When was the last time you were completely stumped by a question, a request, or a situation you found yourself in? How did you handle it?
This one’s easy. I get a mini panic attack every time I have to make small talk with strangers. My hands get clammy, my chest tightens, and my voice breaks. It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to claustrophobia. The last time this happened was yesterday when I was ordering a drink at Starbucks. The employee asked how my day was going and I just mentally collapsed. A dozen appropriate responses flashed across my mind but I couldn’t form the words in my mouth. I think I incoherently stammered some stupid response and stumbled away. Scenarios like these occur about ten to twenty times a week, and I handle it in pretty much the same way I did the Starbucks incident – silently pray that he/she don’t talk to me, mentally freak out, mumble some stupid shit, and walk away. It doesn’t exactly ease my social anxiety issues, but it gets me through those awful conversations.
Ice breaker games are a bit more challenging to deal with. If I mumble something the professor will ask me to clarify, and walking away is not a viable option in a classroom setting. So the only choice I have is to blush and tremble and talk about my fucking life in front of my classmates who hopefully wouldn’t think I’m a freak. It’s more difficult than almost any test I’ve ever taken. A part of me thinks there must be an easier, more effective way to handle these kinds of social curve balls, but personalities aren’t like jackets that you can just shed whenever it gets hot. I can’t just dump my shyness or awkwardness whenever the situation demands it. It’d be amazing to find that hidden extrovert deep inside my mind, but I just don’t think she exists in my world. I’ve never been comfortable talking to stranger, and I don’t believe I ever will be. Social anxiety is just something I have to deal with as an introvert.