My Life With Social Anxiety
Most people live with some form of a mental disorder. Most of the time we hear about Depression, Bipolarity, ADHD, and general anxiety. All of these are equally important and nothing to shrug off. I have lived with Depression before and it can be crippling.
I wanted to talk about social anxiety, something I also deal with. I take medication for anxiety. I think I have a combination of general anxiety and social anxiety. I have always been an introvert and shy, however when I was younger I didn't have much of a problem to go to concerts, festivals, amusement parks etc. Being in big groups of people didn't bother me that much.
When I graduated high school it was like a switch flipped. I was depressed from graduating, trying to figure out what I was going to do, and being thrown into the big bad world called life. I started feeling fearful and anxious. I was keeping a bottle of tums with me at all times when I would leave the house and pop them like an addict. Talking to people made me feel like I was going to throw up. I literally felt uncomfortable in my own skin, all I wanted to do was rock back and forth in fetal position in a corner. Which actually ended up happening at home in my closet.
I knew that I was dealing with something different. I was diagnosed with Depression when I was a Sophomore in high school. I knew what that felt like, but this was a different feeling. I wasn't sad. I was scared! And wanted to pull my hair out. Even going to Walmart struck fear in me.
Anyways I ended up seeing a therapist and I was put on medication again. I was finally feeling like I could function again. Now don't get me wrong it's not a miracle pill, I still have to work with it everyday. But I've learned to help calm it down some.
Here's what I do:
When I was going to college I was always scared of being stranded without something I needed. In my book bag I would have pretty much everything. Now some people might view this as a crutch, but honestly if it helps DO IT.
- Nail Clipper
- Extra pair of socks
- Body Spray
- Tooth brush and tooth paste
- A book always
I always kept a book to read in my book bag. I love reading. So it was important for me to have something to distract myself with, reading helped calm me down and I could focus on someone else's world and problems.
Along with tuning out the world. It's good to keep headphones and music with you. Whether this is an ipod or your phone. When I would have to wait somewhere or between classes I would listen to new age or nature music. The sounds of nature help calm my nerves. But whatever music makes you happy listen to it!
Breathing. I know that sounds cliche, but it really does help. Close your eyes and take deep long breaths, and release long breaths.
With anxiety you have to rewire your thoughts. There's so much traveling through your mind and it becomes an overwhelming jumbled mess. It's important to slooow it down and focus on one thing. It could be the most mundane thing ever like a bird pecking at a tree if you are outside. The trick is to quiet the rest of your mind except for that one thing.
Scent therapy. Some people have favorite scents that bring them comfort. Maybe it's a perfume your grandmother wore, or maybe it's just calming herbal scents like lavender and eucalyptus. Keep a cloth or tube of that scent with you and sniff it when you feel overwhelmed.
Find a quiet place. If you really can't calm yourself down then get out. Find a quiet place.