My Social Anxiety

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.

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:

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 3.18.04 pm

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:

  1. Make eye contact.
  2. 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.

Love, Cassia.

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3 thoughts on “My Social Anxiety

  1. I have social anxiety too and it gets annoying when people point out that I’m quiet. Like I didn’t already know that, lol. Also telling me that I’m quiet doesn’t make me want to talk more, it actually makes me self conscious about myself.

    Great post, totally how I feel about my social anxiety.

    Like

    1. I know exactly how you feel! But, it’s hard because I know that the people don’t mean to make us feel bad (well, I hope not). This actually happened to me last week when I was really tired and someone said “not a woman of many words” and I almost cried in frustration! Argh! I know that she wasn’t trying to make me feel bad, but it did. I think that’s when shame comes in, we think that by being quiet it makes us ‘bad people’, but, it doesn’t. Being quiet is actually a real strength! We have a rich inner world, we are thinkers and creative. It’s all about trying to shift our mindset to saying ‘hey, I’m quiet, and that’s okay.’
      – Cassia

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  2. Hi Cassia. I think the biggest step to overcoming social anxiety is what you just did; admit it. I’m an introvert, too, and as one, it is often difficult to understand just why people are uncomfortable with a person that doesn’t talk as much as they do. Most people want to talk about themselves, so if you can just let them do that, and give some appropriate verbal cues every once in a while (” uh-huh”, “yes”, “oh really??!”, “wow, that’s crazy!”) they won’t mind so much. And of course, like you said being tired is an impossible situation when someone just NEEDS you to talk and you just need to be quiet, sleep, or recharge. It is an amazing gift to have a few introverted friends who are NOT offended when you don’t talk.

    Like

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