Since I have social anxiety, I thought that it would be a *fantastic* idea to join the Model UN club at my school. MUN is a program in which simulations of actual United Nations conferences are conducted, and the whole point of it is to talk, giving speeches and cooperating with other “countries”, or students. So my helpful brain told me that it would help with my social anxiety and speaking skills.
As you probably can tell by now, it did not exactly work out.
During the whole conference, (which lasted three days and fifteen hours) I was absolutely miserable. I didn’t talk the whole time- I just nodded, smiled, and offered various affirmations for whatever my partner said. Throughout those horrible hours, a nauseous feeling in my stomach persisted in giving me extreme dread. I was terrified that someone would talk to me, but I didn’t want anyone to ignore me and just talk to my partner, as they so often did. I stayed in my cushioned chair and scrolled through my phone, or admired the way other students talked so fluidly and with so much self-confidence. Boredom and a fierce headache from a lack of sleep (we arrived home at 11:00 PM) didn’t help.
Maybe the conference wouldn’t have been as boring to me if I’d talked but again, I have social anxiety. I was just about as ready to give a speech as a fish was ready to turn into lightbulb and fly.
Even an average person would be nervous in front of TWO HUNDRED immaculately dressed, intensely competitive, serious students.
But I didn’t talk when I could’ve, either- there were many times I could’ve tried to talk, when we weren’t giving actual speeches, but I couldn’t bring myself to get past the lump in my throat or the rock in my stomach.
Afterwards, guilt settled in, thanks to my perceived failures at the conference. It was, to sum it up, completely awful. My attempt to make myself “better” backfired, because my faults became all too clear to me.
Right now, I’m OK, though. “Happy” once again:) No, really actually genuinely happy, not just smiling. It’s funny (not so funny) how bouts of depression can just strike and disappear, like lightning, but am I glad that it vanished quickly.
And while feeling better about myself, I’ve come to an agreement with myself. No matter how boring, how awful I found this conference, I’m going to try again next year. I know that I overreached this year and expected too much for my first conference, so I’m going to give MUN a chance to work its miracles on me again. I’m sure that MUN, or activities like it, will help me learn how to talk.
My lesson learned: I’ll try hard, but not too hard- and don’t I won’t be too hard on myself when I fall. You can’t conquer a mountain in one day, and if you leap too high, don’t be surprised when you fall down hard.