I’ve felt a bit better over the last few days and was reminded of how far I’ve come anxiety-wise today. I got my hair cut in the morning, which – due to having to make small talk with the hairdresser – I usually hate but I managed to have a full conversation with her about university and Christmas and her sons. I must’ve said about 6 times more than I usually do. I didn’t even feel anxious. I suppose a large part of that is that I’ve had the same hairdresser for 3 or 4 years now and everyone in my family (except my dad) gets their hair cut there. She’s also friends with my mum so I’ve gradually gotten more comfortable around her and everyone else there. I still struggle with a lot of things, conversation-wise, but I feel that I’m (very, very slowly) improving. Even just a couple of years ago, getting a haircut even with other family members present would have put my anxiety through the roof. Now I can do it on my own with no trouble at all, and have a conversation with the hairdresser, as long they start the conversation and ask the relevant questions to keep it going (I’m not so good at that).
While we’re on the topic of going to the hairdressers – I don’t know if this is common for people with SA but I can never get a drastically different haircut. When I go, I usually don’t get anything noticeably different done to my hair. I’d be too worried about what other people might say/ think if I got a different hairstyle. It’s stupid, I know.
Then I went Christmas shopping with my youngest sister in the afternoon. In the past, there have been times when I’ve absolutely dreaded Christmas shopping due to the number of people and because my SA and paranoia are usually worse at this time of year. Today was really enjoyable though. I honestly think I get better and better at being in public almost every single time I go shopping. I felt almost no anxiety today. I still had the odd moment when we were in a couple of really busy shops but it was nothing that I couldn’t handle. There are things that I never would have been able to do even a couple of years ago that I can do now almost without a second thought. Shopping and being in public is an area that I have improved massively in. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to be able to do these things now and experience only mild (if any) anxiety. It’s quite encouraging and will hopefully motivate me to improve in other areas, if that’s possible.