Can people tell when you’re nervous? I really believe that my outward appearance is for all intents and purposes “normal.” You know the deodorant commercial, Never let them see you sweat? Well us anxious folk are a lot like that.
Yesterday while at work I was having a casual conversation with one of the doctors. He is a really nice older gentleman, and we were both taking care of a patient. So it caught me by surprise when he asked me out of the blue:
Do you have children Jill?
I was surprised because we had already had this conversation before. In fact, I have talked to him about my kids more than once, and he has shared some stuff with me about his kids too.
What I realized in that moment was: This guy had no freaking idea who I was. He doesn’t remember me at all.
Being sensitive, I felt a teeny twinge of hurt. But it really wasn’t that big of a deal. It was a non event.
What was a big deal is that I have more than a few memories of me feeling so socially anxious and tongue tied at work and this man was there in the room at the time– and obviously not noticing at all!
What a Relief!
I sometimes feel everyone is so tuned into me. Social phobia makes you look inward and focus on your every detail and I guess we might automatically think others are watching us under a microscope- just waiting for us to stutter on our words or blush or become tongue tied or who knows what….
Intellectually I know this thinking is faulty, but sometimes when my social anxiety disorder kicks in and I still feel *everyone* knows there is *something* about that new girl (me).
Complete and Utter Load- O- Crap.
This not noticing others came full circle when I was hanging out with someone at work last week while we were getting ready for a case to start.
At one point she said something like:
Don’t you remember when I gave you that look after so and so said that to me? I thought you were really mad!
Um…Wow. No actually. I had no idea what she was talking about. I have no memory of having any sort of connection with her beyond just introducing ourselves. (Of course I didn’t tell her that.)
So there it is. I think I’m so tuned in to my environment and I don’t even remember who I talked to or what about.
That doctor has nothing on me
And no one can tell if I feel anxious. I hide it like a ninja.
What’s the point of me telling you this?
Because it’s probably highly likely that the same is true for you. No one is watching you, thinking, Oh that poor anxious person. What a shame.. Wow, just look at her…
We always feel we will embarrass ourselves on some level, but in truth, no one really notices what is going on around them all that closely.
No one is watching you and judging you. Except you.
Please take comfort in this! You know you are stealth when it comes to hiding your anxiety. I know I am. I have had full blown panic attacks in front of people and no one knew anything.
You don’t have to worry about never letting them see you sweat. Even if you are sweating and anxious, they probably aren’t noticing it.
I wish you peace,