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Stigma Fighters : Melissa Flickinger

Last Saturday I attended a birthday party for a friend of mine. At first, I was excited at the idea of a night out without the kids. But, as it got closer to go I started to panic. My thoughts ran wild- a new place, people I don’t know, the inevitable dancing that resembles that of Elaine from Seinfeld…all of that made my anxiety rise. But the one thing that scared me the most was the awkward conversation I knew would eventually occur. The conversation where I get distracted, unable to follow along and then blurt out a random thought like a five year old kid.
Sure enough it happened. My husband was talking to our neighbor (a man who in our five plus years of being neighbors, I’ve exchanged pleasantries only). I caught a part of the conversation and drifted to several thoughts. He said something about having squirrels chewing up his bushes. I said, “My dad used to have problems with squirrels getting in his pool too.” There it was. I will forever obsess about that statement about squirrels. A completely random sentence, which I am sure that man has long forgotten, will be burned in my brain for all eternity. Squirrels.

Social anxiety sucks. The constant worry that whatever I say or do will be criticized by everyone around me. Awkward conversations replaying over and over in my mind, like a skipping record. Couple that with the ramblings of a distracted mind and it’s the recipe for disaster.

But hey, fun party.

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IMG_116171743927291Melissa is studying psychology and creative writing through University of Iowa.

Melissa can be found on Twitter