My favorite song is called “For Good” from the musical Wicked. This song is about two unlikely friends that came into each other’s lives and have had their lives changed because of their friendship. I like to use this as my mantra and something that leads the way that I interact with the people in my life. I choose to believe that people are introduced to you in times where you need them the most. You can call it fate or luck or good timing, but I consider it all of those. As I wrote in a previous blog (Why I Don’t Have Friends) I tend to attract people to me when they need help and I am able to provide what they need. This can be in the form of needing someone to vent to, go to concerts with, drink wine and watch trash TV with, or be the person that can brighten their day. I can never predict how long we stay in each other’s lives, but very few have stuck with me throughout the years.
My anxiety causes me to be a lonely person. Social anxiety prevents me from having fun experiences with other people, and always gives me an excuse to cancel plans. Even when I am with a group of friends (or acquaintances) I still feel lonely. Imagine being in a room filled with family and friends that love you. You are having great conversations, maybe drinking some alcohol, but for some reason you have this invisible barrier between you and the rest of the room. No matter how physically close you get to them, emotionally you stay distant. I know this is a defense mechanism my brain has created to prevent myself from getting hurt. Most days it feels more like a handicap and something I need to overcome if ever have dreams of creating lasting friendships.
A great example of what I am talking about is from this past Saturday. I went to the Jesse McCartney concert with my friends Bre and Emily, and honestly had a great time. We had dinner at an adorable restaurant in Dinkytown called Annie’s, and drank cocktails at the Porthouse down the road. In line at the concert we made friends with the girls in front of us, and throughout the night we continued to add to this group. We ended with about 20 girls around us laughing, dancing and singing to all of his songs. Watching my Snapchats and Instagram stories showed a girl that was living her best life. In truth, I was in a lot of pain.
When Bre picked me up to head downtown I was an anxious mess. My stomach hurt, I couldn’t breathe very well, and my head hurt so bad I wanted to vomit. I told myself it wasn’t a life or death situation, but my mind was unconvinced. I felt better after having a few drinks, because the alcohol was able to numb the feeling of anxiety. The entire night I still felt like I was distant from everyone around me. It felt more like an out of body experience and looking back on the night I have very little memory on what I was actually feeling.
I am hoping to get to a point in my life where I don’t need a social crutch to get me through a socially stressful situation. The last thing I want people to think is that I am an alcoholic, because I am not. In reality I do not drink often, but only if I am entering in a situation where it will be helpful to get through (or if it’s a weekend in the summer and I want to let loose).
When I reflect on all of the people that have rotated in and out of my life I realized that I do not give anyone the opportunity to help me. I am so focused on what the other person’s needs are that I forget I have my own. I know I do this because I have always felt that my issues should not overshadow someone else. I feel that if someone is having a bad day and telling me about it, I am not allowed to also be having a bad day and share my feelings. Instead I push aside the way I am feel to focus on improving the other person’s day. What I am doing is incredibly harmful to myself, and as a result the relationship suffers.
For anyone that I have ever let down, I am sorry. For anyone I have ever cancelled plans with, I am sorry. For anyone I have pushed away, I am sorry. For anyone that I haven’t been able to help, I am sorry.
I am so exhausted right now. Maintaining this wall I’ve put up is exhausting. Pretending to be happy all the time is exhausting. I just feel like I can’t let the people down around me, but at what sacrifice to me. If I had any solutions in my brain I would’ve used them already. If you truly are someone that considers me a friend, please do not give up on me. This self-discovery project is incredibly mentally draining, and I am doing the best that I can.