So I am sitting at my favourite side-walk cafe with lots of other people. I see some friends a few tables away with a spare seat. And yet I choose to sit alone. I don’t even acknowledge their existence. What sort of friend am I? According to my psychologist I am still a friend. Will they talk to me another time? Yes they will. Will they hate me? No. So I choose the path of feeling guilty for the afternoon rather than sit and chat with friends. Am I crazy? Maybe.
There is a very good chance that in the next few months I will be meeting some guys that have become good friends that I have never met. This is one of the benefits of social media. You can meet people and get to know them (a bit) without ever having to meet them. My friends, don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to meeting you, it just scares the hell out of me. There are some ladies out there who know just how nervous and scared I get on a first meeting. In fact the first time I met one lady we talked for a full hour and a half before I was brave enough to ask if I could touch her. This is what social phobia and anxiety does to me.
I have heard people say anxiety can be debilitating. Let me tell you folks, sometimes you cannot speak, move, you get physically ill, your body shakes and there is nothing you can do to stop it. For me I need to remove myself from the world and escape into myself. Last time I sat right in the seat I am now for 3 hours before I could go back to work. It scares me sometimes. But I have friends near me who know what to look for in me. They understand what needs to be done for me, they may not understand why it is happening, but that’s not important for them.
So, I’ve finished my coffee and have done the grocery shopping and now I have time to finish this off.
While grocery shopping I ran into another friend I haven’t seen for at least 5 years. I’m standing in the middle of an aisle and, boom, there she is bearing down on me. I have no where to run, I am going to have to talk to her. Well 45 minutes later we go on our way. Again, that is what social phobia and anxiety does to me. I panic but it all turns out okay. We will probably have coffee on Thursday afternoon to catch up properly. Although I did find out that she, like me, has left the faith as well.
So what can I do about it. Basically I just have to practice. So I will see my friends if and when they visit my town. I will see my Christian friend on Thursday morning (that’s a whole other blog post). I will meet with my supermarket friend on Thursday afternoon for a good long catch up.
A scared and anxious man,