It is a Saturday evening. We went with Sophie to watch a movie in our favorite plaza. About Time. My friend Steve recommended it to me. I wanted to go out in the evening by all means. Going to the cinema was a step in my “social rehabilitation,” a process that I have to work on every day. Slowly, step by step. I was very nervous while I was driving to the plaza. My mood was fluctuating wildly. I was afraid of everything that might happen there. My mind was out there in the future. “What is waiting for me in there? What do I have to do? What situations will I drift into? How will I react? What difficulties do I have to solve?
I went out today with Sophie. We came to the coffee bar next corner. I have never been here before, but I have planned to visit it someday because sitting at home all day makes me crazy. I was already nervous before leaving home.
I wake up relaxed, after a long sleep that I craved for. I feel easiness. The sun shines through the windows and the curtains. I hear the sound of birds and animals from outside. The weather is sparklingly lovely. I am bathing in the wonders surrounding me and the uplifting feelings inside. I want to immerse myself in the beauty of the present moment. It lasts for another few seconds when my thinking brain turns on and floods me with thoughts and pulls me back to another reality.
Another horrible day. I pulled myself together by the afternoon, sat in my car, and drove up the hill for our soccer match with the boys. When I arrived there, an hour before the start, every single muscle in my body was in a cramp like concrete. I was trembling with fear. I was all alone on the field. I started walking up and down the pitch, thinking about my fears and if I could handle what would wait for me here.
I feel an enormous black hole in my head. Cosmic, ringing emptiness. I feel like I have nothing to do and no reason to get up. I don’t want to see or hear anybody. I am afraid of everything and everybody. My body is one big cramp from head to toe. I decided yesterday evening that I would ask for an extra appointment with my therapist because I felt I hit the deepest bottom. And unlike ever before, this time I can’t see the way out. I am just sinking deeper and deeper every day in my anxieties and fears. I don’t want to suffer through any more days helplessly.
I woke up being nervous, with pre-performance anxiety in my legs, only because I knew I had to take over my brother’s birthday cake in a public place, namely in the candy store. I arrived with Sophie, but I left her in the car and went in alone. I was confident and patient, although I felt terrible anxiety inside. We stopped at the gas station too, which also made me nervous. Then I drove her home to her parents and went to my mother’s house to celebrate my brother’s birthday.
Social phobia, or social anxiety disorder. I found the expression on Wikipedia accidentally yesterday evening while reading the mindfulness article. According to Wikipedia, social anxiety is an anxiety disorder characterized by a significant amount of fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life. Reading about it was an epiphany to me. I realized that this is the very concept that describes my condition most accurately.