Cousin’s 18th

The last few days have been quite busy. I finally finished my exams and uni is now over for the summer. I was a bit harsh on myself about the exams, but I think I’ve done well enough to pass all of them (though I’m aiming for merits for all 3 modules). I’m glad that I now have a break from the stress of the uni workload but I need to write a CV and start looking for a summer job soon. Even the thought of this makes me sick with anxiety. I doubt that anyone would want to employ me and I don’t think I could even write positively enough about myself to make a decent CV. I also don’t have a clue where I’d work. The thought of doing something customer-facing, such as working on the checkout at a shop, seems too much to handle. I worry that if I do manage to get a job, I’ll just end up hating every minute of it because of my anxiety. I would like to use having a job as an opportunity to help me overcome my social anxiety, but worry that it would be too much. As I mentioned in my last post, having more free time during the summer tends to allow my mind to wander too much, and I end up ruminating over the same old things, bringing my mood rapidly spiralling downwards. I really need a project or something to keep my mind busy, in order to stop that from happening.

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It was my oldest cousin’s 18th birthday on Sunday. Her parents had organised for 21 of us (mostly family, but also her boyfriend and her best friend) to have a meal together as a surprise for her. From the moment we walked in the door, my anxiety was through the roof. I don’t even know a lot of the people who were there very well – such as her grandparents (not the ones we share), and their second cousins – so I found it extremely awkward having to greet and hopelessly try to make conversation with these people. One thing that got me really paranoid/ super self-concious was that my cousin’s grandmother – who I hardly ever see unless it’s a Birthday party, New Year’s party, or Christmas party – for some reason kept going on about how ‘stunning’ I supposedly am. Now if you know me/ have read all of this blog, you know that I think very, very lowly of my own appearance and usually can’t believe that I’m anything other than hideous. I know logically that she was probably just trying to compliment me and didn’t mean a whole lot by it, but I couldn’t help feeling paranoid, especially because she kept on mentioning it, weirdly. I was convinced that she could see how much of a loser I am and was saying it out of sheer pity other than anything else. It just made me feel so self-concious and freaked out. It always freaks me out when people try to compliment me.

I feel that I was very awkward the whole time and worry that I perhaps came across as rude to a couple of people. I spent the first half of the meal just talking to my immediate family, but then my grandparents (who had just got back from their trip to New York) called me over. I fortunately (or unfortunately) managed to avoid anxiety by spending most of the rest of the afternoon listening to my grandad talking about the trip. He could honestly talk for Scotland – the universe, even – and pretty much gives you his life story every time you see him. Once he starts telling you a story (and his stories are LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGGGG), it’s impossible to get him to stop. So he happily nattered away to me, while I mostly got to avoid awkward conversations with the people I didn’t know so well.

I did manage to make a couple of SA achievements though. Even though it was very awkward, I managed to talk to both of my cousin’s grandparents about my course and uni and about where my immediate family are going on holiday this year. I always feel under intense pressure to not come across as rude/ make an idiot of myself, but feel that that usually happens anyway, no matter how hard I try. Maybe the expectations I put on myself to make a good impression and be socially ‘perfect’ are just too high. I also managed to call a waitress over as she was passing the table, so that I could ask for a refill of my drink. Normally, even just telling the waitress/ waiter what I’d like from the menu when they’re at the table is difficult enough. It was the first time I’d actually managed to call someone over so that I could ask for something, without a family member doing it for me. Again, it probably seems really small, but it is a big thing to me.

I have to admit that I couldn’t help but feel somewhat jealous of my cousin/ bad about myself because she seemed to be having a great time on her 18th birthday, and laughing and joking with her best friend and boyfriend, while I was – for the most part – miserable on my 18th birthday. I know that’s probably very selfish and ungrateful of me. I did manage to mostly take my mind off feeling like that though, and remembered that I really shouldn’t compare myself to others.

I came away from it feeling as if I had made a couple of small steps in reducing my SA, though I still need much practice in making conversation, in particular.

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