I know how you feel when we are about to enter a room. I can sense the dread as it overcomes you. I can see the way your footsteps want to cease and forcefully drag along. I can see how your body tenses up. I can hear your pounding heart beat that gets louder and louder. I can feel your uneasiness as you clench my hand for support. I can feel you shaking and trembling at thought of moving forward even one more step. I know you want to retreat from the inbound company we are about to be smothered by.
I know you want to hide somewhere, and be anywhere but here. I know you want to shut down but I beg of you please, please listen and let me in.
I know of the thoughts that go through your mind. I can see the speed at which these thoughts, these irrational thoughts overcome you in a frenzy. I can see your eyes widening as you worry about all of the things that could go wrong. I can see the fear looming in your eyes, the fear of not knowing what to anticipate and what you can’t control.
It must be so burdensome to be like this, to be constantly on the edge of falling apart. It must be so tiring to always be at the mercy of your nerves. It must be so taxing to be in distress over even the smallest social affairs. It must be so draining to be plagued by such persistent and stubborn anxiety.
But I am here to tell you, to affirm to you that you are not alone.You are not confined to solitude as your social anxiety might otherwise tell you. You are not confined to bear this pain and affliction on your own.
You have me. You’ve always had me.
You’ve never been alone contrary to what your self-defeating thoughts might say. You are not inherently fearful of people. You have no natural aversion to company because I’m right here next to you. I am right here, rectifying the fallacies your social anxiety has imposed on you. I am right here, by your side showing you the antidote to your fears.
I know of your potential. I know of your capabilities. I have witnessed these myself. I know you are capable of overcoming apprehension. I know you have conquered internal doubts. I know you are able to take risks and I know you can let the uncertainties subside. I know this because I’ve seen you do this with me. Wasn’t it true, that when we first met you were also fearful? You must have experienced the same emotional racing thoughts and debilitating physical effects. Yet, here we are after all this time as evidence to what you overpowered and achieved. Your anxiety didn’t win; your social fears didn’t consume you. You persisted and fought, fought for a chance at something beautiful like what we have now. Your nerves were wrong.
The worst did not happen; rather, the best possible outcome arose when you took a chance to step out of your comfort zone and you took a chance to speak with me, triggering a chain of events that summarize our unyielding union.
This is how you have to love someone with social anxiety.
This is how I’ve always loved you. It’s a type of love grounded in patience and in faith. It’s the type of love that recognizes the physical symptoms and understands the irrational feelings. It’s the type of love that is patient enough to work through the painful moments. It’s the type of love that has faith in the other and sees the merit of their own potential. It’s the type of love that never gives up because they have witnessed the recovery themselves over and over. It’s the type of love we share, whose very existence is a testament that fear and anxiety can be overcome.