My Social Anxiety, Specifically

  I recently started the process of analyzing my anxieties better to better understand myself. I had to discuss all of my anxieties, when they started, what I knew about them, what they triggered, what even others would see, and more and it made me realize how much I really do have stacked against me. Between all the therapists I have seen, all the traumas I have experienced, and all the things that genetics have passed down to me- things add up over years too. One of the types of anxiety that has been brought up to me recently has been my own social anxiety. This not so sudden fear of people that has grown with each act of mistrust by people who have been close to me and random strangers. Add on the fact that as you get older, those genetic factors start to show up and those anxious thoughts your family members probably once had, now begins to fill your own head. 

 When you break down what makes you anxious, what your triggers are, and so more forth- you start to define your anxiety and get to the textbook terms. The labels that therapists and psychiatrists start to give you, which is actually a big reason why a lot of the men I know who have mental illnesses refuse to get properly diagnosed. The labels. While I'm not personally ready to publically discuss what my most recent triggers have been to cause such a downfall in my progress with my own mental health. While I was on such a great upclimb and making pretty consistent headway by the end of last spring, fall and winter had me with a great tumble back down the mountain that seems to be Mt. Everest. But I am okay with publicly discussing the labels/types of mental illnesses I have been said to have. I like analyzing things so I can better educate myself and grow- so labeling myself is fine by me as long as I can figure out a solution to the larger meaning behind the label. With my own case in social anxiety, specifically, it's a fear of school like areas. The root cause, bullying- but then so many things piled on top due to other factors and just bluntly: bad shit happening. I was told by one therapist that she truly does believe this is something I've always had. I described my experiences at playgrounds as sitting by the adults discussing, or more frequently, listening to life topics. My younger sister would effortlessly make "life long" friends that she would build whole relationships within minutes then never see again. But you would swear they were two best friends from pre-school. My social anxiety was triggered by my body realizing that sophomore year was going pretty well, I was strong enough to handle it (supposedly), and it was winter break so I didn't have to deal with the adjusting in front of anyone. My aunt died during winter break which triggered my depression and the start of my anxious downfall in a way.



 When you look to understand social anxiety by researching online you will find articles explaining that my feelings are similar to those of fifteen million other people. That feeling the heat running to your cheeks and making your whole face blush. The stumbling of words, the fluttering of your heart picking up speed. The lightheaded feeling you get when talking to new people or having to do introductions literally anywhere. The heart dropping feeling when you mess up a word in front of someone and have to try not to look like a deer in headlights- I did that at an interview recently. It truly makes me want to stay home, curl up in bed with the windows open and read a book instead of deal with facing anyone. That's how my anxiety controls me on a bad day- but on a good day, I just avoid eye contact, wait for my neighbors to leave the premises before leaving my apartment so I can avoid an awkward conversation, use the self-checkout at any and all stores. My favorite go-to is headphones, with the headphone jack. I want people to see that I have headphones in. Earbuds just hide the fact that I'm trying my hardest to ignore everyone in the nicest way possible- and pretty please don't talk to me. 

 Social situations sometimes terrify me to no end because I dread the embarrassment of some big reveal. That's what the kids used against me in middle school where I learned in some of my core developmental years to be apprehensive of my own peers. Most people suffer through these kinds of feelings for at least ten years before seeking help from any type of professional in the healthcare industry. Surprisingly social anxiety can be treated with a few daily, weekly, or monthly things that you can do in under a few hours. Yoga, meditation, medication, therapy, exposure therapy, change of diet, adding a few hours of sleep or even cutting back a few. It may take a few weeks or even months to notice a change when you start to add a few things, like starting medication, into your life. I, myself, am waiting to see if I qualify for this one psychiatrist and then in a few weeks I will be hopefully starting the process of medication. Also while doing so I know the warmer weather and changing of seasons will help boost me on this process. Social anxiety is something I hate having since I also crave human connection, to help others, and to understand more people out in the world. But I'm finding a lot of ways to cope with such things that work for me, while also being able to help educate others. I think that's the main reason I'm willing to try this for myself, I'm finally done being a hypocrite and telling myself that I have to try a few more things before making any statements about it. The year of twenty-nineteen is the year of growth for me, the year of twenty-two is the year of exploration for myself. So here's to better my social anxiety, pushing myself to do more, trying medication after being so anti-drugs for so long, and adding more photos or tickets to my corkboard filled with memories. 

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