I’ve been asked about my anxiety a lot. I have social anxiety. It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. In short, it sucks. There are different ways to treat aspects of it. I’ve done therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, I’ve taken medication… you name it and I’ve probably explored the option.
What I’ve found most effective for me is to acknowledge that I’m having an issue and then use some of the coping mechanisms from cognitive behavioral therapy, some of which involve me focusing on breathing, to work through it. Other things I’ve done is put myself into situations that would trigger a panic attack, but with a safety net of options to help myself push my boundaries and limitations.
Recently I’ve gone to several different places and events to force myself to interact with people in a safe environment. While I’m still nervous and awkward, I’m definitely improving. Sometimes I get so anxious that I find myself tongue-tied and I close my eyes and force myself to speak slowly to get the words out properly rather than stuttering.
I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth by exploring my limitations, understanding my triggers and then pushing my boundaries. I don’t feel as trapped as I used to. I don’t typically write about my anxiety or panic attacks, but I wanted to write about it today to give the message of hope to anyone who has to deal with any sort of disorder.
I can relate to this so much. I tried CBT but in the end the therapist sent me away with a question written on a piece of paper “what do you think I can realistically help you with?”. Focusing on breathing can help a little but I feel like, for me, sometimes it makes it worse. I feel like my breathing is too loud, too heavy and my heart thumps too hard (even when I try to breathe slowly and calmly). I just wrote a post on the health and fitness side of my anxiety if anyone would find that useful:
Much love and luck to you. I’ve really been enjoying your YT videos, especially seeing the lovely relationship you have with your dogs. I miss having a dog around the house, must rescue one some day. x
Phaedra is my rock. She always makes me feel better.
I just find it totally adorable. You can totally see her love for you in her big, beautiful eyes. I am also a lurker btw, I’ve been a follower for a long time but I’m usually hesitant to comment (also working on that). I just realised that there is so much negativity out there that maybe my random positive comments might make someone smile. Someone once commented on one of my videos saying I looked like a Vietnamese prostitute and I was totally horrified at the time, it’s only now that I can laugh about it. It’s OK to be careless with our own hearts sometimes but not with other people’s. The needs of the many and all that jazz.
I’m sorry to interrupt, but I couldn’t read that and not post anything! I think it was extremely uncalled for and I don’t understand why people say things like these?!?!! If that person had nothing nice to say, he/she should have said nothing!
People seem to forget their manners when they’re on the internet.
Aww thanks, how sweet of you haha. I think that sometimes they belittle other people because they have low self-esteem. They want to feel better about themselves by pointing out how pathetic everyone else is. It’s the one loyal subscriber and blog reader that always reads and always comments (health allowing) that makes my heart sing (as well as my fiancé, obviously lol). I find it easier to befriend people online because I don’t feel the same awkwardness that I do in person. There is still some level of anxiety but for some reason the fear is not as profound.
Thanks for this post : ) I’m a long time lurker, and this post made me want to reply. I came down with generalized anxiety about two years ago. I started off with meds, and then made the (scary) jump to Cognitive Behavior therapy. Although every day is harder now, I feel strong knowing that I can survive on my own with the techniques I learned from CBT. I think it was worth the switch, those I am so grateful for the meds that gave me some peace so that I could learn about CBT.
Actually, I find that makeup has been a big help in helping myself calm down – I often mentally go through the steps of putting on full-face makeup as a way to relax.
Anyway, thanks for such an honest post!
You’re welcome Ames. It’s something I get frustrated by because I didn’t have to deal with it when I was 20. It’s like I hit a saturation level and it’s never fully gone away but at least I can handle it better now.
I haven’t been diagnosed with social anxiety, but I have been with depression, and along with that general anxiety. One thing that I’ve found to help is making sure you have time for yourself after any significant social interactions. It’s a good reset that allows you to react better in further stressful situations. Without it, even a string of very small social interactions can snowball into a meltdown.
Yep, downtime is a total necessity. If I don’t have it, I end up upset and crying.
As someone who has anxiety as well, this is really good to hear. Thanks!
You’re welcome Elaine!
Thank you for sharing this. I’ve only recently started following your blog so would not have guessed that you struggle with anxiety, as I’ve seen your posts about going to meetups and social outings. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself in situations that you know will bring on an attack, so kudos to you!
Thanks Lulubelle! Yes, I push myself. Sometimes the day of an event or the night before I’ll get so nervous thinking about it that I almost cancel, but I usually force myself go to and then I enjoy myself.
