My journey in Middle Earth was coming to an end because I was bored and not finding the enjoyment anymore. I had my losses and frustrations, but tried to hold on as much as I could. The feeling of once again being cut off from society was starting to eat at me. Then came some hope.

A friend of mine had joined a group called Ironhead and wanted to know if I would accompany them on a raid. I had never raided before and was terrified of being the weakest link. As we established, I was not the greatest by any means. Once again, I was put into a situation where I knew no one and was terrified of having to interact with the group.

As everyone was interacting in voice chat, I sat quiet not wanting to draw attention to myself. I had experienced some sketchy things from others on the server so I had learned that talking in voice chat was not a good thing. Once I finish this journey, I will explore those situations a bit more in depth. I felt isolated, alone, and panicked that everyone was judging every move that I made.


SHOT BY JULIEN TSUJIMOTO

After that first run, I was invited to accompany them on more and more things. I guess I was good enough to hang out with these people who raided on a weekly basis. Eventually, I would move away from the Guardians and become a part of Ironhead. Slowly, I became comfortable with those that I played with and was able to interact more. Not only was I apart of the group, but I started to learn more about them in a personal way.

The thing with social anxiety is that sometimes it triggers at random times. Even though I was apart of the group and joining in on the activities, I felt still like an outsider. I constantly felt that no one liked me or that I was the outsider who was being left out. Never was given a reason to feel this way, but when you have a disorder you have no control of these feelings.

This came to a head when we had so many members that not every one could attend the events every week. I seemed to always be the one who was asked to sit out. Now in retroflection, that was not the case, but I felt it at the time. A Loremaster is a nice class to have, but it is not essential. Healers, tanks, and DPS classes are the most important. Loremaster is a weird hybrid class that does a lot of tasks, but none of them well.

Paranoia with social anxiety is a real thing. There is always this inkling in the back of your head that people are talking bad about you or intentionally dismissing you as nothing. It is a hard thing to shake. Some may say that it is just a self-confidence issue, but I think it is deeper. There are some things that have happened in my life to make me not trust people, which has definitely had an impact in my adult life. Replaying those events is something that I do constantly. I remember events that happened years ago and they still affect me to this day.


SHOT BY DANNY OWENS

Ironhead was the best of my Middle Earth days, and even though it is no more, I still think of it as a great time in my life. I spent hours with that kin talking about life, having a life, and defeating some of the hardest bosses in the land. Were we the best? No, but it did not matter. We were having fun together and that is all that mattered.  

Jenn

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