I already have the hardest time talking. I already need to practice what I want to say before I say it. I already have to calm my pounding heart before participating in class. I already have to reassure myself that what I have to say is worth it. I already feel like it would make no difference at all if I opened my mouth or not. So please don’t interrupt me when I do talk.
Living with this social anxiety makes it extremely difficult for me to talk in public. Conversing in a group or in class is one of the hardest things for me to do. My palms sweat and my heart pounds in my ears. I repeat what I want to say over and over again in my head until I am sure that I can’t mess it up. I miss the timing of conversation or the placement of attempted jokes because of my constant overthinking. I am in constant doubt of the words I have and if my contribution to the conversation is really worth it. I keep most thoughts to myself because I am afraid of expressing them. When I am forced to talk, I do it fast and keep it short so the attention can turn to someone new.
But sometimes, I do want to talk. I do want to tell a story that matters to me. I sometimes have something important to say or an idea to contribute. But then I get interrupted. I am left with an unfinished sentence and a diminished countenance. Because, of course, whatever it is that they had to say was more important than what I did. It may be an interruption for curiosity or some kind of clarification, but it throws me off my game. It makes me think that what I am saying doesn’t matter. It makes me feel like I need to hurry up and finish talking already so someone else can. It shuts me down and leaves me just wanting to be quiet. So I speed up the rest of my story and drop it, because it probably didn’t matter anyways.
And the next time I have a story or an idea, I keep it to myself. The next time I can relate to something I just keep it inside, because no one would care about it. That interruption has held me back eternally. I can’t participate in class, I can’t tell jokes, I can’t tell stories about my childhood, because I feel like nobody is going to care anyway.
What I need is someone to patiently listen to me. What I need is someone who shows me that they care for what I say. They care enough to pay attention. They give me eye contact and let me take my time. They practice patience and smile and nod along. They give me the type of validation which I so desperately need to keep going. What I need is for someone to just let me finish talking.
Just please stop interrupting me.