If you’ve met me, odds are that you would say that I’m a social person, but did you know that I have social anxiety?
To most people going away on holiday with friends is exciting and it really was for me, until a few days before I was set to go to Budapest. The truth is when we had to check in – PANIC! I really wanted to cancel my tickets, stay at home and paint. For me it was not the thought of going to a different country (I love travelling) or even flying. It was spending time with people that was overwhelming. It wasn’t that I was spending time with people I didn’t like or even strangers. I was going with people I have known for years and my friends who up until that moment I was excited to see.
I have often had these moments. It is the reason why I sometimes cancel plans or make excuses to leave early. I am yet to fully understand why it comes but when it does the single thought that runs through my head is, ‘I can’t do it.’ Most days I am completely fine, but there are days that I cannot be around people (anyone)/ am unable to hold or start conversations (with anyone).
During my panic about Budapest, a friend of mine reminded me of my resolution to open myself up to new experiences. So instead of cancelling my tickets, I got on a plane.
Looking back now, I’m really glad that for the first time I didn’t cave and cancel – I really fell in love with the city and want to spend more time there. Lots of architecture, thermal baths, themed cafes and it’s not a busy city.
I did have a lot of anxiety on the first day, it was hard, but I still explored the city and I appreciated the beauty of it. It’s difficult to talk to people when my anxiety is so high but I am proud that I didn’t run away from conversation, or from meeting new people.
Day 2 was a lot easier. My anxiety went down so I was able to relax and I enjoy my company and absolutely loved my time at the thermal baths. The strange thing I have always found about my anxiety is that it isn’t constant.
Social anxiety is incredibly overlooked, which is why I decided to write about it. I have only ever met one other person who has it, but I imagine that other people do experience it, it’s just scary to admit it (I was really hesitant to post this). So to anyone who experiences it, you are not the only one who has these moments. I know how hard it is, but from someone who has been working on managing their anxiety: don’t let it stop you from meeting new people or having new experiences.
For those who want to see some more awesome places in Budapest:
Fisherman’s Bastion – view from the city is amazing at sunset
St.Steven’s Basilica – go up to the top and see the view. Students take your card you get a discount. Free to go in, money to go up. Szechenyi Bath – thermal baths. Advice: you want two towels. One that you take around with you and one that you use after to shower. Don’t take your phone with you unless it’s waterproof. Take flipflops.
Other things: walk around it’s all pretty close together and there are loads of really cool cafes so stay away from the Costa/ Starbucks that you can get anywhere. Everyone there seems to know English, but they love it when you speak some Hungarian even if what you say doesn’t fully make sense.