About my social anxiety II: psychiatrist visit

After my experience with social interactions on alprazolam, I eventually worked up the courage to ask a friend to make a psychiatrist’s appointment for me. (I couldn’t make it myself, because it required a phone call, and phone calls are among the things I cannot do.) Then I freaked out about the upcoming appointment whenever I thought about it, imagining how utterly embarassing it would be to try to put my issues into words, imagining counterpoints the psychiatrist could bring up, complete with dismissive and/or skeptical glances.

What if they thought I was just a drug-seeker? Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine, after all. (I resolved to emphasize I wanted something else than benzos if asked about it.) What if they just chalked my problems up to my age and told me I’d simply have to practice and get over it with time? I’d already heard that one far too many times, and the issue had gotten worse rather than better. And I knew I wouldn’t have the courage to make a second appointment with a different psychiatrist, or at least not in the near future. What if I failed to explain the situation correctly and ruined this chance at becoming better?

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About my social anxiety I

[It’s been a while. Whoops! I won’t promise improvement because (a) I expect to have rather less free time in the near future and (b) I’ve done so way too often to still believe myself.]

In the final two months of 2017, I participated in a study that researched the effects of humor training. This involved meeting with a group every Sunday to hear a short lecture on some aspect of humor and do a variety of exercises.

I had expected to be somewhat anxious at first – new situation, new people -, but to mostly get over it fairly quickly, helped by simple exercises designed to ease us into the experience and build our skills from ground up. Unfortunately, even many of the simpler exercises involved being thrown into the center of attention with an order to be spontaneous and creative and funny: tasks so far out of my comfort zone they were all the way over in the panic zone. I soon dreaded each session the whole day long – the sweating, the racing heart, the racing thought, the dry mouth, the sheer amount of time spent in fight-flight-freeze mode with all of these options made impossible.

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Getting a move on

Last time I wrote, I was in the grip of a heat wave so intense I couldn’t sleep, and today I woke up to this year’s first snow. The past months haven’t even felt that busy, yet somehow they still passed amazingly quickly.

The window I’m watching the falling snow through now is not the same window I kept open overnight hoping for a breeze, metaphorically as well as literally – only a week or so after my girlfriend M moved into the flat share instead of my old roommate R, we got our three months’ notice from the landlady, who needed the flat herself.

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The jump

My father and I were on a three-day hiking/climbing trip when the weather forecast predicted a higher risk of thunderstorms for the last day than we would have liked. (Thunderstorms in the mountains are not pleasant hiking weather, and thunderstorms happening while you’re halfway up a rock wall and tied to a steel cable are an electrocution waiting to happen.)
We still had a rental car until the late evening, though, and we were much closer to Jauntalbr├╝cke than either of us live, so we decided to take a detour. A text to my roommate over breakfast got me the code from my bungee jumping gift card, and a rather lengthy trip through the website later we were good to go. (The car still worked, too, despite much diligent work on the previous day. In my defense, it was really hard to tell the clutch was in third gear when I tried to drive off uphill. Repeatedly. Anyway, the burnt smell dissipated really quickly afterward, so it couldn’t have been too bad.)

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Hiking challenges

I have spent the past week hiking and climbing mountains in South Tyrol with a group, diligently working my way towards dying of skin cancer by getting another (few) sunburns and overtaxing my right knee badly enough on the descent on the second day that I had to miss the third and finish the last two limping.

Still, it was worth it. My day-to-day life happens within the concrete jungle of the city, walled in by houses, my field of view dissected by the (mostly) harsh straight lines of architecture, flat hard ground beneath my feet, and while I roll my eyes at anti-civilization sentiments, I do need to get out and away sometimes to remember that’s not all there is to the world.

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Changing roommate

R moved out.
It all went pretty fast suddenly – she announced that she might have found something one Thursday, looked at the apartment and signed the contract the following day. I spent hours plotting and organizing so we could handle her move, M’s move into her vacated room, and a trip to get a new fridge (ours belonged to R and she wanted to sell it) in a single go to save on rental costs for the van.

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