Living with Social Anxiety (or any other anxiety condition)
I have been socially anxious for most of my life. Parties have been a source of major stress for me for as long as I can remember. As a young child I was relatively high maintenance. That was my mom’s diplomatic way of saying that I freaked out.. a lot. I did. I wanted things a certain way. I loved being at home and when we were outside of the house I wanted my mom there with me. I remember, a certain time when I was about 4 years old. I was in a recreational gymnastics program. All the other girls simply listened attentively while the instructor told us what to do next, “Point your toes, straighten those legs.” I remember having a lot of trouble just listening and doing the task. I was always
thinking about a million other things. Most of the things commandeering my mind were quite trivial in hindsight. At the time thought, it all felt like a big deal. What I was wearing, whether the other girls liked me, whether the other girls could jump higher or bend further. Oh, and of course, I was always preoccupied with where my mom was. In elementary school I can recall having friends, going to safety patrol dances, visiting friends and being in various extra curricular groups. I didn’t like when our immediate family had to visit the extended family. Visiting aunts and uncles and grandparents was something I would much rather avoid. I always found the conversation to be close to torture. My sister and brother and I would drag our cousin downstairs where we would hide away from all of the adults. The one family member that we did not shy away from was my Nonna. She was so loving and nurturing like a second mother. I tend to gravitate toward. They make me feel safe and secure. Things started to change. In highschool, it was grade 11. I recall a pivotal moment where everything changed. Change with regard to the thoughts and emotions that I experiences on a day-to-day basis.
Questions would swirl in my mind while walking in the halls…
Am I boring?
Do people find me interesting or boring?
Am I loud enough?
Am I too loud? I am loud enough?
Am I pretty? Or Ugly? Is my nose too big?
Who am I going to sit with next period?
Who am I going to sit with at lunch?
Who am I going to sit with during the school assembly?
It was always some kind of worry…some kind of worry that I had no control over.
While everyone else was enjoying normal things like; Shopping for prom dresses, planning the next house party or looking for part-time jobs, I was mulling over things that do not require mulling.
My story to be continued….An Original Poem
That’s Me By Lori Spensieri
That’s me. Always thinking, worrying and mulling
That’s me. Always praying, and contemplating
That’s me. Trying, conflicting, failing
I will just stay home.
They will not even notice if i do not show
It may actually be better to not show up
Than to show up and be the first to leave.
That’s me. Always waiting,
That’s me. Always watching, dreaming and wishing
That’s me. On the outside looking in.
For reference we have included a chart including the “Top 5 Common Triggers of Social Anxiety” with a series of freinds who also struggle with the intruder known as Social Anxiety.
|Common Trigger of Social Anxiety|
I prefers one on one or small groups.
|Last minute social plan changes||Am I dressed appropriately for the specific occasion including “fun days” at work or parties||Public Speaking|
I avoid this at all costs
|Going to an event without knowing how long I will be there
(time limits are usually set)
|Being asked to share ideas in front of colleagues||Forgetting something important (appointment or keys)|
|3||Confrontation||Going out without being dressed well, with makeup||Talking too much at gatherings including being super sarcastic||Confrontation|
|2||Playing team sports||Going to a new location alone
(I usually plan the route ahead, find parking etc)
|Looking “stupid” in front of Colleagues from other work locations with regard to my spelling||Losing something important (passport or keys)|
|1||Speaking in front of fellow teachers||events that seem too overwhelming||Speaking to strangers without rehearsing a speech and coming across as uneducated because I’m having “cognitive issues”||Being stuck with difficult people for a long period of time|
Thank you for reading!! Check back shortly for Part 2.
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