Facing Anxiety

We have basic fears, like being afraid of snakes and spiders. Then, we have social fears, we are afraid to talk and to interact with others. We can usually distinct us being shy or just thinking the worst when it comes to talking to someone new. The majority of the people have these fears, they aren’t bad fears though, they are reasonable.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is anxiety. Anxiety is a whole different concept of fear. You are scared you will say the wrong thing and your brain automatically thinks the worst. For me, it was a constant battle of fear. No matter what I did, there was the factor of uneasiness involved. It took me awhile to get over it, around 13 years.
I am 18 years old, I have been cleared of social anxiety for 5 years now. I wasn’t “diagnosed” with anxiety because I thought it was stupid to go to a doctor’s office for him to tell me to take pills and wait when I knew I could fix this by myself. I grew up pretty shy in general. I would do little kid things like hide behind my mom or be too afraid to sing in front of my sisters. As time went by, I started to notice something stronger than me just being shy. I was genuinely petrified of talking to people because I honestly thought they would hate me if I said the wrong thing. The bullying background doesn’t help my case because I know what people say about me so I really thought it was true. Even talking to my best friend made me nervous sometimes because she is on a higher “social status” than I am and I don’t want to seem desperate and lame.
The way I kind of “got rid” of my social anxiety was to put myself out there more. My siblings actually helped me out with this because they were all so cool and popular to my 8 year old self that I watched how they interacted with others. I had to put myself out there and that was terrifying and sometimes it still scares me to just walk up to someone and talk like I can’t express how scary that was for me but I did it and low and behold, it worked. I know it’s very typical of people to give that advice but I’m telling you right now it helps. I work in the food business and part of my job is to talk to people and sometimes it scares me but when you get in the habit of going out of your way to talk to someone, it gets so much easier. I can hold a 10 minutes conversation with a customer easily now than I would’ve been able to a few years ago because I got in the routine to go out of my way to simply compliment someone on an outfit or just say hey.
It gets easier the more you do it, I promise. I know it’s scary and intimidating, I get that, but this is really the only way to get over the fear of talking. Sometimes it feels like all they are doing is judging you but that’s not the case. Even if it is sometimes, at least you are the person to reach out to others than to just give dirty looks.

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