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Let’s talk about social anxiety.

I am an extrovert and I get socially anxious sometimes. That’s a fact about me that not many people know. 

It’s a thing that has followed me for the last couple of years (I’m not sure when or how it was triggered), and when I have bad days or weeks I find it really hard to cope with meeting new people/friends/family.

I have had situations over the years when I couldn’t bear meeting with someone I promised to meet because of fear of being judged and of fear of looking like a failure, especially if I was crossing a more difficult period in my life.  I talked about my anxiety here and here.

And for a while, I didn’t recognise that was what I was doing, and that was the reason why I felt suddenly ill or compelled to make up a story not to go out, or not to go to a job interview or any other compromising social situation.

But recently, especially after spending some time on the MIND website for a project I am working on, I started to realise that it had a name and that other people have experienced it as well. I am not alone in feeling these feelings.

According to MIND, social anxiety is basically defined by extreme fear or anxiety triggered by social situations (such as parties, workplace, or any situation in which you have to talk to another person). And that was very hard for me to accept, because I am a very bubbly, positive person who loves to be around people. That is most days, and that’s what I am learning to embrace. Most days I love to be around people and socialise and some days I just don’t want to put myself out there. And that’s perfectly fine too.

It’s so hard sometimes to open up about all of this with my closest people. It’s so hard to talk about it, and open up and not feel like a failure because I feel the way I do, and not feel weak for admitting it.

I guess what I wanted to do today is say that if you are like me, and sometimes you get very anxious with being faced with people and fear judgment. You are not ALONE.

You are never alone. Even in your darkest hour. There is every possibility that someone else close to you has gone through something similar and can most likely understand what you are going through, rather than judge you.

I want to live you with a couple of links that I found helpful while I was looking a bit more into social anxiety, but also some of my favourites:

MIND on Anxiety

MIND’s Youtube channel

I am Allowed

HEADSPACE on Meditation 

Music to soothe the Soul

I would love to hear more from anyone that has had to deal with social anxiety and how are they managing it or embracing it! 

Peace, Love and Light,

M

About the author

Monica

Sunset-chasing since the '90s
Changing the mental health conversation
Avid reader and writer. This is my little space where I share with the world my feelings and experiences.

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1 Comment

  • I struggled with severe social anxiety for over a decade. The cost in terms of relationships, experiences and career opportunities is too great to even measure. It got to the point where I would just stop trying. I knew that if I asked someone out, interviewed for a job or went to a bar I would have a panic attack and make an awful impression anyway. There have even been 3 times in my life where I have actually fainted from anxiety!

    I tried medications, alcohol, lots of supplements etc. and nothing worked in the long run. I may have gotten a little relief but eventually the substance would stop working and I would be right back where I started. I even became an alcoholic for a half a year. Don’t make that mistake – it may calm you down a bit temporarily, but it ends up just making your anxiety worse in the long run!

    Eventually I started researching and doing mindfulness techniques…they actually work! However it’s not a quick fix and it takes practice and dedication. Anxiety is not a disease to “get rid of”, it’s a natural biological response. You have to learn how to deal with this response is an effective way. Curing anxiety is a SKILL, not a magic pill! I’m happy to report that it’s been over six years since I had a panic attack and now have a career I enjoy, a wonderful girlfriend and an active social life.

    This page gives a good introduction and overview of the techniques I used to work through my social anxiety: http://anxiety.curespot.info

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