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Social anxiety meets sister's wedding ceremony..

Skye

Redshirt
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#1
I don't know if this will sound like me ranting or anything but given how most people in my life are either not INTPs or simply too extroverted to 'get me', I really need to vent about this somewhere and this seems like the place.

I have social anxiety..not exactly the kind that makes you throw up due to stress but I can say that there are many times I can get quite close to it too, depending on the situation. So my problem is this:

My sister is getting married on October the 15th. Prior to this, I've never ever before experienced a huge type of social gathering in which my family and I had to be the center of the attention, this is actually the first time I'm going to endure all this amount of extreme and forced socializing, all these crowds, the sounds and the party after the ceremony. I've been to several weddings but never as part of those who would receive too much attention. My sister is going to have an 'open door' kind of marriage..and by open I mean that nearly half of our town along with people outside of it will be invited. Several of them are people I don't even like and most people, I don't feel comfortable with not even for 8 minutes. I'm happy for my sister, don't get me wrong, this isn't about how I feel for her getting married but rather for how I feel about such social gatherings in general..

During the last days before the wedding, our house will be packed and constantly into a preparation frenzy. At the wedding day, our house will also be packed with a bunch of people. After the wedding, we have the 'party', more like this stupid show kind of party people have after they marry. Me being part of the family means that not only can I not just 'avoid' the wedding, but I will have to constantly be around my people in case anyone needs assistance with something. My only chances at temporary escape will be the occasional visits to the bathroom..I'm already stressed out by this, in fact, a few days ago I even had a nightmare about the wedding day.
I can already feel myself being burned out by anxiety and by the time the wedding day comes, I will have little to no energy left in me..All I want is for this freaking thing to be over and for me to take the next weekend and go to the neighboring town, to some hotel or something and just lay on the bed alone for 2 days..no socializing, no crowds, no sounds, no nothing. :mad:
 

Haim

Worlds creator
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#3
You will be fine, you might not like it but nothing more.
It is not like you are the one that is getting married.
 

Grayman

Team Ignorant
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#4
Weddings are so fun. Whenever my family goes to them I get the whole house to myself!
 

washti

tellurian
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#5
There are known cases when if person really dont want some event to happen - their suddenly get sick or have an accident. And it didnt occurs as a conscious action of sabbotage. Organism play this avoidance trick when you are desperate. Maybe it can happen to you? You are already dreaming about this bed in hotel. Perhaps visualisation of hospital bed can put things more in motion.
 

Skye

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#6
You will be fine, you might not like it but nothing more.
It is not like you are the one that is getting married.
No I'm not but I'm a family member which puts me in the center of the whole thing whether I want this or not and trust me..my sister isn't half as stressed out as I am. In fact, I'd say she is barely even stressed. She has control of the whole thing plus she is an extrovert and a very social one too, so the whole thing is basically part of her nature, unlike me.
 

Skye

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#7
Attack the whole thing head-on. Don't try to hide. Take control.
That's what needs to happen yes but I guess the stress has your mind getting all numb x.x You know what stresses me out the most? Being a hardcore introvert with social anxiety means that I lose my energy in a light speed around crowds..imagine the wedding day when I'll be surrounded for basically the entire day and the worst is the wedding party with all those sounds and crowds and forced dancing,etc.. My fear is that my energy bar will be too freaking low for me to function like a healthy human being even before we enter the place for the wedding party :facepalm:
 

QuickTwist

Alive - Born Anew
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#8
Look up tricks for keeping conversations short and sweet.
 

Lurker

Is that Len...AGH!
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#9
I will elaborate later, but I think it may be healthy to fake injury, and skip the wedding. If your social anxiety is as you describe, take care of yourself. Skip it.

What I'm seeing here -- faint and unintentional -- is yet another case of psychological problems not counting as illnesses. Well, seems like the anxiety stems from your brain (an organ!); therefore, you are ill.

Because most people will not understand or respect that, you must be firm and advocate for yourself. Don't wreck your nerves to please your loved ones.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
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#10
^Yeah, it is interesting how social anxiety is not actually taken seriously when push comes to shove. There are people who may be fully aware of the fact that it is a serious problem for you, but it will guaranteed be used against you if you fail to meet their/their family’s expectations. That’s it - end of empathy. I can see the OP has Greece as location, so the pressure that comes with a potentially fully Greek wedding would be enormous. I understand what OP is going through.

