It’s 2.00pm. I’ve been up about an hour and am still in my pyjamas. I’ve spent the time I’ve been awake feeling incredibly depressed and anxious about work. I need to get myself together as it’s Shabbat in a few hours; also, I’m out for lunch tomorrow and need to be in a good state of mind if possible. It’s hard, though. I was too tired and depressed to daven Shacharit (say morning prayers); normally I would say a couple of important prayers in my pyjamas before eating if I was too depressed to get dressed and pray properly first, but today I couldn’t even do that. I want to email my boss apologizing again for my mistake and promising to do better in future, but I feel too depressed to do that properly too. I’m not really in a fit state to blog, but I wrote this post about social anxiety yesterday and saved it for today as I had already written one long post.
I feel vaguely disingenuous writing about social anxiety, as I had a psychological review a number of years ago that suggested I have strong anxieties about social situations, but not enough to be classified as social phobia/social anxiety. It’s pretty undeniable I get anxious about social situations, though. I was just looking at a check-list of social anxiety symptoms and I came across this: “I avoid speaking to co-workers or superiors for fear of being negatively evaluated.” This was more or less exactly what got me into so much trouble this week: I was worried how my superior would react to my question and so didn’t ask it, relying on information from colleagues instead when I should have gone straight to my boss. I guess we live and learn; I just hope there aren’t any negative long-term effects.
The same check-list also said, “I avoid dating due to my fear of being negatively evaluated” and while I’m not avoiding dating due to fear of being negatively evaluated per se, I am assuming that anyone I would like would evaluate me negatively and avoid me.
Incidentally, the same website suggests that social anxiety is related to OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I knew that OCD was an anxiety disorder (the obsessions cause anxiety which the patient attempts to dispel with the compulsions), but it was interesting to learn how closely related it is to OCD, which I have been observing in myself lately. I am anxious that as a result of my mistake this week, I will not be allowed to take off the time I need for religious purposes in a few weeks’ time resulting in extreme anxiety (like when I have strong OCD anxiety) and ‘checking’ – in this case reassuring myself that I won’t get fired or be banned from taking time off or even that I could cope if I was fired or had to quit. I also ask my family for reassurance that this won’t happen. Compulsive avoidance of triggering situations and the cycle of compulsion worsening the illness are also said to be common to both OCD and social anxiety. As with OCD the solution (at least in part) is exposure to the fear, which is scary and difficult.
Oh, and on a not-quite unrelated subject, the shadchan (matchmaker) I mentioned who specializes in people with health issues was, according to google, brought up in England. No word on whether she deals with ‘modern’ people though. Hmm… It is tempting to get in touch with her, if I’m feeling better in a few weeks time, after the craziness of the chaggim (festivals) is over. It can’t hurt, anyway; the worst that can happen is that she says she doesn’t deal with people like me.