This story is solely based off of just one social anxiety experience that I have had. It does not in any way reflect the life of others nor is it exactly equal to every situation anyone, including myself, has experienced.
Last night, I went out on a date. It was a second date with a guy I had just officially met the day before. He had invited me to go out with him and his friends to a pub and then we went back to one of their houses to play Cards Against Humanity. I felt like I was back in fucking high school, guys.
I don’t mean by the way him and his friends acted, I pride myself on being one of “the guys.” I’m the girl that wears high heels and a ton of makeup but can crack one of the dirtiest jokes around. I win every time at Cards Against Humanity. I’m freaking hilarious and I’m able to be that way without demeaning anyone or lowering my moral standards. I think I’m pretty badass about it, actually. That is, until I’m met with a group of guys I know nothing about. They don’t seem like my typical guy friends, and I’m way out of my league. Shit.
We sat around the table last night at the pub. Everyone with a beer except for me, keeping my promise to my readers that I would no longer drink. I was tempted, but I didn’t. Every guy there was nice, with his own twisted sense of humor. The racist jokes flying, the sexist jokes being created, and laughter all around. Even me, I can have a twisted sense of humor at times, too. But, not on their level, and not with people I don’t know.
I tried here and there to make a sarcastic comment, I think I made one joke that was laughed at. I know I come off as a bitch when I’m shy and when my jokes aren’t taken correctly, I was making an ass out of myself all night. I think my date even “ssh’d” me once. Which, was totally called for if no one understood the sarcasm of my joke. Without the humor, it was just a plain out bitchy ass, rude comment. Or maybe I’m just over thinking things, who knows.
When you’re with a group of unfamiliar people, and you have social anxiety, you crawl into your shell. You listen, you pretend to laugh, but the jokes aren’t being well received through that outer wall you’ve built up. To make things worse, my afternoon medication, as I like to call it, in reality it’s an ADD medication, isn’t working at all. So, being in a loud bar with lots going on, I kept zoning out. I was not pleasant company.
To top off the bar experience last night, not only was I struggling with my alcohol addiction, but my PTSD. See, normally I’d have absolutely no problem pulling someone aside and being like, you can’t make that joke around me. But, for some reason, I felt like I was being tested for how “cool” I was. So, I didn’t say anything. But then the date rape jokes came up and the nazi jokes ran wild, I wanted to break down. A little background on the PTSD and Nazi jokes, let’s just say that going to an old concentration camp will change a person forever. I believe everyone should go to at least a museum on the subject.
After that was all said and done, we headed back to one of the guys’ houses. I thought this was my oppurtunity. There wouldn’t be the noisy bar to drown my thoughts, I could actually function. Damn, was I wrong. Turns out, my need for approval from this guy and his friends was so high, I could barely function still. He held my hand, he did small little physical things to show he was interested, but I was still a nervous wreck inside. I felt like every time I opened my mouth some comment would come out in a bitchy tone and I’d ruined everything. I kept apologizing to everyone, saying how sorry I was that I was awkward. I haven’t felt this way in a while. There were at least two times that night I just wanted to allow myself to have a panic attack. I didn’t want to seem overly emotional, so I kept quiet.
I went to my best friend’s house last night at 3am because I needed to feel at peace. I needed to be around someone who understood me, so I didn’t feel so crazy and out of control. We hung out for a bit, cuddled up and watched some Netflix. Eventually, I passed the hell out. So did he. I woke up a couple hours later and came home. It felt good to be understood after that night, I needed it.
Dating when you have a mental illness feels like a lot of mistakes, a lot of opening up quickly, and a lot of apologizing. I know I don’t need to do these things, but I genuinely like this guy, I want him to understand. I’ll try anything to help people understand.
All in all, his friends were great and hilarious, I laughed and had fun. I just hadn’t been that shy since, well, my first boyfriend in high school. I was out of my comfort zone without the proper coping mechanisms. Okay, without my bad coping mechanisms. Guess that’s something to talk to my therapist about. Oh, also my date was super sweet, and I like his cuddles.