No one talks about this: The Social Anxiety
It's the social event of the year.
The expectation to mingle like you've never mingled before? High.
The chances of sticking by the food table most of the night after telling yourself in the bathroom mirror that you would be the life of the party just this once? High.
And the chances of drinking more to hide the fear of being caught unmasking is even higher.
No one really talks about the impact dyslexia has on social anxiety. Research shows that dyslexics in social events report higher levels of anxiety because we take longer to adapt to different environments, and things happening within it.
So of course, the anxiety creeps in. What's more, it's the fear of slipping up and revealing the mask. Remembering people's names, adjusting to how they say things and maintaining eye contact are all real struggles that give me a blazing fear of doing something wrong.
Getting introduced to 10 people at once? Not ideal.
Joining in a big group conversation? I struggle to keep up.
But it doesn't even have to be triggered by a big social event, oh no.
A coffee shop date. Seeing someone you know in the supermarket and stopping for a chat. Being in a work meeting.
The number of times I've appeared to zone out of a conversation because I can't juggle all the noises and movements around me - I'd be a millionaire by now if I was counting. If I really tried, I could, but that leads me to being drained and exhausted (zoning out, not trying to be a millionaire).
I would say that now I've become more comfortable with being dyslexic, it feels better. But what I really mean is, I feel more comfortable in myself in its entirety that I no longer fixate on what people care about and I couldn't care less how my dyslexia makes me look to others.
I never thought I'd say this, but I'm now at a stage in my life where people's reactions to me say more about them, than me.