Sunday, September 27, 2015

Social Anxiety - I haz it ?

I wonder ... Let's see :

(aside - I just copy/pasted thinking it would get me the pic and it dropped in the blank for Tuesday's Thursday Thirteen. Oops).
I have some of those. Not all of them. But I do recognise them in others. Let's see ... but first ...

Haven't posted much. I don't think I've had that much to post really, although something's coming something about a certain car manufacturer cheating the emissions tests. But only because it involves the strangeness that adding pee to the mix of fuel and air in a car engine ... makes it cleaner. Less emissions and all that. They do it for ships too. Dunno about aircraft. Very strange.

I've been gaming perhaps a little too much, my Warcraft mage is now level 100, although she needs another 1400 gold to build her very own castle. She ? Yeah. My mages are female. It started out as a test of whether female characters in online games get different treatment. They did for a while but then it got pretty much established that a female character in game was probably more likely to be male than female. I know why I keep playing with the female characters, it's the voices.

With the Mass Effect game, I'd much prefer to have Jennifer Hale voicing the character than the bloke. Some games have gender based mechanics but that's thankfully extremely rare now except with character interaction. You hopefully know what I mean there ;-). And then games like Dragon Age Origins came along ... And you could have interactions with characters of the same gender, you could have interactions with 3 characters, one non player character member of your party would even open up interactions with 4 characters ... at the same time. Progress !

And this has kinda gone in the opposite way to social anxiety hasn't it ?

Go to the bathroom to escape - nah. I don't do this. But there will come a point in social interactions where I feel the press of TOO MANY PEOPLE and I have to escape. Sometimes it's just outside, sometimes it's run to the hills and head home.

Feel very uncomfortable without a phone or other crutch - I have to admit, I have internet addiction. I am a loner who has a compulsion to interact with people. I prefer interacting with Special People. Like having messages coming in, looking at the phone and hoping there's no poles nearby to walk into. Or nattering over the interwebs while gaming, to find that I'm ignoring the game and chatting instead.

That's Warcraft at least. Elite is a bit different, because you have lots of off keyboard time in that game where it's flying to stations or docking in stations (I use a docking computer because I'm lazy).

Dwell on a small awkward moment for longer than is necessary - I think I do this, although I can't remember any examples. Perhaps it's the thinking about it long after the moment has gone. Those cogs you hear grinding will be my head thinking of myriad ways that the moment could have been less awkward.

There's a certain mental paralysis ...

Never go to a social event without a person who makes you feel comfortable - I think I'm getting better at this. I never used to go to the cinema on my own, although there's a few times I have done over the past few years. It started with Gravity, where I had a birthday evening to myself. Even had my birthday meal in McDonalds ! The Shame ! (It took longer to get there than it should and I was feeling embarassed about rushing a Wishing Well meal, thought I wouldn't have enough time and it looked packed).

See ? That's a classic example where I've overcome that to a degree but only so far. I still prefer to go see films in the cinema with other people, it's better as a shared experience that you can talk about afterwards.

Follow said person way too much - I think I've freaked a few people out by paying them perhaps too much attention. I suspect little Kim of Yogscast felt like this, although she still responds to the occasional message of mine over the Twitters ! Hurrah. There's a few more too. I try to give people space now by not badgering them too much over the messages. Maybe. But I do think of other people constantly, a very few very special ones in particular (their names strangely spell ASK ...).

Worry about people beginning to find you obnoxious - oh my yes. My last First Date had someone disappear off for a little while. I thought she'd legged it ! Imagine my relief when she came back. But with the people who I have been in contact with and then contact suddenly ceases (as it has done a few too many times), the dark bits of my mind start telling me I've done or said stuff they didn't like.

And then a message from a good person comes in and those dark bits get banished to a little corner by all the grinning brain cells.

Faking an illness to get out of a social event - maybe, maybe not. Recently it's been my outsides and they have given me that excuse to not socialise. But I think I've managed to hide the damage and the embarassing bits enough to get out the house and into those social events. But then I think back to an incident with Ravenwolf where she was really looking forward to seeing Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Bristol Hippodrome. I didn't really want to go and that came to a head on the night when I was utterly exhausted. We didn't go. I can't remember all the circumstances around that but I think she was going to go with her mum, how come she couldn't get a lift ?

That's in the dim and distant past. I think I've improved enough now to be in proper control of when I go to social events. Things like declining invites with work colleagues (where with one group, it can just end up being a drinking session - meh). Or really looking forward to hopefully seeing Cupid's Gift again ? Maybe when her ankle is improved enough to let her out of the house.

Or if another friend wants to check out Bath Xmas market. Bristol Xmas market is coming again soon ! Bring on that Happy Cookie Place :
Cookies and cakes that are larger than your hands are awesome. Even if you have little hands.

Don't buy anything necessary because the cashier is intimidating - Hmm. Dunno here. I think my grin dissolves most intimidation from cashiers. On the other hand, I'll walk out of a shop if I think the people who work there are being obnoxious. This includes not speaking to me if I'm trying to get their attention or the old classic :

I was hunting for a car to replace my Rover (awful car). I was walking maybe 20 feet ahead of the mob, including my dad, I was obviously checking out what they had. Salesman walked right past me and started speaking to my dad. I took this very personally ... I think he realised his mistake when my dad said it was me looking for the cars. Let's just say we didn't even open the doors of the Mazda MX-3 he tried to point us towards.

I still have some of my social anxiety but I think I'm beating it. A couple of wonderful ladies (Cupid's Gift and LTK) have been helping out my confidence a fair bit over the past year.

If you recognise some of the symptoms above in you, hopefully you find that special friend who will help you with the social anxiety. Someone who will be that shield to keep the anxiety at bay. Someone who will never find you obnoxious. On the contrary, I suspect that person will be highly honoured that you chose them to be that shield. They'll understand ... or you wouldn't have picked them.

Closing ?
Yep. That means you :-). Get out there and show the world who's boss.
And it's ok if you need a friend with you :
They'd be overjoyed that you chose their pokkitz.

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