Well, it’s been a week since the move and we’re starting to feel somewhat settled. It’s absolutely beautiful here. As I’m writing, I’m looking out my back window. I see a lake, mountains, trees, and light snow. We have been so blessed to find this perfect spot.
My blog subject today is sort of a sore spot for me, as I find it is one of the more judged and confusing mental health topics for people to understand.
The dictionary defines it as a discomfort or a fear when a person is in social interactions that involve a concern about being judged or evaluated by others.
I define it as some jerk lingering above your head in social situations telling you that you’re going to be judged or that you can’t do whatever you’re trying to do.
We all like to pretend we don’t give a S*** what other people think, but deep down, whether we like it or not, we do care in some way or another.
I am also an introvert, which shouldn’t be confused with social anxiety by definition. As an introvert, I still enjoy social interactions and I love parties and meeting new people, but I also need my alone time. An introvert gains their energy by being alone, while an extrovert gains their energy by being with other people.
Since I have just moved to a different province, social anxiety is currently one of the more prevalent anxieties in my life. Meeting new people + starting a new job + getting used to a new town = exciting but terrifying all at the same time.
Here is a list of a few struggles for some people with social anxiety:
I HATE phones. Hate them. This may sound ridiculous to the “average” person, but I can literally feel all the nodding heads of the people who understand exactly what I am saying. Don’t get me wrong, I love to text and email and everything else that comes along with my iPhone, but if I have to actually phone someone or if someone is phoning me, I go into panic mode and literally freeze.
“Who is this person?”
“Why are they phoning me?”
“What are we going to talk about?”
“What should I say?”
Maybe it’s the fear of the unknown, I’m not exactly sure.
2. Meeting someone I have to impress
I find that if I’m just meeting the average person, it’s not so bad. But if I’m meeting someone I have to impress ie: starting a new job, meeting my hubby’s new work crew, joining a sports team etc. my fear can be crippling. My palms become sweaty, my mouth dry, my heart races, and I feel like crying. It’s totally terrifying.
“What if they hate me?”
“What do we talk about?”
“What if it’s awkward?”
Even though I hate this fear so much, I have learned to face it and do things anyway. I’d rather face these fears head on than be lonely. But, I do need to know my limits. I can’t put too much pressure on myself or overload myself with scary social situations all at once.
3. Making small talk
UGH. I hate making small talk. It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in the other person or that I don’t care, it’s more about the fear of being judged I guess. As I’m typing this, I am seriously considering erasing it. People hate admitting that they fear certain things, especially being judged by others. But it’s true. We all have that fear whether we like to admit it or not.
“What should I talk about?”
“What if they think the topic is stupid?”
“If I keep quiet, they can’t judge me.”
“But what if they think I’m being a jerk?”
4. Speaking up in a meeting or group activity
It’s funny because I find myself to be an outgoing person. I really am. I enjoy being social with people and I love parties, but I still have these fears and a lot of the time, I force myself to face them.
We all know those situations – you’re in a group or meeting and you’re asked to do a certain activity and then present it or you’re asked to go around the circle and introduce yourself, including that fact that no one knows about you.
My palms sweat, my breath becomes short, my heart beats fast, my hands shake. We all do it, but some of us, including me, dread these activities. So much that the night before I’m already feeling these emotions.
Out of all my posts, this may be one of the more difficult ones. But that’s okay. Talking about the hard stuff is what makes the good stuff worth it. Talking about the hard stuff is what helps others know they are not alone. Talking about the hard stuff is what makes us all warriors.