Before I was me...

"I have social anxiety."

This is a thing I say a lot, now. Before 2015, it was not anything I ever would have said. I loved people. I wanted to help them and love them and be around them and get to know them and dance and sing and laugh loudly...

I was "a people person."

And then 2015. 

This is me in 6th grade. This is what I feel like all of the time, now.

Some people can't tell you why they have social anxiety. They just have it.

I can tell you exactly why I have it.

Today, I went to my favorite coffee shop and saw one person who had started rumors about me standing with another person who had heard a rumor about me (and then left me rude online comments about what he had heard that I had done) and I ducked my head and just tried to move past them. In the process, I swung my computer bag and nearly knocked one of them over.

Shit. Shit. Shitshitshit. This looks bad. They're going to say I did it on purpose. Will he say that I attacked him? What will they say about me? What will they tell people?

Because...the thing is...I never cared what people thought about me...until the rumors started. Until they gained steam and resulted in online bullying, a loss in business, a loss in financial security, losses in friendship, a loss of faith in humanity, a loss of faith in people, a loss of faith in myself...

A few well placed lies and my brain is now completely rewired. Because I know now that people are far more interested in gossip than the truth. I know that people are far too willing to provide an audience for gossip. I know that people lie just to try and destroy someone's life.

I know that you can't ever prove what you did not do, so your reputation will never recover.

I know that people who start and spread rumors will never say that they are sorry, so you will never have any closure.

So I have social anxiety. People freak me right the fuck out. And the triggers for social anxiety?

People. And accidentally running into someone can throw off your entire day.

So that's fun.

This is fun.

It's especially fun when you try your hardest to be the person you once were, a person who could love people without fear, and instead your mind is basically like, " Fuck this shit, we're out of here." And then you get all teary eyed and you're embarrassed because once again you're crying in public, and you're awkward and weird and it's really not them, it's you, and people are probably so sick of this because why can't you just get over it already except I CAN'T BECAUSE THESE EVENTS BROKE MY BRAIN.

My brain is so broken.

I mean... it's not all doom and gloom. The people I've met at church continue to be amazing and kind and loving and my husband and family and close friends have been amazing and kind and loving and I am definitely healing. It's just...just because people can find healing and some time doesn't make what happened ok. I'm still affected. It's still painful. It changed who I am and I still struggle with this everyday. One tiny thing like accidentally bumping into somebody and I'm just derailed. I want to go home. I want to avoid the entire world. I am consumed with worry.

So nice. What you say matters. What you put out into the world has to land somewhere. Make it something good so that it lands softly.

Also, on a lighter note, silly putty is really useful if you find that you have to be in a social situation. I'm so serious about this. Most of the time when I find myself explaining why I have the silly putty, it opens up some really great conversations about anxiety...and I usually end up giving half of the silly putty away.

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