Living with Social Anxiety

Many people across the world have and are living with some fear, some regret and some worry. Maybe they are living with all three ?, who knows. Personally , for as long as i have ever known , i have had an issue with being social. Not to say that i don’t love people, on the contrary. I actually feel good after being around people that are giving good vibes. But for some reason I panic. I don’t panic in the sense that i freak out and have to run away , but i panic in the way where my mind goes blank. The voice in my head is saying the things i wish i could say aloud. But for some reason , i can’t get my brain to trigger my vocal chords to speak. When I am alone however, this isn’t the case. When i am with someone i trust and care for this also does not happen.

Now in reality i don’t believe that i don’t have the personal ability to be social , i have had and still have friends. But putting myself out in the world , i think is where the issues lie. But i also think it goes much, much deeper.

Fears , anxiousness and any kind of personal handicap, these are all blocks formed by the ego. The ego’s main job is to put up a barrier between you and the emotional pain you have felt at one point or another within your life. Most of the time, you won’t notice that your ego is putting up a wall. It’s as if a construction crew in your mind came through in the middle of the night and quietly built a barrier between you and what you used to enjoy doing. I am going through social anxiety and trying to heal myself of it. I would like to share what i believe started it as well as how i believe i can fix it. Maybe at the end of this , I can help you to.

How My Anxiety Formed

In no way am i psychiatrist , and in no way am i a professional in this field. But it has taken me many years of self reflection and being in solitude that has allowed me to think about where this fear or anxiety formed. I preface with that because I don’t think with or without professional help you can ever fully understand the mind. It’s the most powerful organ in the body made of the same matter that encomposses the galaxies. So to say that this is factual in and the root cause of my personal issues and potentially yours , well that would be naive. But one can still speculate

From a young age (as far i can remember) i was quiet , but being shy is normal for children , and it is definitely expected. I was born a year apart from my brother , he was the talker. So much so that he’d have to be told to shut up , and mocked for asking so many questions. So from my point of view i seen the ridicule from our family to him for being loud, being a talker, asking to many questions. For me i would be praised for being quiet. This i believe is what laid the ground work for my apprehension to being vocal and opening up to people. Which this situation doesn’t directly correlate with social anxiety. What it does however is limit’s the initial urge to speak up.

As a pre-teen i had no issues, i had four very close friends and I always had someone to talk to. Making the friends in the first place just sort of happened. I wasn’t actively aware until I became a teenager. The skill of being able to have a conversation. You see , as a pre-teen i was always quiet around people. I didn’t speak much and i was overweight so i had a huge lack of self esteem that carried on through most of my life. As a teenager though, this is when things changed. Puberty and the male urge to be with the opposite sex kicked in. At this point of my life i had realized that i lacked a skill which most people develop by time they leave high school. Again , even with my lack of skills in that department i did not really focus on it or allow that lack of self esteem kick in until later on.

Around the ages of Sixteen until about Twenty i was very much socially active. I did realize in this time period that i could not handle being around large groups of people, in the sense of it being a party. House parties , for some reason always awakened the fear. While all the previous events of my life were the foundation , the mud and cement encasing this fear onto me. The large groups and being forced to socialize reminded me that i had no skill in speaking , i didn’t know how to carry on a conversation. And overall I found it difficult to relate to those people.

During those four years , and up until i was about Twenty-two i had one very close friend. He was my best friend for quite some time, Or so i thought. For many years in the beginning we were close. But then towards the end of that friendship i saw his true colors. From him sleeping with my ex girlfriend at the time , to him ridiculing me for not talking much. saying things like “you don’t talk when we are with other people” or ” you need to talk more , people don’t like when you don’t say anything” , “him , oh he’s a mute , he don’t talk” . While these don’t sound harsh on the surface , because as i grew older i had a realized i had a lack of self esteem in this department. Words like that just add on to the voice we have inside. Giving that voice power over the good things we tell ourselves. In a way , my bestfriend became my bully. This was the first betrayal from someone i thought was my friend.

These are just a few anecdotal reasons on what i think happened early in my life that developed into what i am trying to change now.

There’s Always Room For Change

Something i learned during my life is that change is ineveitable. You can and will change , but it is up to you when that change occurs and how severe you want that change to be.

I learned that I didn’t have to accept that i was unable to talk to people, unbeknownst to me I ended up choosing that. i didn’t do so purposely , it was my ego. like i said earlier , the ego is your greatest friend and greatest foe. Subconsciously i wanted to have nothing more than to be accepted and be able to have that charisma that i admire in other people. But i was wounded ,and my ego put up the wall and built a house around me. That house was built to block that person i wanted to be. What was learned was that i could change it , i could reteach myself that i don’t feel that way and i could accept a new reality.

