Category Archives: social anxiety

Missed Opportunities

I now have tangible evidence that my anxiety/personality/fear of other people’s opinions has stopped me from enjoying life as much as I can.

I went to a fan convention this weekend, dressed as my favorite video game character.  Turns out the company is making a new game and had a huge demo booth there.  So I was pretty popular.  I was totally fine with the crowds and people asking for pictures, because I wasn’t me.  I was the character.  It felt AMAZING to be publicly adored and not ridiculed or mocked, like I think everyone does to the real me.

Now, because of the popularity of the game this year, I’m getting special treatment at vendors.  Being able to cut lines, given free stuff, VIP access.  Even the DEO of the company who makes the game complimented me on it (although I didn’t realize it was him until he next day).

However, I was super uncomfortable  cutting in front of people who had been waiting.  This was my first time with this level of attention and I clearly didn’t know how to react.  The real thing I’m kicking myself over is that I could have been able to bypass a 4 hour line, but I was too afraid of the looks/reactions of those waiting in line.

Stupid, I know.  The CEO made a big deal about cosplayers and how much the company respects them, and that I shouldn’t have felt guilty about get special treatment.

So now I’ve been obsessing over every detail.  How good it felt to have people appreciate your work so much.  How awful I felt for not just asking if I could get what I apparently deserved.  Regret over knowing that it will never be this good again (there’s no way they’ll release another game any time soon).I regret not going back the next day for the VIP access.  Not that I was planning to, but it would have been so awesome.  If I had tried, I could have done it.  But I was afraid of my mother’s reaction.  I didn’t want to deal with her criticism.  Stupid fear of other people’s disapproval.  The extreme highs and lows have done a number on my physically.  I shook for two days (and still do when I start to obsess again).  I haven’t been hungry either.  Which is kinda of good since I’ve been overeating, but a clear sign of my anxiety getting worse.The one lesson I am taking away from this is that I have to just ACT.  Do something.  Ask for what I want.  I’ll regret it to a point of sickness if I don’t.  As much as it sucked to miss out this year, It came at the right time for me to learn this lesson.  I need it to talk to grad school people,w hich I’ve been dreading.  I didn’t want to come off as an annoying person, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter so much, as they’ll either forget you or help you.  I have to remember the reward outweighs the risk. And it will never be perfect.  I will never say the exact right things or at the right time, but I can only try.  I know I’ll suck, but the safety I feel when I hide is just an excuse.I need to take more chances.  Hell, I just need to DO something.  I over analyze to the point of deciding doing nothing is the best option.Life is for living.  Hopefully I can remember that.  At least for a while.

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Walking the Tightrope

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post.  February just disappeared on me.  I guess that’s a good thing.  I’ve been busy.  My initial plans to start taking night courses at the local college fell through due to gross incompetence.  On the plus side, I applied to and was accepted to take one class at a very prestigious university.  It’s incredibly time consuming and starting to affect my job.  Mostly because the class is int he middle of the day and I have to leave work before lunch, drive to the school and then drive home to work for the rest of the night.  I really don’t get much work done as I am just exhausted from all the people interactions and context switching. I’m living in 3 different worlds now (home, work, school), and the stress is finally getting to me.  The first week of this schedule was horrible, and I nearly quit, but thinking about all the people who helped me get in was enough to shame myself into continuing, even if I flunked.  After a while, I got used to it, and was excited by it.  But now I’m just constantly exhausted, and my grades are suffering, which is sending down the spiral of self hate.  I’m hanging on for now, but the tightrope is getting thinner and thinner and any light breeze (read: failure), will send me tumbling town.

Not only am I stressed about just one class, but I feel as though I’m wasting an opportunity.  People would kill to be in a class taught by these professors, and I have no idea how to interact with them.  I would love to someday be one of their grad students, and this would be the perfect forum to introduce myself.  I just can’t find a reason to do it.  I feel like I’d be wasting their time, or I would just show them how stupid I am, and thus ruining my chances of working with them.

Plus I still need someone to write a recommendation for me for grad school next year.  The plan was spend a year with the same professor at the local college, and get a semi-decent recommendation.  Now I’m in a class of 250 overly ambitious people and I don’t know how to stand out.

So far, all I’ve learned this semester is ambition = stress.

I waver between giving everything I have or just saying “fuck it” and go hide in a hole.  I hate screwing up.

