So today I had an appointment to get my hair done as I am going to a festival next week. I had already paid the deposit. I love getting my hair done but never do it because it makes me too anxious. The thought of a hairdressers sends me into a compete panic, so much so that I haven’t went in 6 years. Which has resulted in many bad, personally inflicted, dye jobs and haircuts over the years, that i’ll spare you the details of.
I stand outside the door ready to go in, the salon is packed. I find myself doing a lap around the block, giving myself more time to mentally prepare what i’m going to say and the route I will take to the front desk. I try to hype myself up to go in, but to no avail. No matter what I do I can genuinely not bring myself to walk in and get my hair done.
I have so many thoughts. I’m worried I’ll ask for the wrong thing, that I won’t be able to make conversation, that they won’t be able to do what I want, that I have my appointment mixed up. I can not make it through the door. I am in full fight or flight mode with my adrenaline feeling like it is about to bust out of every pore in my body. After 10-15 minutes (and therefore becoming 10-15 minutes late for the appointment, which only adds to my anxiety) I give up and get the bus home instead. On top of the disappointment I am feeling for letting myself down I am also guilty about wasting an appointment for the hairdresser, who will have lost a profit as a result of this.
The thing is, it wasn’t the salon being packed that I was really that worried about, it was the one to one talking that would take up around an hour that most terrified me. The thought of talking to a stranger for that long makes me feel so incredibly anxious, the fear of not knowing what to say, or how to say it, of talking too much or too little.
A hair appointment may seem insignificant, it’s not a necessity. I understand that. However, this is just an example and it is not just hair appointments that make me feel this way but all one to one encounters. This can be anything as unimportant as a hairdressing appointment to an important doctors appointment or a one on one session with a teacher. People mostly think social anxiety just has to do with big crowds and is to some extent, but it is also to do with just talking to people one on one, in fact I feel like that brings me more pressure and anxiety.
So anyway, today I have missed a hair appointment, last week I missed an exercise class (that I really enjoy) because I just couldn’t face the thought of people that day. It is a continuous uphill battle; some days are good, and some days are bad. Today wasn’t good, but hopefully tomorrow can be better.