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When Anxiety Makes Me Antisocial

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I used to be such a social butterfly. When I was a teen, I constantly had plans, and in my early 20s, I loved going out every weekend.  Even on weekdays after work, I’d book up most of my nights. Crowds were no problem at all. I absolutely loved concerts and loud music.

I worked in customer service and didn’t mind the confrontation. Situations would arise where I had to come up with solutions for unhappy customers and I’d figure it out. When I got invited to events, I would be so excited. You could bet I was going unless I came down with something serious.

Somewhere along the line, a lot of that changed. My anxiety, which used to be mild and managed, manifested itself strongly in me. If I could guess, it had a lot to do with hormonal changes after having children and my stress levels going up. Whatever the cause may be, the fact remains: I am less social than I used to be.

I do still love my friends very much. But when my anxiety kicks in, I want to be alone. No phone calls, no texts, no plans. On the days when I’m feeling highly anxious, the thought of plans makes me cringe. What used to excite me makes me nauseous. Crowds and loud noise make me want to run away and lock myself in my room.

For a while I thought maybe as I’m getting older, I’m turning into an introvert; but it’s not just a matter of being introverted or extroverted. It’s a lot deeper than that, and it’s something I’m working on.

Now that I know what issues I’m dealing with, I can face them. I know when anxiety kicks in, I need some extra space to breathe. In time I know the social butterfly in me will start to appear more often.

I guess you could say I’m a work in progress; but it’s OK not to be perfect.

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Originally published: July 14, 2017
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