Social Anxiety in the Internet-Sphere

It might seem like it’s easier to interact with others online, but social media can provide new stressors and a deeper sense of isolation.

Source: For People With Social Anxiety, The Internet Is A Blessing And A Curse | HuffPost

I’ve mentioned before that I read articles for a living. It’s not the best living, but it jives fairly well with my social anxiety, generalized anxiety, depression and other diagnoses that impact my ability to successfully work outside the home, and it’s better than making no money at all. Anyway, in the course of that I came upon the article cited above which hits on so many real points of contention for those of us struggling to get by in today’s social media rich environment that I hit the little “Press This” button on my browser and saved it as a draft to come back to when I had some time.

This entire “AnnotherVoice” blog was originally started to provide me with a safe place to simply just be me without the shackles of my anxiety weighing me down. In theory, it was a good idea. In practice, not quite so much.

A quick scroll through the archives gives evidence to the ebb and flow of my confidence and dedication. I have more drafts than I do published posts. There are file folders on my flash and back up drives filled with way too many documents containing ideas, stories and anecdotes. Some are decent. Some suck. All have added notations reminding me what fears or worries are attached to continuing them. All have potential if I could only free myself of those shackles.

I wish anxiety was something that I could just lose, get over and move beyond. It simply doesn’t work that way. I read posts and articles by people claiming they’ve worked through and found a way and, looking back on my own work, I’ve made similar proclamations at various points as well. The thing is, while it sometimes feels like I’ve gotten a handle on it, it only takes one tiny thing to set me back.

One trigger. One odd glance. One unexpected question. One innocent error. One trip over a stair. One bad moment. One bumbled conversation. One forgotten task.

And next thing I know I’m back at square one. Hating on myself with all I’ve got.

Too often, social media itself provides the trigger. A bad comment. A rude reply. Hell, I’m not even talking about on my own posts – seeing that on someone else’s post can set me off. Any reminder of how cruel the world can be.

My high school guidance counselor (a gazillion years ago) once told me that I was just hypersensitive, and that it was a gift that allowed me to see and feel things that others didn’t. She encouraged me to use it in my writing. Let’s think about that, shall we? I even fail at that.

Combating anxiety is a constant battle. It’s exhausting. By the end of most days, whether I’ve been out and about in the world, or just skipping around the internet-sphere, I’m completely emotionally and physically drained from the incessant arguments going on inside my head, the roller coaster of emotional stress they create, and beating the crap out of myself about it all.

I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten way off track here from where I envisioned it going (dammit), but mostly I wanted to remind myself and others that even though we feel alone in our battles, there are others out there fighting similar fights. You may be surrounded by folks who just don’t get it – don’t get you. They may be dismissive of your realities or simplistic in their suggestions for overcoming them. But there are so, so many of us out here who do get it, who do live it too. Maybe, just maybe, the internet-sphere is where we can find each other and help each other to feel a little less alone.

Love & Light

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