But then I got bored and wanted to make money again and here I am, working as a cashier again. But this time around I'm not scared of anything anymore. I don't even get prework anxiety anymore because I've settled into a routine now. P.s. Routines are key for managing anxiety, remember what I said about fear of the unknown! Having a routine and being comfortable with something gives you a sense of comfort and normalcy because you already know the deal.
The fear of me working in customer service is completely gone now, so far gone that I literally can't even remember what I was afraid of. The only thing I can think of right now is making mistakes which is absolutely ridiculous because shit happens and I'm a homosapien. As long as I fix said mistake and learn from it, it's all gucci. I feel like I can practically do anything now and work anywhere because I honestly don't think anything is worse than cashiering/customer service. Truly. If I got through this shit completely unscathed, then nothing else is off limits. I deserve an award of some sort tbh.
I now know that I'm no different than everyone else around me (at least in a negative, self-deprecating/embarrassing way), in the sense that there's no reason at all for me to be so anxious and paranoid and afraid of people. I'm not some failure who inevitably fucks up everything I do, I'm not some freak of nature that's on public display that everyone I pass by likes to make fun of. I'm just a person who makes mistakes and gets unfortunately judged, just like everyone else. The only thing that makes me different is how I deal with that and cope with it. Now that I've told the world about my anxiety and paranoia, perhaps the Feds can stop watching me now and leave me alone to conspire in peace.