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Too depressed to go to your party

Here are messages Victoria Zerbst wishes she didn’t have to write

New year party New year party

I hate getting invitations. It’s not just a party. It’s a 21st, a cool launch, a performance, or a luncheon with the girls because it’s been way too long. Turning up to these events is a sign of friendship and support. Not turning up is bad, especially if you can’t even express why.

I struggle through most social interactions. Spending even 40 minutes at a party consumes so much of my social energy that I often just have to ghost home. I leave without saying goodbye and hope nobody notices.

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‘Hanging out’ on campus is similar. Socialising for socialising’s sake makes me feel like a concrete-coated Muppet – thick, heavy and not even funny. I fumble over phrases when meeting new mates and resent the fact that creative networking is so dependent on social capital.

As if general social neurosis wasn’t enough, sometimes I get depressed as well. The last few months I haven’t been able to go to anything. If it’s not work, I can’t do it. I can’t even fathom the idea of going to see your show and making small talk in the lobby. I feel fake and fraudulent and I want everything to fuck off.

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And, to be honest, you wouldn’t even want me at your party. Not even a banging tune, like Panda by Desiigner, can lift me out of my heavy body.

Articulating social ineptitude is always hard. Admitting I have social anxiety gives me social anxiety. Unless I write an article. I don’t know why that helps.

Usually I don’t want to drop the D word in a conversation a few moments before someone’s party. It’s a D for downer. On many occasions I am no longer close enough to the person I am letting down to explain what’s really going on. In other cases, the alibi of being broadly “sick” is just much easier to sell.

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Performative extroversion is usually what helps me deal with social anxiety. With depression, nothing helps besides staying home in bed and missing out, and nobody wants to miss out. If you miss out on enough stuff, you stop being invited, and that’s worse.