I have not always been an extrovert. In fact, I was only friendly around those I knew for a large portion of my life. However, when I became more confident in myself during high school I metamorphosed into a social butterfly. I had a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) if I was not at events or even simply hanging out with my friends. However, I have always overthought things. Bad. In fact, I would not go to a restaurant on my own unless I knew exactly what I would order ahead of time. Do you know that girl that cannot make a decision about where she wants to eat? Yeah, that's me. I don't want to disappoint anyone with my choice. You could say I am a people-pleaser because of this.
If this does not convince you of the tremendous weight that mental illness has on a person, I have a story for you.
A few years ago on Easter, I had a mental breakdown. Yes, it was the typical holiday-at-home family gathering that can end up to be a recipe for disaster. News flash, if you move away from home and come back people tend to clash since both you and your family became used to the idea of living life with fewer people around. Well, I had woken up late that day and did not have enough time to get everything done before going to church. My choices were as follows: be a hot mess but be on time to church or dress my best and show up late. Now I know what you are thinking, this is obviously the dilemma of the century.
Well in my eyes, it was a huge deal. It was so significant that I took out my frustration on my entire family. Looking back, this was during an extremely stressful time in my life. I was going back to my home church where my ex-boyfriend of two years would be with his current girlfriend that he cheated on me with. There are so many factors that go into just attending an event. Yes, I am outgoing. Yes, I plan these events. But I have to control the world around me due to social anxiety. It is like a hazardous, scentless gas. It is looming even if it is not seen. It is not until something impactful enough brings it to light a fire that anyone knows that it is there.
I did not really know that I had anxiety until I was an adult. In fact, it began to develop more during college, especially during dreadful sorority recruitment because let's be honest those things are nightmares for everyone involved. During my sophomore year in college, I was finally diagnosed with anxiety. I had gone to see a few counselors on campus but none seemed to have anything that helped me. I because extremely discouraged and felt like something was wrong with me. I began to have panic attacks while walking to class. I could not function normally in daily life because of this. I did not sleep at night and I would avoid my friends. At that point, I thought to myself, "This cannot be normal. Does everyone feel this way or is it just me?" I overthought every move I made, whether it was the outfit I was wearing to class--shoutout to the oversized T-shirts and Nike shorts--or what I would eat for dinner at the café. So after a long come-to-Jesus meeting with myself, I decided to reach out again and see the campus doctor.
The physician that received my case was very supportive. I explained to her how I felt and that nothing so far had helped "cure" me. At this point, she told me that I did not need to be cured, it was just part of who I was as a person. Instead, I just needed aid to help me control my emotions and the way my brain interpreted things. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety and she prescribed me medicine that would control my highs and lows.
So this is for the person that struggles socially but is definitely outgoing. It is okay to feel this way and you are not alone. Some days are harder than others but being confident will help you through.