This doesn’t hold for everyone with social anxiety, but it’s probably true for most. I find it much easier to take part on social media than in a real, live conversation. Why is that?
- There’s more time to think on social media.
- There’s no one around, physically, to make me feel anxious.
- I feel I’m on the same level as everyone else, whereas face-to-face I know they’re better at it than I am.
But sometimes I remember things I’ve posted and am sorry that I did. I think they weren’t appropriate or I didn’t express myself well enough.
I just had another look at this post of mine on the blog of fellow author, Carrie-Ann Schless. I thought it was good… until now. It shows a diary entry for a character I made up for my non-fiction book: Social Anxiety Revealed. I like the way it shows the thoughts behind the strange behaviour I described in the book. And the way the entry ends is true to the character, I believe:
“Why can’t people simply leave me alone?”
Yes, that’s what he’d write. But deep down, he knows that’s not what he means. He’s not happy being alone. He needs help to get out of his lonely existence.
Now, rereading that post, I think readers would assume the best thing for people encountering a guy like that would be to ignore him. But that’s not what I think at all, and I wish I’d said so.
Rethinking and overthinking are a big part of social anxiety. It can be good to rethink something. That’s how we learn and improve. I suppose the best outcome of rethinking is to determine to use the new thoughts to advantage in the future. The worst would be to beat yourself up over what you didn’t do in the past.