Hello friends, old and new. I was hoping I would update this blog more, but it turns out I’m a horribly lazy piece of shit! Who knew? (Psst I did, I knew.) I’ll try to keep the format where my pictures of Game Centers are their own posts, by and large, because let’s face it, I know what you people are here for. Recently, classes have started, and I’m kind of a massive otaku and I struggle with social anxiety.
This is going to be a long, whiny post, so you might wanna opt out now.
A little bit of backstory. Approximately 9 of you know me, and I never really intended this blog to be seen by anyone but those people. I wanted this to be a place my friends could come to check up on my while I was in Japan, and to see some pictures of my adventures, that sort of thing. People that know me know that I’m unreasonably obsessed with arcade games, and they knew one of my major goals in Japan was to take lots and lots of pictures of Game centers.
The other thing most of my close friends know about me is that I suffer from an ever so special-snowflake syndrome called social phobia. Wikipedia, being the eternal bringer of knowledge describes this as “intense fear in social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life.” (Er, it’s social anxiety, but many people think it’s just different shades of the same thing) Social phobia, specifically refers to an intense fear of being embarrassed.
This is kind of hard to explain to normal people. The reaction I usually get is “oh, well everyone’s kind of like that.” And it’s true. Anxiety helps us function, it has ever since prehistory, but allow me to elaborate a little bit. In the states, dealing with social phobia has impacted the way I act tremendously. Most of my available energy is spent mitigating and obsessing over every interaction I have with someone, wondering if it left me looking weird, or strange, and honestly makes me look more socially awkward than I am. If you’ve had a conversation with me, and especially if I don’t know you very well, you’ve seen the effects of it in some form. Recently, I discovered that when I’m put into situations that are really high stress for me, I suffer from a random stutter and selective mutism. Frequently there were times where I would try to one person in particular, and I would literally be unable to voice anything to them.
You can imagine how well this translates to a country where I barely speak the language, and know that my hobby is by and large social taboo, and the people are known for being pretty racist.
It doesn’t go well.
So, the theme of the week has been, “people are exceedingly nice to me, and I’m terrible about thanking them” I’ve been trying to visit clubs and stuff, and it just hasn’t been going well. I keep trying to talk about stuff I like, and I just can’t find the words, and I talk to fast, and then I get nervous and I can’t focus on anything anyone is saying, and so 90% of my conversations are just stammered apologies and the only word I have to describe how I feel is impotent. It feels fucking terrible being illiterate and unable to communicate in any way. I feel like such an ass in every conversation I’ve had lately.
Despite all of this, every person I know seems to go out of their way to talk and be nice to me. This is the sort of thing I know I need to focus on, but in the end, I just feel like I’m burdening them unnecessarily.
This has been my biggest struggle, and it’s made me want to give it up. It’s definitely made me act like a hiki, especially around the other dorm students, but I guess it’s just one more thing to overcome.