I’ve been wanting to write about my social anxiety for a long time now! Even typing these words my heart is racing and I’m thinking “Should I even write this? I already posted something (Jacqui’s post) on my blog today. What will people think of me. Is it the right thing to do?”
Hmmm..I don’t know. I am refusing to entertain those thought, so here it goes:
I grew up being told I was shy, and I believed that it was a huge character defect (I still do). People would sarcastically joke, “Cass, you’re so loud!” against my quietness, which, I get the humour, but all I heard was, “Why won’t you talk?” In my first job, when I was about 12, I got told ALL THE TIME that I was quiet, and yes, don’t you think I already knew that I was quiet? It’s like saying to a fat person, “Hey, you’re fat!”
So, I guess, it all began when I was pretty young.
I hate the fact that I’m shy. But I love that I am quiet. I am a listener, I am a thinker, and I am an introvert. I enjoy solitude and being ascetic. To me all these are all good qualities, just, not when they are combined with the fear of others.
And that’s precisely where my social anxiety springs from: The fear of others. The fear of being judged. The fear of not being perfect.
I dread being judged. I don’t like criticism. I get so anxious when I get an assignment grade back because I don’t want it to be bad, I don’t want to be a ‘bad writer’. I don’t want people to think I am weird. I don’t want people to think anything of me, really. I’m scared that if I mess up I’ll be judged as a failure (feeling shame towards who I am). I’m scared to talk to strangers or people in authority because my body reacts to the huge amount of stress in my body and it usually results in a blushed face, or stuttering, or fidgeting, or all of those at once. Which only makes makes my anxiety worse.
If you put that in a cycle, it could look something like this:
It was about 2 weeks ago that I decided I really needed to do something about my social anxiety, and build my confidence.
I made 2 small goals for when I am talking to someone:
- Make eye contact.
- Ask questions
So simple, yet so terrifying!
And yes, these small goals won’t totally cure me of my social anxiety, because they are only behaviour modification tools, and I believe my social anxiety comes from deeper issue I have to deal with.
I am now working on analysing why I feel anxious about certain events, such as going on a job interview or going to church. I am working on getting down to the root issues so that I can properly deal with this anxiety.
It’s a start.