The really sad thing is I like it at this fancy school, so I’m going to be even more heartbroken when I don’t get in for full time.

I’m not even sure if I have what it takes to survive there.  A year ago, I would have said no, but after being here, I feel like I belong.  I may just be overestimating my abilities.

I’m failing at work, as I don’t understand the assignments anymore.  It’s just stuff I don’t want to do.  I’m a code monkey for a lower ranked co worker and it makes me feel like shit.  I’m hanging on for grad school, but if that falls apart, I’m going elsewhere.  8 years in the same (and only) place, is just too long.

And the tightrope gets thinner…

I suck at my job

Although, it would help to know what my job really is.  I call myself a software engineer, which is sort of vague as it is.  I write code.  Application level code.  At least, that’s what I’m best at (best being a relative term.  Other people are better at me than this, but compared to everything else I’ve tried, this is the one thing I’m competent at).

Today proved my skill set is not meant for the job I do.  Since my boss left, I’m the highest ranked person (of two people) for a system.  The details of the system are technical and not software based.  I can’t explain why things work the way they do.  I can tell you about the software to turn stuff on and off, but that’s it.  People are trying to use this system and integrate it and try to assess tradeoff, but I feel so useless sitting in the meeting.  It “my” project, but I know nothing about it.  A technician knows more about the details than I do.  I feel so useless, and I’m supposed to be in charge.

And that’s just one example.  Everything my group produces is nothing I can take true understanding of.  Software is a support tool.  I was ok with that when I started working (yay job!), but now that I’m being ranked against my peers who can contribute in much more meaningful ways, I’m afraid I don’t have a future. Or if I do truly want a future there, it won’t be in work that I care about or really understand.

Problem is, I’m too afraid to leave.  What if I get a a job at a software centric place and find out I’m just not that good?  Then what?  Am I stuck with no career goals or opportunities?  I’m timid as it is and any serious criticism would probably break me.  At least here, I’m good at what I can do, but what I do isn’t important.

I hate fear.  I wish I didn’t care.

A Science (Non)Fiction Escape

I managed to get some uninterrupted quiet alone time.  It had to get up at 3am and sit in the backyard, but it was wonderful.  I was able to watch the Perseid meteor shower last night.  For some reason, looking up at the silent sky, the static stars and bright meteors always calms my anxiety.  It may be that it reminds how small I am and that I’m part of a much bigger universe.  One without judgement or societal pressure.  That things exist for near eternities and I only get s mall glimpse of it.  I’m usually getting lost in a scifi/fantasy world to escape reality, but when I get to look up, the calming effect is much more profound.  It’s real, and nothing can take that away.  There is something in this world I can connect to and feel at home.  I don’t have to run away into stories.

My only wish is that I could see more.  I live in the suburbs and the light pollution is horrible.  I’ve tried to go to local fields, but it’s still too bright, and I rarely feel safe.  I usually get stopped by the cops at some point, since it’s strange for a person to be out in the middle of the night and not want to cause trouble.  I’d go to a park, but then I have to worry about the wildlife, or worse, the people that do want to cause trouble.  My real goal is to go out west, to the desert.  I’ve been once before and the view was amazing.  This is the only time I feel like camping (although a nice secluded cabin wouldn’t be turned down 😉 )

I’m glad I had last night.  I’m currently juggling interactions with 5 people today and it’s stressing me out.  Two is bad enough.  I’m trying to keep track who I’ve messages, who I forgot, and try to balance between responding right away and not forgetting about it.  The problem with online conversations is I never know when they’re done.

Awkward Interactions

This week has not been a good one for me socially.  It seems like every interaction with someone is filled with misuderstanding or just bad vibes.  I’m sure it’s my problem or a self fuffilling prophecy, but it’s really put me on edge.  I’ve been having mini panic attacks whenever I have to interate with someone. Not even talk to them, just seeing them in the hallway makes we want to dive into the next room and pretend I’m a turtle.

alot of it has just been stupid stuff, like yesterday.  My boss called in a broken door lock and so a guy comes down soon after.  My boss left the room for some reason (I never know why), So I ask the guy “You here for the door?”  and I don’t know what he heard me say, but he said The one I just walked, through? I saw that.  Is <my boss> here, he’s expecting me.”  Wait, what? Usually they fixit guys don’t care who called it in, so I was preparing to explain about the door.  I txted my boss to let him know the door guys was here.  As you’ve probably figured out, that guy was not the door guy.   I was just left ina wave of confusiona nd just carried on about my day.

