Are there really ways to cope with social anxiety? If I’m being honest, I’m not sure. Social anxiety is different for everyone. It’s an endless battle with your thoughts and how people perceive you when in reality, they might not even be thinking about you. They don’t care if your socks match, if you’re walking too fast or too slow, if you seem anxious or you look like you’re coping, they really don’t care.
What is Social Anxiety?
Do you ever get that feeling when you’re walking down the stairs and there are people around you then you might think they’re judging you so you become nervous and think of a hundred ways you can actually fall down the stairs? That is social anxiety.
I’ve been spending years trying to figure out how to cope with social anxiety, and if I’m being honest, I still don’t know.
I’ve seen a lot of people saying things such as “oh you’re just making it up” “it’s not that bad” “it’s all in your head” and my mind always goes to the “thank God that it’s in my head because imagine if I had to live with that” but then I remember, social anxiety has been by my side for so many years. At this point, I’m almost completely sure that we’re best friends. She doesn’t let me do anything on my own, much less do anything with people around me. What if she’s right? What if people are watching my every move? What if they answer the phone? I’d have to hang up because I would not know what to say. I pay for my phone service for what? I don’t call anyone, that’s too much anxiety-inducing for me. I can barely text and sometimes that’s too much but somehow never enough.
You can search within your soul for answers, or take some type of pill that would take it all away even if it’s for a second.
You search all around you and always come back empty-handed. Why is that? Social anxiety is by far one of the things I would love to change about myself, but who am I kidding? Anxiety it’s not a piece of clothing I can change if I don’t like it. There’s no return policy for her.
There are so many things that go through your head when it comes to anxiety.
You feel like you’re not good enough and that the other person on the end of the line is going to get tired of you, and you can actually feel how much you’re suffocating them, so you just stop. But then, you start missing the other person and you go back because that’s what you do. Then, you start feeling like you’re doing way too much. My brain tells me I am indeed doing too much, so, its time to isolate myself and wonder why no one cares enough to reach out, give you a call (even though you won’t answer), have them reach out to you in some other way but you have a commitment with isolation so, reaching out it’s more of an option than a requirement.
You stare at the phone watching it ring but not doing anything about it. You see your friends on social media but you can’t reach out because again, isolation.
It’s a complete cycle that never seems to end.
The amount of opportunities I’ve lost due to this. It’s sad to think that I won’t get to have that time back. But how do you live in a world where your voids are filled with death-full thoughts and endless pain? You survive.
It takes so much time to actually start healing.
Just like every other condition, social anxiety needs to be taken seriously since it has such an important role in our lives, but can it really be cured?
In my personal experience, trauma leads to so many mental health issues and they never go away. Yes, you can seek help, go to therapy, start medication, but it does not take away the way that you’re feeling. Or at least not completely. You may receive some relief, but, that’s only temporary.
I am not going to sit here and tell you that it gets better (whatever it is that you’re going through that leads to social anxiety) because, it doesn’t. Which is such an awful feeling both physically and emotionally. You just want to get better, you want to be able to start a conversation and not be afraid of what kind of feedback you’ll get or even have the courage to go in a store, get something and pay for it, without getting anxious and ending up leaving whatever it is that you were going to buy just because it becomes too overwhelming to be around people.
I’m not saying you can’t get help nor that if you do decide to get help, it would be a waste of time.
Medication can only do so much. But what happens when they don’t do what they’re supposed to help you with? You end up with no motivation to continue helping yourself. You think that you’re just way too broken to even consider the possibility of getting better.
You Got This!
Don’t give up on yourself because one thing didn’t go as you wanted. That happens way too often and we end up thinking that we don’t deserve to get better, we do, everyone deserves to heal and you’re not an exception. It takes time to understand your illness and even more time to figure out how to manage what you’re feeling. It’s a lifelong lesson and a process of discovery and learning but you’ve been dealing with this for so long and you have managed to figure it all out, and even if you didn’t, you’re still managing. If that doesn’t defy what the word “strong” means, then I don’t know what else will.
We often think of gyms and weights when we mention the word “strong” but what people don’t know is how much it takes to learn to live with an illness and how much it drains your energy. You still have to get yourself up and continue your life without having a second to breathe and let it all out. Sometimes, being strong means waking up in the morning and deciding that today you are going to brush your teeth, or even deciding that you will eat after two days of not doing so because you were scared to go grocery shopping because again, too many people. You have been managing everything on your own and just that lets me know how truly strong you are.
If you have anything to say about this specific topic or mental health in general, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.