Social Anxiety.. where do I start?!
Just so we are clear: this post isn’t about clinical facts. Its only my experience with having it my whole life and figuring out how to cope with it. I don’t have any great advice on how to help… but I think Im getting better. Sometimes things that used to be unthinkable for me are now bearable.. so theres that 🙂
It started as far back, as 10-12 is years old, me hearing “she is just shy, let her warm up you should see her at home she is the life of the party” but the truth is, I was never shy, even when everyone thought I was, and told me I was, I really wasnt. I just didnt want to be at the birthday party, or at the swim lesson, or anywhere I had to talk to people in a social setting!
#1. Confidence and Social Anxiety are not in the same lane. (for me) I am a confident person, I don’t lack self esteem I am not insecure, but I very much have a hard time walking into a social event, a business meeting, my kids school.. the mall, the list is endless. Having anxiety doesn’t have any relation to self confidence (for me personally).
I still go, I still live my life but I have to mentally prepare myself to do it.
#2 I am extremely awkward in social situations. I like to call it “Word barf.” Like to the point of walking away backwards because I might die if i think about what I just said to the person.. omg. I have so many awful stories of how awkward I am. When I don’t know people, and they talk to me at dinner parties or my kids school functions or whatever (I was obviously
asked forced to be there, I wouldn’t ever choose to be at a dinner party) the conversation shouldn’t be weird , but I make it that way, I will word barf some sort of overly personal tid-bit of information that is ridiculous and they don’t need to know.. TMI times a zillion. I have actually told a woman for no reason I pee in the shower. WHHHHHHYYYYY.?!?! WHY do I say these things??? She just stares at me, and says, “oh, wow ok,,, ” thats when I back away slowly knowing that convo is OVER-and signal my husband. ITS TIME TO GO.
Its truly humiliating.
But everyone is different and maybe my social anxiety is different than yours.
#3 I am an extrovert in pretty much every way. UNLESS I HAVE TO ENTER A ROOM I love traveling, leaving the house to go on all kinds of adventures. I love trying new restaurants, seeing new places.. I will dance, sing, do all the things normal people do BUT, if I can’t pronounce something on the menu, I won’t order it. EVEN if I really really want to I can’t bring myself to order the dang dish. Or walking down to a hotel lobby, everything in me fights against myself when I have to walk down to a hotel lobby.. Its so stupid and I hate that its a dibiliataing feeling of not really having a reason of why I wouldn’t just ask the waiter how to pronounce the dish or simply walking into a hotel lobby. .
Trust me I know how dumb this sounds.
#4 I have to be prepared I mentally prepare myself for events or meetings or birthday parties,family functions, weeks in advance, I might say Im winging it, but I have lists of plans, things I can talk about, start to finish in my head.
Its to help me get through it.
(I used to sweat so bad in high school, walking from class to class made me nervous for no reason. – I had to put paper towels in my armpits and walk from class to class then pull them out! I was always nervous one would fall out and someone would think i was stuffing my bra! LOL
#5 Eye contact I want to talk to you, I really do! BUT if you make eye contact for too long I will seriously start to sweat! weird huh?? When I opened a retail boutique awhile back, It was a HUGE life lesson and extremely hard for me to talk to people one on one. I know it maybe hard to believe anything is ever wrong with me because I CAN fake being fine and totally normal and have a super great conversations but its SO hard because in my head Im panicking not to say something super embarrassing and personal! So at the end of the day I would be exhausted emotionally. But I did it and Im actually proud I was able to work retail for 5 years and successfully not have people think I was a total freak. hahaha awkward yes, freak no. 🙂
SO to make a long story long:
I was medicated for it in my early 20’s, but I didnt like how the medicine made me feel, I wasn’t the same ME while on it, so I went off anxiety meds about a year later and decided to fight against it myself and teach myself how to cope. I think social anxiety by our peers is often not recognized, people that have it are often thought of as shy, bitchy, loners, weird, you know.. all those things.. but truthfully we are just making our way through life with a brain that won’t stop planning over analyzing, thinking thinking thinking.. we love the same, we laugh the same, we just can’t party the same and be social the same, but we will word barf embarrassing things.. or maybe thats just me.
I hope this make even just one person feel a little normal 🙂