Anoth reason, the awkwardness is my problem, is I went to lunch with the Boy on Monday and I didn’t get the soup that comes with the meal.  i honestly don’t care, but I was just too terrified to assert myself. (The Boy got his soup, so I don’t understand why they thought it was normal for one person to not get soup, especially when asked, the person says “Yes, I want soup”.  whatever.

So the last awkward interaction was to day and really messed me up.  I had to interview someone and we interview in pairs.  I don’t really like interviewing, since I’m usually more nervous about what I’m saying/how I say it/ stumbling over my words.  well today was one of the worst examples of it.  The guy is still in college, so younger than me, but he barely acknowledged my existance.  He got along with the guy I was paired with.  The thing that really pissed me off was whenever I asked a question, he would respond to the the other guy.  WTF?  I’m right there.  On the times he managed to look in my direction he would make really short ye contact and then look at something 2 feet above my head.  i wanted to chock it up to nervousness or fear of women, but 2 women interviewed him next and didn’t see a problem.  It shouldn’t have bothered me that much, but I’ve been so down on myself lately, that someone who is looking for me to recommended him for  job couldn’t even give me basic human courtesy.

One more day of work and then I can check out for a while.  Only a 3 day week next week with the holiday, so hopefully I’ll be able tog et back into the right frame of mind.  this self doubt/loathing is getting old.

can’t sleep

I can’t turn my mind off.  but I’m not thinking of anything in particular.  I’m worried about classes I haven’t even applied to take yet.  I obsessing over people and who I’ve offended and who is mad at me and what people think of me.  But I’ve done nothing major to bring these thoughts on.  I just can’t relax, I can’t just enjoy my life.  If I’m not stressed, I’m not happy (if that makes any sense).  I need to fight for something, but, it has to have value in other people’s eyes.  I can just pick a project and work on it.  It feels fruitless.  I don’t care if I’m happy, I care if other people are happy.

I care if other people are happy.  wow.  I didn’t even realize I was doing that until I just wrote it.  Well, thank you wordpress and random people on the internet.  I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long.  I forgot how cathartic writing can be.  The insights just roll right off on to the screen.

So now the next question; how can I stop caring about other people and do the things that make me happy.  Mind you I have no idea what makes me truely happy.  I think I’m always miserable.  I don’t trust my own judgement.  I don’t know if my choices have worth.  I have no goals.  I have nothing I want to do with my life.

Random Thoughts

Sorry I haven’t posted as much.  I’ve had thoughts, but they’re half thoughts.  Stuff I want to get out but I just can’t put into words.  I’ll go through phases of anger and loneliness and alot of self doubt.  I’ve been thinking I’ve been doing ok lately, that things are going well, but then something in my head just snaps and I’m fearful again.  As I’ve mentioned before my clostes friend moved away, and the Boy and I are ok, but don’t see each other often.  I’ve just been dealing with alot of isolation and loneliness, but I’m starting to think I prefer it.  Maybe I just needed a break from everyone.  I’ve 10 days away fromwork and not having to think about my job or coworkers or what they expect from me has been wonderful.  I’m actually ok being away from everyone.  I feel almost peaceful and I dread going back to the 10 hour + commuting work days and bouncing between too much work and trying to look busy.

I had a strong bout of self doubt last night.  I’m been trying to psych myself up to go to night school, and since May I’ve been thinking it would be great.  then I start thinking about the details and I panic.  Im afraid I won’t be committed enought, or my interest will wain like it always does in everything I do.  I’m afraid of the commute, of being in a not so great city at night, of dealing with new people  and afriad of the teachers again.  I was so shy in college that I never spoke to anyone and didn’t make the connections I needed.  I’m afraid I’ll fall into that trap again.

I’m losing focus again.  I’m at a point in my life where the decisions I make now will affect the rest of my life.  I could just stay where I am, doing what I do, but I don’t think that will work in teh long run.  I don’t want to be doing the same job, taking orders from people younger than me.  But I don’t know if I’m management material either.  i don’t know what I am or really what I want.  I just feel like I have to do something, even if it’s to say I tried.  I don’t want to look back and wonder what could have been.  I hate regret.  I am terrified of failure, but I hate not trying.

I worry about the future too much.  I forget to live today.  Sometimes I just want to freeze the minute and live it forever.