On Mental Health

Awkward Zoot Can’t Sleep

We’ve all discussed our own social anxieties before, and how it turns us into homebodies…right? So I can jump right into my stories from The Night I Did Two Social Things In One Evening without any preface?

I’ll give a little bit of preface.

I have intense social anxieties that – for years – kept me as a homebody. I have made parabolic improvement since 2009 and many people tell me now that they’re shocked I even have social anxieties, but if they could have seen me tossing and turning in bed last night? They would have believed me.

I had TWO…yes, TWO social obligations last night. ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT! I’M SO POPULAR!

But the problem is, after any social event, I need some sort of tranquilizer to calm my brain which spends the hours after I leave replaying EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. and analyzing it for Stupid Things I Said And Did. And last night? Last night I had TWO events to analyze.

Luckily they were both events filled with people I have gotten to know quite well over the years, which helps. Events where I know NO ONE always create a much stronger post-event anxiety. BUT SITLL! I got home late (after 10pm) and had gotten up at 3:30am so I was REALLY tired but could NOT go to sleep because I just kept analyzing things I said and did all night. Was that a dumb thing to say? Did that sound offensive? Was that rude?

If you don’t suffer from social anxieties you’re sitting here thinking: That’s awfully self-absorbed. No one thinks about you that much.

But if you do suffer from social anxieties, then you have cataloged all of the times you heard someone complain about someone else being rude or dumb or offensive (because there are people who have done that) and you catalogued it and now assume that type of person is at every gathering you go to, waiting for you to screw up. Logically, we know it’s not something to really worry about. Especially if these people are already our friends and like us. BUT YOU CAN’T TURN IT OFF WITH LOGIC. So you toss and turn and try to think about ANY OTHER THING but that thing you said that maybe was really stupid. And did you talk to that other person enough? And should you have offered that thing? And did you call that person the right name? And the most common Zoot awkwardness of all: SHOULD YOU HAVE GOTTEN THAT EXCITED?

(I am super-excitable.)

So I was really tired having been up from 3:30am to 10pm and run 6 miles and worked a full day and gone to TWO social engagements yet STILL…STILL…I couldn’t sleep.

IMG_0086I did eventually try to shift to zen mode. I got a surprise in the mail yesterday. This shirt that says “Today I Choose Joy” which is one of my FAVORITE mantras and I wore that shirt last night and it did bring me so much joy! And I got to spend time in two of my favorite circles: My beer drinking athlete friend circle, and my book club circle. Two circles I’ve found since I’ve gotten the courage to escape Social Anxiety Jail and braved making friends. And I started to breathe deep last night and lie still and really meditate on that: I have wonderful friends. Friends who don’t care if I’m awkward, they might even love me BECAUSE of it. I have people in my life who know me well enough to send me PERFECT SHIRTS. I have enough friends to have TWO events on a Wednesday night that I did NOT want to miss. I faced the social anxieties head-on and became part of some wonderful communities and instead of obsessing over stupid things I said or did, I tried to just breathe in the blessings and try to calm down.

I’m not sure if that worked or if I was just SO TIRED I eventually passed out.

Either way? I stopped tossing and turning and Awkward Zoot Who Is Social Awkward…finally fell asleep.

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