I come from a northern European culture, so I never experienced this kind of family pressure when growing up. You are respected for your choice to opt in or out of events, but now that I live in a culture where there are a lot of southern European influences, I’m definitely feeling the pressure to perform some sort of role, and there is no choice of opting out. The thought of Christmas has now become my worst nightmare, there is nothing enjoyable about it. All people seem to care about is that I’m a good doog and do what they expect. I am very happy to meet these people any other time, when there are not so many of them around. But that is not counted, because [insert official event] is the measure stick by which your worth is gauged.

A wedding is tricky though, because it is so important for the couple, being (hypothetically) a one-time event. Perhaps OP could negotiate some sort of deal with their sister to only be there for the crucial parts? I mean, if I knew my sister was so affected by social anxiety on my wedding day (not that that will ever be an option), to be absolutely honest - I would not want her to be there, because knowing she would be suffering that much would just be unfair on her.

If I was the sort of sister that expected more, I would at least do everything to make it easier for her, and if it was so bad she could not attend, I would probably be sad, but only like you are sad if someone close to you ended up in hospital on your wedding day - you would feel for them, not for yourself.

It just surprises me how selfish people can be, and how these events really bring it out of them. There is no real love in this world.
 

Pyropyro

Magos Biologis
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#11
If the weddings in your part of the world is similar to ours then it should be scheduled as follows:

I. Wedding Ceremony:

Requirement to be there: High, this is the crucial part of the wedding. Don't skip it.
Social exposure: Low, you just need to sit solemnly while looking at the rites
Suggestions: If you're pressed to have an entourage role, I suggest having something that's not that stressful like a bridesmaid.

I. Wedding Pictorial:
Requirement to be there: High, the newlyweds need their photographs.
Social Exposure: High. Yeah you have to take pictures with your family and friends
Suggestions: One trick I do is that I just look at the camera lens. It blots out the other people in the wedding and helps me look good at the camera at the same time.

III. Wedding Reception:
Requirement to be there: Low, it's just food and dancing and stuff. The bride will probably fail to notice you.
Social Exposure: Dangerously high. Expect to be called to dance or do wedding games and stuff
Suggestions: You could totally skip this part. I think your sis will understand and will also benefit her since it is one less family member to monitor/entertain.
 

onesteptwostep

Think.. Be... ..buzz buzz :)
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#12
Look to Game of Thrones for inspiration.
 
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#13
No I'm not but I'm a family member which puts me in the center of the whole thing whether I want this or not and trust me..my sister isn't half as stressed out as I am. In fact, I'd say she is barely even stressed. She has control of the whole thing plus she is an extrovert and a very social one too, so the whole thing is basically part of her nature, unlike me.
At my sisters wedding I said what I was doing and that things were great how about you, to literally everyone who asked. I also smiled. Apart from that I wouldn't panic.
 

Skye

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#14
If the weddings in your part of the world is similar to ours then it should be scheduled as follows:

I. Wedding Ceremony:

Requirement to be there: High, this is the crucial part of the wedding. Don't skip it.
Social exposure: Low, you just need to sit solemnly while looking at the rites
Suggestions: If you're pressed to have an entourage role, I suggest having something that's not that stressful like a bridesmaid.

I. Wedding Pictorial:
Requirement to be there: High, the newlyweds need their photographs.
Social Exposure: High. Yeah you have to take pictures with your family and friends
Suggestions: One trick I do is that I just look at the camera lens. It blots out the other people in the wedding and helps me look good at the camera at the same time.

