How It Feels to Be the Girl Who Can’t Go Out

I love people. I really do. I’m always the one that is going up to random people just to talk to them. I loved going to parties and having fun with people, responsibly drinking and the comradery of it all. However, things changed this past year as my mental health started to deteriorate. Soon after, large groups of people that I don’t know would induce anxiety attacks in me. Now, I am literally can’t go out anymore.

I have anxiety disorder NOS, which means I exhibit symptoms of anxiety, but they don’t fit within the characteristics of other anxiety disorders. But nonetheless, I have anxiety. Anxiety didn’t reduce my quality of social life until this past summer, really. This whole entire summer, I went to a total of three parties, and looking back, I see a progression of how my anxiety impacted me.

The first party was an apartment party happening at the apartment complex that I subleased from. I joined one of those chats for everyone that was staying during the summer at UF, and somebody announced they were having a party at my complex, so I was like, “Screw it, I wanna go.” I hit up one of my friends, and we went over. The second I got in there, I felt uncomfortable. Dread of talking to new people filled me to the point where I avoided people by sitting on the couch. Then, I felt like I had to put on a persona by acting bubbly and trying to get everyone’s attention. I felt fake due to my anxiety.

The next party was another apartment party, but at a different complex. I tried being social at this one but I couldn’t; the expectations during parties shut me down. I was too scared to talk to new people and I was miserable and bored during this party. I ended up sitting on the couch again, and one of my friends even noticed and said, “You look miserable,” and I was like, “I know.”

My breaking point when it comes to parties was when I went to a frat party on campus. I was excited because it was going to be my first time in a frat house, and it was my first night back after being in a hospital for a couple of days. I really wanted to celebrate my freedom. When I got there, however, the place was packed. It should not have been a surprise to me because this frat has a reputation of going to capacity during their parties. There were just people everywhere and there was hardly any space to move. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Panic filled me, and I couldn’t find my friends anywhere. I found a corner and quickly texted my friends that I was having an anxiety attack, giving them my location as well. My friends helped me quickly get out of there, and I went back to my apartment and legit cried.

I’m sure there is someone else out there that can relate. As a result, I haven’t been able to go to parties anymore. My friends understood this didn’t pressure me to go out with them, which was nice. However, I still feel left out. I miss being able to make memories with all of my friends. Going out allows for people to make connections with other humans, but anxiety prohibits me from doing so.

Staying home always is a safe option, and it’s the only option I have. Relaxing at home always seems nice, but I wish that my anxiety could give me a break. It’s like a cloud that always hangs over me. On Friday night, I’m always looking at my friends’ Snapchat stories, and I am filled with jealousy. They are out having fun with friends. They are getting drunk, which is something that I can’t do because of the medication I am on. I wish I didn’t have to be safe. I feel disconnected from my friends. I feel isolated because my anxiety forces me to stay shut in. I don’t want to have another massive anxiety attack again, but I want to be social. It also makes me feel like I’m not getting the authentic college experience. I want to be able to party and make great memories and have funny stories to tell my friends.

Because of my anxiety, my social life has become a somewhat fear state for me. I am super aware of my actions, and I am super critical of myself with the way I act around people. It causes me misery and I am getting tired of it. I wish I could confront my anxiety, but I physically can’t.