What does social anxiety and burgers have in common? Not much, but both were part of the menu for today’s lunch. Today as I was in the centre of town on my own, I decided to have a sit down lunch on my own, which is something that I never do. Sitting by oneself at a restaurant can be an unnerving experience and it is for me as well. there’s something sad and lonely about seeing someone dine on their own.
What does one do in this situation? You order your food and try to pretend you’re not there. Avoid eye contact with the remaining patrons until you get your food and then keep your eyes on the food. I didn’t have book on me today and as the phone ran out of battery (I couldn’t even take a picture of my food to show you – a Skinny Smokey burger with fries on the side at Byron’s).
I went through all the catalogues I brought back from the Debenhams Press event (more on that soon) and decided I should take some notes about this. Social anxiety is something that has been plaguing me more than usual as of late. As my self confidence plummets for a variety of reasons, social anxiety rises. I am becoming increasingly awkward and uncomfortable in unfamiliar settings and this realisation in turn causes even more grief.
This of course, is only one aspect of living of anxiety. You find yourself in a place with people you don’t know. You’re on your own and you don’t know what to say or do. You can’t hide behind anyone else, so you get anxious about it. Someone talks to you and you end up blurting out something stupid. Then you feel stupid and proceed to obsess over saying that stupid thing for a long time, making you even more anxious. This then becomes a vicious cycle because next time, you’ll be even more anxious and afraid of repeating the whole situation, which will most likely happen, seeing that your nerves are frazzled before you even open your mouth to speak.
This may come as a surprise to a lot of people who know me but that’s maybe because a) I’m usually comfortable with them or b) I don’t usually talk too much about this but it’s now becoming unbearable.
I can’t and don’t want to live like this so I have decided to try and confront these fears and reactions, rather than recoiling away and potentially making it even worse. So today I decided to have lunch on my own, not only because I’m hungry but also because I refuse to let myself be held hostage by anxiety. In the end, I had a lovely meal, the staff was super friendly and nothing bad happened.