I’m attempting to overcome social awkwardness but it’s something that I’m still dealing with. I’ve renamed it “social anxiety.” I mentioned it to my diagnosis to my doctor — OK, I admit — hoping for medication. You know what he prescribed?
CBT. (sigh) I was hoping for dulled emotions.
When I took Lexapro, my emotions were so dulled that I didn’t care much about anything. It was frustrating but within my fogginess, it was freeing to not worry about what people thought of me. Unfortunately, Lamictal doesn’t have that effect on me. So while my mixed-mood, manic, and depressive episodes are under control, my anxieties about social situations persist. I’m still paralyzed by what occurred at my last job.
I struggle with a variety of things:
- If others are speaking in hushed voices, I worry that they’re talking about me.
- When I don’t get invited to events, I think they’re purposely excluding me.
- If I respond to mass emails at work, I wonder whether they start shooting emails to each other behind my back, talking about how much of a loser I am.
- In the midst of a conversation, I wonder if my thoughts are coherent and if they understood what I was trying to say in the midst of my stutter. (I only have mild stuttering around people I don’t know or am not comfortable with. Selective stutterism?)
- If I’m in a conversation with acquaintances and mention something that I have heard or know of, I worry that they think I’m a “know-it-all.”
- Because I often walk with my head down and a serious look on my face, people probably think I’m weird.
- Because I have occasional bursts of talkativeness but seem mostly quiet, my coworkers probably think I’m odd. (I’m only gregarious with people I know or am comfortable with.)
- If I say something, I immediately wonder if it was a stupid thing to say.
- I’m not that interesting so there’s no point in talking to other people. (How egocentric.)
- There’s no sense in inviting people to lunch because that would give me the potential to humiliate myself and get them to dislike me. (Once again, narcissistic.)
I’m likely no different than the majority of people. The difference between those who struggle with social awkwardness and other people is how these situations are handled.
I came across a post from The Simple Dollar on Seven Ways to Overcome Social Awkwardness. Fear holds me back from actually employing these things (something else I need to work on), but let me know if any of those principles actually work for you.