III. Wedding Reception:
Requirement to be there: Low, it's just food and dancing and stuff. The bride will probably fail to notice you.
Social Exposure: Dangerously high. Expect to be called to dance or do wedding games and stuff
Suggestions: You could totally skip this part. I think your sis will understand and will also benefit her since it is one less family member to monitor/entertain.
It's very similar to yours yes. Except I can't avoid any of them. My family doesn't know about my issues, I've been hiding them for years, not to mention they wouldn't get it and what they would get, they would use to treat me with pity which I will not tolerate. :l I can't skip it. The only choice is if I suddenly got sick with high fever. Thanks for your suggestions though, they are indeed helpful for such occasions, it's just that in my case, being the sister and all, it's impossible to apply them :l
 

Skye

Redshirt
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Joined
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Messages
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#15
^Yeah, it is interesting how social anxiety is not actually taken seriously when push comes to shove. There are people who may be fully aware of the fact that it is a serious problem for you, but it will guaranteed be used against you if you fail to meet their/their family’s expectations. That’s it - end of empathy. I can see the OP has Greece as location, so the pressure that comes with a potentially fully Greek wedding would be enormous. I understand what OP is going through.

I come from a northern European culture, so I never experienced this kind of family pressure when growing up. You are respected for your choice to opt in or out of events, but now that I live in a culture where there are a lot of southern European influences, I’m definitely feeling the pressure to perform some sort of role, and there is no choice of opting out. The thought of Christmas has now become my worst nightmare, there is nothing enjoyable about it. All people seem to care about is that I’m a good doog and do what they expect. I am very happy to meet these people any other time, when there are not so many of them around. But that is not counted, because [insert official event] is the measure stick by which your worth is gauged.

A wedding is tricky though, because it is so important for the couple, being (hypothetically) a one-time event. Perhaps OP could negotiate some sort of deal with their sister to only be there for the crucial parts? I mean, if I knew my sister was so affected by social anxiety on my wedding day (not that that will ever be an option), to be absolutely honest - I would not want her to be there, because knowing she would be suffering that much would just be unfair on her.

If I was the sort of sister that expected more, I would at least do everything to make it easier for her, and if it was so bad she could not attend, I would probably be sad, but only like you are sad if someone close to you ended up in hospital on your wedding day - you would feel for them, not for yourself.

It just surprises me how selfish people can be, and how these events really bring it out of them. There is no real love in this world.
Thanks for your reply! You are absolutely right. Greek celebrations are insanely extroverted, just like most of the culture and life here. Nobody knows of my social anxiety, they only see an introverted and very reserved person who rarely smiles, laughs aloud or has many people to hang out with...and believe just by seeing that, everyone often treats me as if I'm a poor pathetic shy girl who came from another planet..I don't fit in the lifestyle here. I have never told my family about my social anxiety, they wouldn't understand and it would only make things worse and more pitiful for me. The expectations in the feast will be countless. Imagine all the amount of stupid things people will tell me, the amount of silly chats I will have to endure, being forced to take pictures AND to dance (and note that since it's my sister's wedding, that means we're extra 'happy' so we do extra dancing..I can't skip that either because if I don't dance a lot, it means I'm being 'weird' on my sister's day)..I absolutely hate every single thing I will go through. I'm sorry that you also feel pressured now, I totally feel you. The only thing I actually enjoy from Christmas or Easter is the spiritual part, because that's the only thing I like. I love going to a tiny church here and sitting through the Christmas liturgy. All the other 'extra' stuff, is just a ridiculous and pathetic show for the consumers and the loudmouths for me. :l
 

Skye

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Joined
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Greece
#16
I will elaborate later, but I think it may be healthy to fake injury, and skip the wedding. If your social anxiety is as you describe, take care of yourself. Skip it.

What I'm seeing here -- faint and unintentional -- is yet another case of psychological problems not counting as illnesses. Well, seems like the anxiety stems from your brain (an organ!); therefore, you are ill.

Because most people will not understand or respect that, you must be firm and advocate for yourself. Don't wreck your nerves to please your loved ones.
You are spot on right. I agree with everything you said. I haven't told my family about my social anxiety..well actually it's PTSD WITH social anxiety as I was diagnosed (secretly), because I know for a fact that nobody will really 'get' it and the few things they might understand will make them pity me which I can't stand at all, so I chose not to tell them. The only thing I have allowed myself to be clear about is my introversion. They know I'm different than them (most in my family are extroverts) and they know I can get quite passive-aggressive if I feel pressured to do extroverted stuff, but they don't know the whole social anxiety and my difficulty to perform such overly social tasks and they wouldn't get it either. Where I live, being an introvert alone is considered some sort of mild illness. Let alone telling them I have social anxiety..
 

oxyjen

not today, satan
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#17
Are you in the wedding party?