My best friend is extremely shy, especially around girls, though I’m not sure if it’s full-blown social anxiety. It’s easy to forget he is, though, since he’s just fine around me, and around his friends. It’s only when I’m talking to new people and he’s all silent in a corner that I remember.
It’s good that you notice! Maybe you can help ease him into conversations.
Yeah, he’s told me that he hates being so shy, so I’ve been taking him to places I hang out sometimes and introducing him to the people there. It’s a bit slow going with him, but once he’s comfortable, he’s a lot of fun to hang out with. It’s a shame more people don’t get to know him!
Thanks for sharing. I’m kind of in the same boat. I’ve had depression and some kind of anxiety disorder for most of my life and since starting college things really got out of my control. For the longest time I just thought something was wrong with me as a person because a lot of these kinds of issues just aren’t talked about. So thanks for talking about it :). It helps to know that things can get better, especially when so often it feels like things will never change.
I can relate to this entirely to much. I moved across the country to be with my husband right out of high school. I can count on one hand how many times i left the house without clutching to him. My anxiety comes and goes, the depression is always there looming and waiting. I have highs, and I have lows. I refuse medication now. When i was a teenager, it was shoved down my throat by my “doctors” and parents. I do my best with out it. My anxiety has never gone away, and i suspect it wont. However now, it has manifested into a stutter, making me all the more embarrassed. Talking to my furbaby Merrick helps a lot though, lol hes my rock whenever i need him. Thank you for sharing your journey!
Going on medication allowed me to reset. Coming off of it was horrid, but I’m definitely happier now that I’m off of it. I’m glad to hear Merrick helps!
Thank you for posting about this. It helps to know other people struggle also and we aren’t alone.
Sometimes the toughest battles are fought inside our minds. And thankfully, we’re not alone.
It’s really surprising to know that you have anxiety issues, Phyrra. After all, you are YOU! I’ve always had the impression you were extremely confident and outspoken and extroverted! And you always post pics of blogger meetups and events, so one would think you were a social butterfly.
I never understood anxiety problems until I got diagnosed with an endocrine disorder, and started having panic attacks (it’s one of the symptoms). The worse was when I was behind the wheel… it was terrifying. I still have panic attacks but they are quite rare now, though I have medication on hand in case it happens again.
While I don’t have social anxiety, I am not extroverted, so I get really nervous and tongue-tied sometimes. My job requires public speaking all the time, so I fake it. I fake confidence, haha!
I think I need to do a post about this… thanks for the idea!
That’s pretty much what I do, I fake confidence as best I can. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I feel confident. In certain situations, I am confident.
Panic attacks are the worst. Feeling like you’re going to die and you can’t stop it is awful.
I’ve only been doing Blogger meetups for about a year, I think, and I almost always bring Ray or Dave with me, as a sort of security blanket. I also relied on my medication if I needed it.
Kudos on your bravery! Until 2 years ago I thought I was just shy, then I couldn’t go to the crowded class at university, stopped hanging out with my friends if we were going to concerts, big pubs, discos… I’m working on it. For me, no medication (but I’ve given up coffee and started taking valeriana extract), yes to breathing exercises. I’m lucky my symptons are all internal, I don’t sweat or stutter, my heartbeat gets fast and my whole neck contracts and gives my instant migraines -.-” I’ve been told to do the “push your limits” thing, but usually when I do (even if it is a fun event) I just survive it, not enjoy it. And I have to do a crazy amount of planning. Luckily, I’ve never had a serious panic attack, my mother had some and I completely sympathize with you, she really had a bad time!
I am so happy you shared this! I struggle with the same thing. Unfortunately it is far too easy for me to shut myself in at home. I have been trying as well to be more outgoing and attend events alone and attempt to mingle. I just try not to over think things too much and try not to analyze things too much afterwards. It’s hard though. You are right that it gets worse as well get older. Especially now that I have kids it is so easy to not have a life outside of my family.
Courtney, my heart goes out to you for having this awful condition, but also for admitting it publicly. I would never have thought you suffer from social anxiety, because of the way you carry yourself (in photos) and your descriptions about social functions that you describe. You are one TOUGH lady! And you should be very, very proud of yourself. For years, I have suffered from depression and mild anxiety, but lately the anxiety has gotten much worse. I believe it’s due to having too much on my plate. I want you to know that your post helped me enormously just by spotlighting how many of us have this condition and are battling day after day, and that, for the most part, we all support each other. Hugs, thanks and love to you, Courtney. ^.^
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