Welcome To Hell: Living As A Socially Anxious Introvert In Ghana
I have something doctors called “social anxiety” (Or I haven’t been diagnosed but I have that). I’ve been like that every since I was a kid and people have unfortunately called me “shy” and “anti-social”.
I’m not of those things. It’s not that I don’t like going out and hanging out. It’s just that the way my brain works, hanging out with groups of people for a long period of time is energy draining. My idea of a fun night is being home alone, sipping on juice and reading a book/watching a good movie.
Unfortunately, society won’t let me be great and leave me alone and so I have to partake in social activities which twist and turn my soul and make feel like life is sometimes a living hell.
Let’s be honest: Accra can sometimes be hostile. The first time I drove in the city, my heart rate was so elevated and I was so sweaty, you could probably get a bucket full. People don’t give a chance.
Kamikaze taxi drivers and maniacal trotro drivers do not help to calm nerves when driving through Accra. Lack of proper driving, frequent use of car horns, pedestrians walking ON the road instead of the sidewalk do nothing to help ease my anxiety.
So what do I even go out? Oh yeah, because I have a job and sometimes meeting people is a requirement.
Listen, I would love to have meeting over Skype instead of physical meetings but not everyone can afford that luxury.
Sometimes I attend some tech events around the city to get a feel of what is happening in technology in Ghana. Normally, I would love to slink away after events and just go crawl in bed and recharge but that seems like a social no no and so I force myself to stick around and engage in conversations with people.
It’s exhausting. Group conversations are my kryponite. I just can’t
Being socially anxious makes me self aware about a lot of things. Yes, I do wonder if people are judging me about how I look and how I talk.
It’s not all bad. I’ve been getting better at managing my anxiety. But I’m still who I am. I’m just getting better as masking it.
It’s been quite a journey. Living in a country that seems to thrive on social gatherings don’t help me much but I’ve adapted. I still struggle with social speaking, engaging in conversations and all that stuff that “normal” people do.