I wanted , for the longest time to be able to come out of my shell. This was always a difficult task for the impatient. because it took me a while after being betrayed , to trust again.

so here i will tell you what i did to help myself , and still trying to commit to these things that initially helped me.

  • Acceptance
  • Forgiveness
  • Meditation
  • Hobbies

adult and child hands holding red heart on aqua background, heart health, donation, CSR concept, world heart day, world health day, family day

These four things are what it took for me to release SOME of the things that blocked me. Depending on your level of insecurity will depend on how much help you need.

ACCEPTANCE

The first and most important step to overcoming any fear , anxiety or trauma is to accept that it happened or is happening to you. Ironically , as a part of acceptance is to speak of it. But when you have a social anxiety it’s difficult to do that. For me i learned that within me is that social person, i can be funny and just as enjoyable to be around as anyone else, but it just takes time and trust for that person to be revealed. Being truthful to yourself is apart of the first two steps. So accept that you have a fear of something and be honest with yourself. Is this fear something small or big? if its small , it will be a lot easier to over come , if it is something that is large it will take time. But you must be aware of your problem before you can fix it.

FORGIVENESS

Being aware and accepting that you have a problem is key. but part two to that is forgiving yourself. When you constantly worry about that which gives you fear, you are giving the fear more power. What needs to be done is you have to first recognize your issues. Then you must forgive yourself , we can be our own bullies from time to time. And we can definitely give ourselves that bad talk , telling ourselves that we can’t do it , that we can’t change.

as a daily practice that helped me i did this for about a week; in front of a mirror , look yourself in the eyes. take a deep breath and apologize to you. whatever comes to mind in that apology just say it. After that ,promise yourself that you will make the change required to help fix the problem(s).

MEDITATION

There are numerous studies and reports done on the beneficial effects of meditation. From increasing the quality of your sleep , to improved brain function and even down to aiding in decision making. Meditation is the practice to heal yourself. The first two points are the discovering your problem and the meditation becomes the practice of actually fixing your issues.

the way the meditation works is very simple. every morning give yourself ten minutes. If you wanna be seated or standing or in bed , doesn’t matter. the point is to begin with ten minutes a day and move up to thirty plus minutes a day. While in the meditation you need to visualize yourself overcoming that anxiety or fear that’s paralyzing you.

a word of advice is to write a list of things you want to fix, and order them from smallest to largest in terms of difficulty to overcome. during your meditations try to see your overcoming these things in order. just as a way to make this more manageable.

Another popular form of meditation that can also help you work out your body simultaneously is yoga. if that is something that fancies you feel free to use anyway to get you to meditate as long as the things you do lead you to healing.

if you’d like some help with meditation try this program HERE

HOBBIES

The last and certainly not final piece of information i can give that helped me , is developing a hobby. As i meditated and reflected on where my self consciousness showed , i noticed when i was not thinking about the fear it normally didn’t affect me. For example , when i met one of my early childhood friends in the fourth grade , i wasn’t worried what he thought of me. we bonded on the fact that we both liked to draw and we both played pokemon. Eleven year old me didn’t care to think about having to talk.

As life went on i developed hobbies that got me to bond with great people. People that i would otherwise not know. And this is a key point here, putting yourself in a position where everyone is learning the same thing OR everyone is there for the same reason can help conquer the fear. Examples of this would be like joing a chess club , or attending a class to learn a new language. For me it was card games that i got to fulfill my social itch. Find the hobby that interests you and get out there.

Some Final Words

One thing in this i didn’t mention is the fact that through my acceptance of who I am as a person, I have realized that I do enjoy the silence , being comfortable in it is something of a skill that i have learned to love. And not surprisingly , silence is something that makes people uncomfortable. Silence is something people of the world don’t get to enjoy in their busy lives. so through my personal acceptance i realized what i thought was burden was really a gift. Some people are so busy with life, that they don’t have the time to slow down, they don’t have the time to enjoy the trees , the sky , sound of the wind , the life that is around them. with the exception of those few days a year they take a vacation. even then they have everyday planned to the minute.

To this day , i am still working on my life. And it never gets easier. All the points i gave in this article are things i have done myself. Even now as i write this i still think , as a matter of fact, i know i have to make more changes to get better. But that’s the beauty of being human, we can always change for the better or worse. Something else to keep in mind is that you aren’t alone! so please don’t discourage yourself. Change will come to you. And in the end you must trust yourself , love who you are and learn to transform the things that bother you into that person you want to be. Maybe you’ll be like me and realize after trying to make those changes that you never really were meant to be that person anyway. Sometimes being an introvert is a good thing , but that’s a topic for a future post.

Enjoy yourself world.

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