A while ago I shared my story about my history with social anxiety and how it affected my day to day life. From the ages of about 18-23 I felt like I was making constant progress and thought I was finally on top of my anxiety. I no longer described myself as shy and was doing a lot of things my former self would never dream of.
It occurred to me very recently that I’ve begun to sink back into my shell again over the last year or so. Lately I’ve been feeling very self-conscious just walking down the street, extremely awkward in groups and have had a lot of uncomfortable silences when talking to people. I’ve been feeling anxious in most social situations again and it reminds me of how I used to be. It’s not great.
It’s no wonder I’m feeling like this though. I’ve put myself in a LOT of uncomfortable situations these last 12 months and maybe I wasn’t quite mentally prepared. Right now I’m living in an unfamiliar city, surrounded by strangers 24/7 (literally) and am a million miles from my friends and family. On top of that I had to deal with my depression, starting a new job and, as you’ll probably know, having an existential crisis about the whole 9-5, being an employee thing. So although it’s kind of scary to feel the way I used to feel I totally understand why I do. And it’s OK.
What’s not OK though is becoming complacent and using my anxiety as an excuse to hide away from everything all the time. For the last two weeks, pretty much all I’ve done is work, sleep or go places on my own, with the exception of meeting a friend once. What a way to live…
Yesterday I was thinking about all of this. Although I’m here in Victoria mainly to work and save money, I don’t want to look back and only have memories of staring at office/hostel walls for 3 months. I’m in a beautiful place on a beautiful island that has so much to offer. There are so many nice cafes and restaurants I need to try, so many new people I could be out meeting and loads of nice nature spots I still haven’t visited yet. So with that in mind, I made the (very scary) decision last night that for the next 7 days, I will say yes to every opportunity that comes my way. Even if it’s terrifying, even if I’d usually say no and even if I don’t feel like it.
Little did I know that I’d have to say yes a lot sooner than planned. When I got home from work, all I wanted to do was nap and stare at videos on my phone. But one of my roommates asked if I fancied going out for dinner with her and two of the other girls from our room. My first thought was “can’t afford it” followed by “the last thing I feel like doing is socialising”. Then I remembered what I’d told myself earlier and I immediately said yes.
Fast forward 2 hours later and I was at a really cute restaurant with really good company. And I was actually *shock horror* having fun. We had such a nice conversation about the places we’d all travelled to and got into a really in depth discussion about feminism. It was so refreshing to be around like-minded people. The food was fab too- definitely better than having pasta alone in my room again.
Two of the girls went to a theatre show after dinner and I walked home with the other one. It was a bit odd and unexpected but we just completely opened up to one another and within a couple of hours I felt like I’d known her for years. You know those times when you just click with someone immediately? I was so happy that I decided not to decline the invitation to go out.
I had some more pretty cool experiences saying “yes” today which I will share in tomorrow’s post. I encourage you to challenge yourself to say yes this week too (moral support lads… pls?!).