Trying to Have a Life, and Not Letting Anxiety Get in Your Way
If you’ve ever been in a place where there are a lot of people, and you’ve started feeling nauseous, your head starts spinning, you can’t quite catch your breath, sounding familiar? Then you’re probably unlucky enough to be one of the many people with Social Anxiety. Worry not, you’re amongst friends here, as I also suffer from Social Anxiety. When you suffer from Social Anxiety as we do, even the most rudimentary of things, like going to school, work, dating, and making friends can seem incredibly daunting.
Good News/Bad News
Well, the good news is, is that it’s not impossible to do these things. The bad news though, is that it will be immensely uncomfortable, even painful at times. The reason I say this, is because even with the correct medication, even a little “social lubricant” (don’t mix alcohol and MH meds btw), without adequate practice and skill, social experiences will be hard. However, if you are on meds for Anxiety, then it may be a little easier to begin honing these elusive social skills. Also, the more you practice, the easier it will be
First Things First
The number one thing that you have to do is admit to yourself that you have anxiety. The type of anxiety you have doesn’t change that you have to admit you are suffering. The next thing that is a must, is to try and figure out what your triggers are. If you’re new to the Mental Health community, triggers, in this context, are actions, environments or situations that bring on symptoms of a mental illness. Now finding what triggers your anxiety is a very important step in managing it. So if you are going into a situation that will ultimately make you anxious, you can be prepared. If you’re lucky you might actually be able to avoid the trigger situation.
This one may or may not be difficult based on how far along you are with your anxiety. By that I mean how good you are at managing it well. If you’re really lucky, your friends will find you, rather than you searching for them. This is actually one of the more common ways people with severe social anxiety make their friends (myself included). If however, you aren’t being found by your (future) friends just yet, don’t worry, it will happen. If you can’t wait, well you’re just going to have to dive in head first and learn to “swim” through your anxiety without drowning. It may take several attempts this way, but you’ll eventually find something that sticks. It will be painful and you’ll probably end up meeting a lot of people who you just drift away from after a while. The most important thing is to not give up. Humans are not designed to be solitary creatures, meaning you will eventually find your group.
Finding That Special Someone
This topic can be especially touchy for some people, pun 100% intended. Seriously though, if this can upset you, I highly recommend that you skip this part. Finding another person whom you can become romantic with is incredibly difficult for people with social anxiety. Not just because we have trouble making friends to begin with, but reading when it’s okay to move to the “next level” is near impossible for some (Guilty!). It doesn’t really help that we aren’t really able to be a part of the club/bar scene. Don’t worry too much though, there are almost 8 Billion people on this planet. The chances of you not finding a mutual romantic interest is near impossible. The way you go about it doesn’t really matter, you’ve just gotta jump it and give it your best shot. Your anxiety will definitely get in the way, but you won’t let it stop you!
I know this wasn’t the most helpful article, but I hope you find something to take away from it. As always, if you think I’ve missed something, help each other out, leave a comment below.
Photo Credit: Unsplash: Ben Duchac