I know I’m not the first blogger out there to write a post about my anxiety. And I also know I’m not the worst at dealing with it. Also that I’m most certainly not the best. But as with most of what you’ll reading this site, it’s my reality and it’s my truth. And here’s a little window into how I deal with it.
It’s a little ironic isn’t it? That as someone who describes herself as a lifestyle Blogger whose primary focus in relationships has anxiety in most social situations. I know I think I’m weird sometimes too. But it’s true. It’s a very real fact and something that I know I don’t struggle with alone.
I love people. I love relationships. I love the real and the authentic and the rawness of friendships. I crave it with all of my being. So why am I so afraid of it? Good question. The primary cause of my social anxiety is not that I don’t want to be with the people. People can be great. And living in community is part of God’s brilliant design. It’s mostly that I’m not sure I’ll know what to say. Or that I’ll say something completely embarrassing or offensive or just downright weird. I hate that feeling that people are laughing at me instead of with me. And that makes me uncomfortable.“oh my gosh did I just share too much?”Click To Tweet
You know how when you’re sitting in a room with a bunch of people and then someone asks a question, you answer, and now everyone is staring at you and all you can think is “oh my gosh did I just share too much?” Now you’re on your way down the rabbit hole of anxious thinking calling yourself things like awkward and weird and telling yourself that no one is ever going to ask you a question or even invite you again.
Now you’re reading into everyone’s body language and assuming that people are being weird with you even if they’re not. And all of a sudden you’re trapped in your web of negativity and anxiety, it’s hard to breathe and all you want to do is retreat. Yes. That is me in like 90% of my social encounters.
So how do I get through that? How do people somehow still peg me as a social person? Why do I sometimes get labeled extrovert when I clearly don’t feel that way on this inside? I fight my thoughts.
When my mind tells me “you’re so weird” I try to remind myself that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Proverbs 139:14).
When my mind tells me “no one likes you here” I remember that “I am loved” by the one true God. (Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:4, 1 John 8:8, 1 John 3:1, and so many more…).
When my mind tells me “go home, hide away” I try to remember that God says “when two or three gather before me, I am among them” (Matthew 18:20).
When my mind is telling me “you’re too anxious to handle this” i remember that God tells me to “cast all my anxieties on him” (1 Peter 5:7).The temporary symptoms are worth enduring to not miss out on another event I wanted to attend...Click To Tweet
It’s true. I feel super awkward and uncomfortable in front of people. My palms get clammy and sweaty. My pulse increases, My breathing becomes difficult. My chest tightens. And sometimes I even get lightheaded and dizzy. But these are temporary symptoms worth enduring so I don’t feel regret from missing out on one more thing I wanted to attend.
It helps to have a “safety” come with you to social events. For me is often my husband, or a close friend. That way even in a room where I know most of them, I feel like I have an escape if I ever needed it.
It helps to plan and prepare for how to get there so you’re not anxious about getting lost.
It helps to contact the hosts ahead of time and find out more of what to expect.Find out more of what to expect beforehand.Click To Tweet
And honestly it helps to just get through it. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve skipped because I was scared and uncomfortable and thought I wouldn’t know anyone. I feel so much regret for the things I missed out on and for hurting the people who asked me to come. My own anxiety isn’t worth the hurt it causes others when I bail. Sometimes just thinking about the commitment you made is enough to get you through the bout of anxiety and adjust yourself to new surroundings and different social settings.
From one anxious lady to another, step out of your shell. Be brave. Face your anxiety and tell it straight to its face that you are not going to let it take your best life away from you! Tell it to get out of your head and let you enjoy the party.Social Anxiety: It's All In My HeadClick To Tweet