Sunday, April 01, 2012

Agoraphobia: not at all fluffy...

Reading Madam Bipolar's blog post from today reminded me how I've spent some time this weekend wondering why I can't just get over my agoraphobia (not to be confused with angoraphobia - the fear of fluffy bunnies).

I saw countless photos of bloggers at the Digital Parenting conference and the parties before and after... They were all happy and smiley and it was obvious participants were meeting old friends and making new ones!

I couldn't go to the conference because I couldn't afford to, so that's okay. I was offered a chance to go to the party beforehand but conveniently I had a prior engagement. I say conveniently because while I don't doubt I would have known some people there and that everyone is really friendly, the idea of going scared the hell out of me.

Of course, most people who know me will hardly believe this because when I'm in a social situation, I often seem very animated, but getting into the social situation scares me more than public speaking (which actually doesn't scare me that much because I can usually barely see the front row of listeners)!

One issue I have is my inability to read social queues. Mostly this is directly related to my low vision. Partly also, I think it's part and parcel of ADHD because I can get snagged on a train of thought and find it difficult to flow with a conversation sometimes. I have been actively working on this for decades - I even did a communications degree - but theory is quite different to practice, I've found.

These things undermine my confidence.

I often get caught out not recognising faces, too. So people will say 'hi' and I'll look at them blankly - leading to them feeling as if I don't want to talk to them, which is not at all true because I'm usually desperate to talk to people and get to know them better!

In social situations I'm usually running on adrenalin and that causes me to seem very scatty and unfocused, or hyper focused - I can't win!

I want to just get over it! I want to be free of this feeling of anxiety. I want to be like to be one of the happy, smiley people on the instagram photos!


Emily said...

Thanks for sharing this. I find done social occasions overwhelming too. I often look at other people's photo's and wish I could be groovy and fab like them. But you never know what's in people's minds.

Jayne said...

+1. It depends on the situation and I find myself swinging from extroversion to extreme introversion situation and context dependent. I've started to wonder if perhaps the social situations in which I don't feel comfortable just aren't where I'm supposed to be at that time? This makes sense to me somehow, and makes me feel less freaky ;)

Jayne said...

Also, you know that smiley, happy Instagram people are often faking it right? x

Sif Dal said...

Yes, there's probably a fair amount of fake it til you make it! Geez, they fake it well though, LOL!

Good Job!