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Social Anxiety & MMOs

I don’t know if you guys knew this about me, but I have some serious social anxiety. It’s something so major in my life that I thought I’d share my experiences with it because I’ve very recently realized that a lot of people don’t understand it.

It’s really hard for me to make friends. I hate small talk and I hate having to learn about a person, I’d much rather skip ahead to the part where we already know each other and they realize that I am awkward a hell and can’t handle social situations. I can’t handle situations where there are like more than 2 people… Especially if there are going to be new people there. I get so nervous that I will be sick – literally. Over the summer, I decided to help with my daughter’s cheer team and ended up being the coach. Something that I am terrified of – not because of children (I LOVE working with children. They’re great and real. I love authentic people and children just ooze authenticity) but because of the moms. After the first meeting, I came home and I cried.  It was so scary. I sat there and listened to everyone talk while we were waiting for people to show up and I realized that it is going to be really hard to make friends in Alabama – because I don’t have a lot in common with most of these women… and because I’m not good at social situations. Now, I do have to say that I’ve made some friends because of that cheer leading experience and I did have a lot of fun doing it — after I got to know some of the people.

The other thing I have a really hard time with, it phone calls. I panic. PANIC. If I have to call someone, it generally takes me at least 15 minutes to an hour to work up the courage to call them. (Just enough time to imagine all the ways that the phone call will go) If someone calls me … you know that feeling you get when you’re on a roller coaster and you’re at the top of a very steep drop? That’s the feeling I get when someone calls me. It’s not fun. It’s unexpected. It makes me want to cry and throw up at the same time. It really kills me. Once I’m on the phone, I’m absolutely fine… it’s just the getting me on the phone part that is terrible. Pretty much it is just better for me if you text me. It’s easier for me to handle. It’s not nearly as scary.

Now, I’m telling you this because I have a kind of amusing story about how this social anxiety of mine gets in the way of my gaming life.

I play FFXIV and over the summer I took a little break… you know, moving and stuff. Well, I recently resubbed and got back into it.

I main as a White Mage (WHM) which is a healer for those of you who aren’t big on FF/MMOs … (a basic raid group is 2 tanks, 2 healers, and 4 damage dealers or DPS and a basic dungeon party is 1 tank, 1 healer, 2 DPS) Anyway, I was in this raid group that I already didn’t want to be in because I’m not big on douchey players, but it was still in the beginning stages of being put together… Which means that my anxiety was through the roof. On top of my normal anxiety I also get Healer Anxiety. I feel like that’s pretty normal … you get nervous when you have new content or whatever. Well, I get it for new content, new people – especially new people I have to continue to play with.  Soooooo… I am dealing with the social aspect of my anxiety, the new people I have to deal with, and the healer anxiety, new content, and a douchey raid leader who pretty much didn’t want me there in the first place.  I felt so sick to my stomach that I couldn’t handle it. Also, on top of all that stuff, I had to be in Teamspeak … Let’s just add some voip to the mix, you’ll be fine! I was not fine. I had to focus on new content, new players, not tunnel vision-ing, keeping players up, mechanics AND talk in TS. It was terrible.  Long, boring story short, I quit the raid group and no longer have to deal with a douchey raid leader.

((When I put a raid group together, I don’t feel like I have nearly as much anxiety about it. I think it’s because, generally, I have played with the people before, know their play style and I know that they’re not jerks. ))

It was also interesting to read on the FFXIV subreddit that there are other healers that get healer anxiety… and there are the douchey players that get on there and tell you that if you’re anxious over healing that you need to reevaluate your life. Newsflash, some of us are just anxious. It has nothing to do with our life choices… it’s just how our brain works. 

Anyway, the point of this story is, that when you talk about social anxiety it can seem almost comical that someone would get so stressed out about such a silly thing but it is really a big deal for some of us. I can tell you that sometimes it’s the most frustrating thing in the entire world… but sometimes, when you have a friend that understands your anxiety, it isn’t so bad. So, if you have a friend that has it… take the time to nurture their anxiety because it’ll mean a lot more to them than you realize. Chances are that they want to see you but might need a little push or a little nurturing to come out of their shell.

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