In 2002, (as social anxiety tightened its grip on every aspect of my life) I quit my high paying, corporate job out of desperation. It wasnt a decision that I made lightly – after all, this was my career and my livelihood. I was employed by that company for 4 years. Once the deed was done, I felt completely lost – as though Id just made the biggest mistake of my life. Yet, deep down, I somehow knew that the decision was the right one.
Its been almost 6 years since I left, (hard to imagine) and I cant help but look back at the person I was back then – compared to who I have become today. I still have social anxiety disorder, but I am much more functional and at ease around people. This is mainly down to the effort I have put in over the last few years.
Keep in mind that I did not spend 6 years productively and systematically working towards defeating social anxiety. I would say that Ive really only been at this for 3 years – max. The 3 years prior to that were spent going around in circles – not knowing what to do, or where to start. I wasted a lot of time mired in depression, anxiety, and mediocrity. I didnt make an effort and didnt care what happened to me. I was overwhelmed.
It, basically, has taken me 3 years to end up where I am now. I was hoping that by this time, I would be a different person – one who could hold a good job, walk with confidence, and have enough self-esteem to be able to handle anything that life throws my way. Though I have made significant progress, I still feel suffocated by social anxiety disorder.
I suppose that in the worst case, Ill fall victim to the law of diminishing returns – where the amount of effort needed to move to the next level increases exponentially.
Deep down, I dont feel that this is the case though. I truly feel as though I am on a roll and have struggled with the most difficult part. The most important thing I can do right now is ensure that I continue to take small steps forward, learn from my mistakes, and value my progress.
As I continue to struggle with this condition, I feel completely on my own. Although I have friends and family, there is little they can do to help. I suppose that people just dont understand unless they are fellow sufferers.
Being alone, I have no one to bounce ideas off of, get constructive feedback from, or lend a sympathetic ear. Perhaps its time to connect with other SA sufferers in the real world. It would be nice to just have a few friends I could talk to about this.