Social Anxiety Disorder is not my friend. She thinks she is, but our relationship is toxic. She’s constantly telling me that I can’t go somewhere, that I can’t meet people, that I can only be friends with her. She makes it so I sweat too much around people and say all of the wrong things. Each time I try to distance myself from her, she proves that my relationship with her is the only one that works. “Stay home,” she says, “where it’s safe and comfortable and where we can be alone. You can’t make an ass of yourself if you’re BY yourself.”
I’ve been trying to get away from her. I’ve tried medicine that would quiet her. The problem was, it quieted everything else. The good friends I had in Humor, in Empathy, in Joy. I knew that all I could do is the one thing I hadn’t done yet. Confront her.
I did this by doing something she’d never let me do: I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother. LTYM is a national series of live readings by local writers. I really wanted to be apart of it. On the morning of my audition S.A.D. taunted me, “You’re really not feeling up for this. I mean, this isn’t your thing at all. Why not just stay home and write a post to get all of this out. Why be with people?! People are the worst! Look at all of these books here. You love books! Here…read a book…” I almost listened to her. I almost stayed home. Thankfully, Jessica was going to be there from Boston and had threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t do it. Much to the chagrin of S.A.D, I went.
I chose a piece that was uncomfortable to give to further shove it in S.A.D.’s face that I don’t need her. That she doesn’t control my life.
I got the part. I got it! We’ve had two rehearsals since and while S.A.D. has been with me through all of it, her voice has been drowned out mightily by the voices of the 13 other women that I am doing the show with. New friends that I would not have made if I had stayed within my comfort zone, if I stayed at home with my anxiety. Women who have challenged my way of thinking, have made me see new insights to to the beauties and even sometimes, the ugliness of motherhood. These women have pieces that will make you laugh so hard you’ll be afraid that you’ve broken something, cry the ugliest of ugly cries, and everything in between. I am humbled to be in a cast of such amazing women, and so grateful.
Confronting our demons is tough. But it’s a fight worth having. I will never be without S.A.D., but I can do whatever is possible to drown out her voice amongst the voices of people, of feelings, and of life.