Living with social anxiety

I briefly touched on my anxiety before and feedback was to elaborate. So here you go:

Most people would describe me as a social being and think that I find talking to people and meeting strangers pretty easy – which is true (thank you retail). But, I go through phases and there are some days where I find even meeting people I’ve been friends with for over 10years daunting.

Anxiety has honestly been my hardest battle. It’s not a daily thing, not even a weekly thing. It’s more of a I’ll come and go as I please sort of thing. So making plans is really hard and attempting to socialise some days is incredibly difficult for two main reasons.

1. I’m sensitive. Lately, I have found myself very easily hurt. I take negative comments to heart and get very upset. As a result, I find it easier to shut myself away and not socialise as much. I get anxiety over meeting people in fear that they will say something that will upset me and I would spend the remainder of the day consumed by emotion and being unproductive. So either I don’t attend or I leave early making up some excuse and kick myself for being ‘lame’ and letting the anxiety ‘win’.

I’ve figured out that my reaction to the simplest comments are probably because I am at a stage in life where I feel a little lost with what I am doing and very unaccomplished. As a result negative comments from anyone gets to me as they (anyone) are giving me another thing to add to my ‘flaws’.

2. The art of conversation. In the past, I was never one who found silence/ pauses awkward, nowadays they are a reason for my anxiety. In those moments I have found myself wondering why we are unable to have a ‘proper’ conversation and start to ponder: am I boring? Do we not have anything in common? Do they not want to talk with me? Etc. Again, this ‘pondering’ is probably due to the same reason as 1.

Previously, my solution has been: avoid people and situations when my anxiety s comes up and sort my life out. (Unhelpful solution).

After doing some research, painting and self reflection I have a new solution.

1. Make those around me aware of my anxiety so that next time I feel overwhelmed with attending a social event I don’t need an excuse to leave early (check). When my friends say something that I take negatively talk to them about it, turn it into positive criticism or it might just be a misunderstanding.

2. Address the feeling of not being accomplished. The problem with being a high achieving goal setter is that sometime the goals are big and take a long time to accomplish. So I’m going to break down my big goals into smaller ones I can hit on a weekly or monthly basis. Keep a journal with these goals and physically tick off goals as I hit them.

For those who want to know if these work – I’ll let you know.

Have a good week  xo

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