At the ceremony, everyone is focused on the bride and groom. You can stand or sit, depending on your role, and blend in. At the reception, if alcohol works to relax, imbibe and stay at your table with people you feel comfortable with.

I don't know if Greek weddings differ in a lot of ways to American, but it can be easy to 'slip out' at receptions, or have an excuse to do a solo job like helping bring gifts to someone's car or whatnot.

I have a touch of social anxiety but likely to a different degree than you, and without the PTSD. Anticipation is (usually) worse than the actual event, and there will likely be more opportunities for solo escape and retreat than you'd think.

If you are hosting visitors at your house during this whole time, that's usually worse than the wedding. I'm not sure if that was the case in your situation though.
 

Skye

Redshirt
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Joined
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Greece
#18
Are you in the wedding party?

At the ceremony, everyone is focused on the bride and groom. You can stand or sit, depending on your role, and blend in. At the reception, if alcohol works to relax, imbibe and stay at your table with people you feel comfortable with.

I don't know if Greek weddings differ in a lot of ways to American, but it can be easy to 'slip out' at receptions, or have an excuse to do a solo job like helping bring gifts to someone's car or whatnot.

I have a touch of social anxiety but likely to a different degree than you, and without the PTSD. Anticipation is (usually) worse than the actual event, and there will likely be more opportunities for solo escape and retreat than you'd think.

If you are hosting visitors at your house during this whole time, that's usually worse than the wedding. I'm not sure if that was the case in your situation though.
I will be on everything, ceremony and party. You might be right on the whole anticipation thing. That's what my mind does when it's anxious, it tends to overthink all sorts of bad scenarios even weeks prior to the expected event. During the party my only escape will be to the bathroom but the worst is the whole 'go dance, go take pictures, smile all the time,etc..' kind of thing. Since I'll have to tolerate a bunch of people in my own house earlier, I will be at least exhausted by the time the wedding party takes place, that's part of my concern. I'm worried about the level of energy I'll have by then and if I will be able to perform my role well and not make it too obvious that I'm one step away from falling on the floor lol
 

oxyjen

not today, satan
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#19
I will be on everything, ceremony and party. You might be right on the whole anticipation thing. That's what my mind does when it's anxious, it tends to overthink all sorts of bad scenarios even weeks prior to the expected event. During the party my only escape will be to the bathroom but the worst is the whole 'go dance, go take pictures, smile all the time,etc..' kind of thing. Since I'll have to tolerate a bunch of people in my own house earlier, I will be at least exhausted by the time the wedding party takes place, that's part of my concern. I'm worried about the level of energy I'll have by then and if I will be able to perform my role well and not make it too obvious that I'm one step away from falling on the floor lol
Don't be afraid to tell little white lies to enable your times of retreat--

"Oh wow, I am so hot from all this dancing! I'm going to step outside for a bit to cool off and get some fresh air."

Cue being outside on my phone for fifteen minutes to get away.

Just remember it's ok to be the quiet one. It's ok to have time to yourself. If you find yourself fixating on the dread of the upcoming wedding, remind yourself it's only one weekend and it will be over. You can do it. You may even enjoy yourself (I'm usually amazed at how these things normally suck less than I think, even when I have to deal with a bunch of annoying extroverts).
 

Skye

Redshirt
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#20
Don't be afraid to tell little white lies to enable your times of retreat--

"Oh wow, I am so hot from all this dancing! I'm going to step outside for a bit to cool off and get some fresh air."

Cue being outside on my phone for fifteen minutes to get away.

Just remember it's ok to be the quiet one. It's ok to have time to yourself. If you find yourself fixating on the dread of the upcoming wedding, remind yourself it's only one weekend and it will be over. You can do it. You may even enjoy yourself (I'm usually amazed at how these things normally suck less than I think, even when I have to deal with a bunch of annoying extroverts).
Yeah that's what I think of doing too xD I'll probably spend several minutes to cool off lol. I try to think it will only be a couple of days so I won't freak out. Thanks for your help :)
 
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