Over the years, my anxiety and TBI has really worn me down. I used to be a very witty, opinionated, and outgoing person. Now, I am socially awkward. What usually happens is someone says hi to me, then I say hi back and just stand there awkwardly while the person is asking me questions that I can’t understand because my anxious brain is yelling at me. I’m serious. It’s like my anxiety is so loud in my brain, that I can’t hear what the other person is saying. Which leaves the other person looking at me strangely because I didn’t answer her/him.
The other day, my mom and I went into town to look for some running shoes for me because I had signed up for a running group. I went into the store and discovered that it was only me in the store. I hate being the only one because that means the people have nothing else better to do than talk to me. The lady asked me if I wanted anything and I told her I was looking for some shoes.
Then she asked me what I was dreading. “What kind of shoe are you looking for?” Now this means that she is going to be helping me find the shoes. We have made a connection and she isn’t going to leave me alone. I know that may sound mean, but it is honestly what I’m thinking. She ended up fitting me for a type of she so I had to take my shoes off and walk around.
Before I got up, I had to put Keen in a down stay, and he begrudgingly followed my direction. I got up and was ready to do the walk around when she started asking questions about Keen and what he does. My favorite topic. Now, I am glad that I’m the only person because I can really explain everything. She used to be a paramedic and had always wondered how a dog could help anybody.
I explained how you can scent train a dog to alert you to low/high blood sugar, anxiety, and seizures (I think there are a few more that I can’t think of). I the. Explained that a dog can be trained to do mobility tasks and to help the deaf and blind. Then, (one of my most favorite responses) she said that she is having to deal with a lot of anxiety and had no idea that a dog could be trained to help her. She said that she had been trying to get an emotional support dog because she thought she didn’t qualify for a service dog.
I have found that the only times I’m not socially awkward is when the topic is on service dogs. Mainly because that is usually the only topic people bring up with me theses days. The small talk is what I’m terrible at, or the questions cashiers ask me. Sometimes I think I’m going deaf because I come home and can’t understand anybody, but then I remember that I come from a long line of mumblers.
The pride I feel when I successfully completed a conversation lasts for quite a while. It has to because it does not happen very often.