Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Social Anxiety Experiences #1

Assalamualaikum. Wr. Wb.

It's been a while since I wanted to write about my social anxiety experiences and how to overcome it. Although I'm still not sure if I'm good at it. Most people don't understand how much anxiety could affect a person's life, they tend to judge social anxiety people as too shy, naturally quiet, to the point that their quietness become annoying. The thing that people don't know is, social anxiety is really dangerous, it could even ruin someone's life, unless they learn how to deal with it. 

I've been having social anxiety since I was a kid for as long as I can remember. I got so terrified with new environment, my head starts imagining things that makes me scared, and it takes me at least a year to really get to know a person and accept him/her into my life. But as I grow up, I realized that I need to get over this thing soon, it started ruining my life so I know I need to do something about it. So, I joined an organisation in my senior year and learned to mingle with many more people. I joined Mabit Nurul Fikri and I guess it kinda worked to make me less shy and be more active in life than I had ever been before. 

I've had been doing pretty well dealing with my social anxiety until 2014, I started getting worse again and this thing hits me harder than it ever did until now. It already makes my life completely messed up ever since. Now, in order to 'heal' myself again, I feel the need to share some of those experiences when my social anxiety hits me. I wish by writing it down, I could analyze myself and the situation where I was in, and learn to overcome it if I ever bump into the same circumstances in the future.

Skipping A Lot of Classes due to Tardiness

I went to college which was quite far from my house, it takes at least 30 minutes by motorcycle if there was no traffic in Jakarta and an hour by bus. I knew I should have tried harder to get to school without being late, but anyway, I got this weird habit that I can't do my best unless it involves my passions. I never late when I had to sing in early morning with PSM. I never late to go to any of Mabit events. But college happened to be something I don't really like. I didn't put my best effort to get to school earlier and as result, I was late for classes pretty often.

And unlike other normal students who could just go into class after being late for at least 15 minutes, I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to get in class, especially if the teacher was already in. I got this weird ideas about my classmates would all be watching at me when I walked in, and whispered my tardiness to the friend next to them, and talked about how I never got into any of class's events and yet still dare to be late (there is no connection between this at all but my mind can't stop being negative at that time). I couldn't help but imagine the teacher would scold me in front of the class and would yell at me. I didn't know how could I think so negatively when in real life, I know my classmates couldn't careless about my tardiness, given the fact that I didn't really talk a lot with any of them, they would probably ignore me when I walked in. But still, whenever I got late into class, I couldn't get myself in, all I did was standing in front of the class, let my mind threaten me with its horror imagination about my classmates and teacher, and in the end I would ended up waiting there in front of the door, hoping someone would be late as well so I could go into class with him/her. At least, I won't be scolded alone.

It was always my own thoughts that scared me to death. I was once being thrown out of class because I was late, and ever since then, I had this funny feeling that that teacher hated me and would remember me as bad student, and I felt like all teachers would treat me the same if I ever got late into class again. This is surely only happened in my mind. Later, I learned that it was not as bad as I thought. I learned that my teacher was just in bad mood that day and he greeted me casually the next day we met. I always learned that my classmates aren't as terrible as I thought, since they still give me their helping hands when we had exams (if you know what I mean), and every terrible things only exists in my brain. 

But if you have social anxiety, these things keep coming to you and you can't help it. The thing you can do best is trying really... really hard to remind yourself that it won't be as bad as you expected. It would be much easier when I had a good friend who understands my condition so well, they made it much easier for me to carry on with my college life. I really need to thank them for those encouragements, I needed them most at that time. I guess without them, I wouldn't be able to finish my college or get into any classes. I mean it. They are so precious.


***

On the bright side, I became a bit more aware of other people who seem to have social anxiety as well. It's not something that you can recognize so easily, it's something that needs depth understanding, and the willingness from the other party to learn about a person's anxiety. It was always in our brain, and we're the only ones who can fight it. We have to fight our demon everyday but with a friend besides us, it makes it more easier. For people with social anxiety, even just one simple kindness could give enormous power for us. Maybe that's why the Prophet SAW said that a smile counts as form of worship. Because that one simple act of kindness really help us a lot.

Thank you for reading

Wassalamualaikum. Wr. Wb.



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