Seeing as I suffer with Social Anxiety, it's natural that I often open those links that are titled "things to remember if you love someone with social anxiety" - you know what I'm talking about, they're usually on Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post and they're targeted at boyfriend's and girlfriend's of those of us suffering with Social Anxiety and they're usually a set of rules we're supposed to all feel. Here's a controversial thing that I, as a person with severe social anxiety, want you to know more than all of those things; they're usually a bunch of shit, and we're not all the same.
I'm not talking to Katy, who is hugely supportive of my illness, right now; this is a general post. I don't want people to know I didn't pick this illness, in this day and age that goes without saying, what I want people to know is that how I feel isn't that same as how you might feel even if you have the same illness as me - what I want you to know isn't that it's going to take me a few days to build up to a party, it's that some days I will back out at the last minute because (even though for three days I've been telling myself my fears are unjust) I just can't handle the idea of being in a room full of people, even though I might know them all.
I want you to know that I find it hard to talk about my illness, and that doesn't make it fixed because I'm not mentioning it - I want you to know that some days I will be able to handle a bar full of people, but other days I won't even be able to handle Asda at 2am. I want you to know that personally, I don't think shyness and anxiety are that far apart because my doctor suggested that I was just the first when an in depth test told my councillors that actually I was severely the second; I want you to know that it's okay to bitch about me about being nervous about things - it's not going to set me into a rage about how difficult my life is.
What annoys me most about these posts is the inference that we are to be treated specially and specifically as people with mental illnesses. I don't want you to react in a certain way - I want you to understand that my anxiety wavers and that means that you can do the same thing right for me 99 times and the 100th time it will be wrong for reasons that neither of us understand. I want you to understand that I do get tired, and I do get ill more easily, but I don't want this to dictate our lives. More than anything I want you to know that I am more than just my illness, and if you're looking up how to deal with me as a person on the internet, or anybody with social anxiety, or any illness; then you probably need to reevaluate your attitude.
This is just a bit of a rant, but I've spent a few weeks feeling as though I'm nothing more than my illness and some days - all I want you to know is that I was a person before I was diagnosed, and I am still that person now. I want you to know that we are all different, we are all people, and we are all more than just our anxiety - but hey, that's just me.