Anxiety has Benefits?
Okay, this is going to sound super weird, but bear with me.
I started this blog with the intention of showing what it’s like to live with social anxiety. I wouldn’t be speaking truth if all I focused on were the negatives.
I know, what on earth am I talking about? I don’t consider social anxiety to be a positive thing in my life, and I do know life would be a lot easier without it. However, I haven’t had a miserable life, not in the slightest. I have parents, siblings, and friends who love me and make me feel comfortable, and I’ve grown into a person I’m proud to be.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my social anxiety.
Because I live with the constant fear of being judged, I am very slow to judge others. When other people do something strange or embarrassing, I see the action as odd, not the person. If I do have a negative view of someone, it took a long time and a lot of evidence to develop.
I remember the little things. I don’t want people to think I’m forgetful or feel like I don’t care. So even though I’m terrible with names, if you tell me what you did last weekend, your hobbies, or your favorite beverage to chug, I’ll probably remember.
I’m also incredibly self-aware. I know everything I do and its impact on the people around me, which comes across as polite. For example: I make sure the door doesn’t slam behind me when I finish a test, or that I don’t wake up my roommate when I get home late. Teachers loved me for this, I was never a disruption.
It also means I was really good at hide and seek as a kid, because I knew how to be completely silent. I won almost every time.
I’m more sensitive to others, especially fear or anxiety in others. I’m quick to notice when other people are uncomfortable or embarrassed and will do what I can to help them. Even if helping them could make me uncomfortable or embarrassed.
I’m prepared, both for myself and others. My anxiety makes me overthink everything that could go wrong, and what I can do to prevent that. This means I always carry with me a tide-to-go, hair ties, safety pins, etc. This is also the part of me that triple-checks everything I post online for errors.
Yes, part of this is my personality, but all the things I said are exemplified by my social anxiety. It changed the way I see the world and helped shaped the person I am today. I don’t know what I’d be like if I never had it. I’m not sure I want to know.
Finally, having social anxiety allows me to impact people in a way I couldn’t otherwise. I’ve had several people message me about this blog. They thanked me for writing it, told me they felt understood, or that they understood someone else more.
Being able to help a handful of people? That’s the biggest benefit of them all.