So, as you can tell, I like reflecting on the past. Call me a masochist, or whatever. But I enjoy stirring up memories and emotions from the past that I don’t normally touch on a day-to-day basis. I don’t think it helps alleviate the anxiety per se, but finding the sources helps me to better understand the world I’m living in today–which is a long-term goal of mine.
That said, lately I’ve been reflecting on my time in school, specifically college, because most people I encounter with social anxiety have a lot of problems in classroom settings. I did not however, well not on the surface at least.
Somehow I made it through my undergraduate studies without making one classroom presentation. I took a speech class, but it was on intrapersonal communication. I also chose an objective-based major (business), focusing on the sciences rather than the arts. Those classes relied more on facts than ideas and opinions. I felt fine participating in class discussions because I never had to reveal anything about myself. I could just say a quick fact and the attention would move to someone else.
What’s more, I took five humanities classes, as I minored in Philosophy, and even in those classes, I found ways to not participate. On days where I knew professors would open up the class to discussion, I wouldn’t show up. I had no problem doing the actual work–readings, attending lectures, tests etc–but when it came down to actually sharing how I interpreted something in front of others, I could never do it. The same goes for the other humanities classes I took. It’s really hard for me to admit this, but I have a much stronger interest in the arts, and subjective knowledge in general, than science-based subjects. If I could do everything all over again, I probably would major in Philosophy or English.
Everything I do in life is so dependent on my anxiety. Every time I make a decision, I ask myself, Can I do this? Will my anxiety let me do this? It’s sad to think about how many times I’ve had to do something I don’t really like doing because I’m so hindered by anxiety.
When will it end? Will I ever have control over my life?
Wow! This hit a huge nerve with me, although it sounds like you handled college much better than I did. It took me six years to graduate because several semesters were “taken off” because I couldn’t face the first day of class. I finally earned a degree in accounting……a subject I detest! Wish I would have had the guts to major in psychology.
Sorry you had such a difficult experience in college. I’m going through some intense shifts in my life now. Awareness and CBT therapy is helping me become aware of my behavior and teaching me techniques to help manage my anxiety. Once I get settled again, I’d love to take some adult education classes or something, in subjects I actually enjoy!
My point is this: it’s never too late to go back to school and do things right.
Thanks for the comment!