5 years ago I noticed a change within myself, a change that would change my life and perception on social life as I know it.
I’m a social phobic. I suffer the worst when it comes to interacting with people, especially people that I don’t really know all that well, and it makes life incredibly difficult.
When I was younger I was your usual run of the mill teenager. In fact, my teenage years were great! I’d be out every weekend spending time with friends and my Partner in crowed places where I would be comfortable and happy in my surroundings. I wasn’t thinking about what other people thought of me or thinking about the situation at all, I would just enjoy myself, my life and new adventures.
The Start of My Anxiety
At 21 years old everything changed. I was diagnosed with IBS having tests for what I could and couldn’t eat. This was something totally new and different for me that changed the way I felt when I was out. To all my fellow IBS buddies you’ll know very well that a good clean toilet in your area is something that becomes a huge priorty to you and when you start to worry about it, then it can kick things off even more. Queue a whole string of anxiety attacks when not at home.
On my 21st birthday I was out with my friends in a situation I used to love and that’s when I realised I was no longer the same person. All I could think about was ‘when can I go home?’. I remember this moment so vividly as the start of my Anxiety on a whole new level.
I felt like the room was shrinking and people were getting closer and more strange. I remember being engulfed by what other people may be thinking of me at the time:
- Am I wearing the right dress ?
- Am I over dressed ?
- Am I underdressed ?
- Should I be having this much to drink ?
- Do all my friends actually want to be here ?
After that night I started to distance myself from every social gathering. I was terrified of being judged or being put in an awkward position. I found it impossible to shut my brain off and the anxieties that filled it.
The fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people consumed me and for a long time I was lost.
Social anxiety doesn’t dissappear overnight and it can take a lifetime of work. But over the years I have develped my own coping mechanisms that have helped me to get some of my life back and manage my anxiety well.
At first I started with downloading the App Headspace – a collection of audio tapes to meditate to. They have loads of different topics and the ones I would listen to were aimed for anxiety, they really helped. I also used to listen to Youtube videos on mediation aimed for Anxiety and IBS because for me those two conditions were linked.
Have a think: is there something in your life that could be triggering your anxiety?
After a while of meditation and listening to guided audio I felt calmer. Calmer on my own, calmer when out and about and more capable in social situations.
As mental health is spoken about more on social and in mainstream media it helps us realise that I’m not alone. So if this article resonates with you in any way I hope you understand that you two are not alone and no matter how deep you feel your anxiety has taken you, you can still lead an active social life.
Other Anxiety Resources:
Anxiety UK – A charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm)
-Bloom From The Darkness
Author Bio: Becky Rooke
Becky is a Blogger and Makeup Artist with a passion for creating helpful blogging content and creative makeup looks.