I’m also big on blushing which then starts this cycle of getting even more embarrassed and blushing more. That’s when I start wishing that I could just be invisible.
What I usually don’t tell people is that I actually have social anxiety. It goes way beyond just being shy. For me it can get me so anxious in social situations that I’m paralyzed with fear.
About 10 years ago I had my first episode with depression which made my social anxiety worse, again starting a cycle. The more depressed I was, the less I wanted to leave the house.
Not because I didn’t want to go out but because I felt so exposed. Like all of my insecurities, emotions, and vulnerabilities were a flashing sign to the world.
The depression and anxiety became so bad, it took all I had to even leave the house to check the mail. I would cringe when the phone rang, fearing the person from the outside world.
It took time to find the right medical support and treatment for it. The worst part was just picking up the phone to reach out.
The very first doctor I told my irrational fears to replied with “So, what? You don’t like people?”
That’s not what social anxiety is about. Okay, I do prefer animals to people, heh, but social anxiety for me is about thinking of all the dumb things I might say in a social situation, or doing something that embarrasses me. It just feels 1,000 times more intense than just some shyness here and there.
I finally found an understanding doctor and while I may not be the life of the party, I’m pushing myself more to simmer down all of my irrational thoughts I have in social situations.
There are still days even now when I have to give myself a pep talk just so I can do something as simple as go to the grocery store. The thing is, when you have social anxiety, doing those everyday things aren’t simple at all.
I know I’ll most likely be dealing with social anxiety for the rest of my life but I’m going to do my best to slowly crawl out of my shell. Writing about it is a good start.
Do you get nervous in social situations?