I hope you all are doing well going into the holiday season! Last week here in the US was Thanksgiving. I celebrated at my sister’s house in upstate NY. And I had a bout of social anxiety along with my turkey and gravy and stuffing. Boo 🙁
It kind of sucked. My cousin and her husband from Brooklyn joined us and I was unable to connect with her the way I wanted to, because I was feeling weird and anxious around her.
It was not horrible, I didn’t panic or anything, but I felt guarded and had low level anxiety around her for most of the time.
My cousin is someone I rarely see now, but I grew up with her and so have a lot of history there. I know social anxiety can be triggered by anything, and certainly a history with a cousin who knows me well qualifies.
It was uncomfortable and it made me sad the next day, because I love her and really hated how I felt. It felt as if I was role-playing– and I was!
I was covering up how I really felt (which was anxious) so she wouldn’t notice. But the result of me acting that way was we really didn’t connect the way I wanted to. And I felt bad.
I couldn’t give and take in the conversation because I was all hung up in my head wondering how she was feeling about me, what her husband thought of me, was I acting ok, etc.
I’m sure the truth was they weren’t thinking of me at all. But social anxiety makes you think you’re the focus of everyone around you.
So I felt bad and couldn’t remember what to do to make myself feel better in the moment. God I hate it when that happens. 😛
Looking back, of course now, I wish I had excused myself and gone into a bedroom or the bathroom for a few minutes to center myself and reconnect.
And going forward in this holiday season, this is what I am going to remind myself, should social anxiety strike again:
Stay in Gratitude
There is always so much to be grateful for! I was blessed to be able to be around my family this Thanksgiving, however it happened.
I have an aunt who didn’t want to join us for the holiday. My aunt has a lot of negativity and depression. So while it hurts my mother’s feelings (my aunt is her sister) that she doesn’t want to be around us, I understand. I remember a time when I was so anxious, I would avoid family functions.
And I have been feeling and doing so well lately in my life, something to celebrate and not to lose sight of!
I love my cousin and her husband, and even if I was anxious, I don’t regret a single moment spent with them.
Setbacks happen, it’s no big deal
Weird feelings and anxious times come and go. Such is the nature of life it seems. With maturity, I am learning to have an open mind about whatever comes up for me emotionally.
While I may temporarily feel bad or beat myself up, I quickly dust myself off and get back in the saddle and onto living my life.
I don’t wallow in self pity or regret. Well, I do it a little, but I don’t stay there, thank God. In fact, I can look back at the situation and ask myself What did I learn?
Well, first and foremost I need to continue to be kind and loving towards myself.
When I feel socially anxious, it’s because I perceive that others are judging me harshly. Judging my life, my person, my choices.
The truth is, I am judging myself harshly with a story in my head – and projecting that onto others. That’s what causes the separation and makes me feel anxious.
I “forgot” my connection to my cousin because I had a mental movie running in my head that she was judging me.
The truth is, my cousin loves me despite how I felt, despite me not being able to relax around her.
And I can forgive myself for this old anxiety habit, and not let it snowball into some big thing.
I said this before and I’ll say it again:
Setbacks are a normal part of anxiety recovery. So accept it as part of the process and be kind to yourself. Hug yourself. Tell yourself you’ll be fine, because you will. Being nice to yourself after you have had an anxiety filled day can really help set the stage for a better day tomorrow.
There are so many tools to help!
Anyone who is in my middle age group will remember a time when there was no internet. Young people have no idea. It really sucked!
There was so little information available about social anxiety.
Outside of going to the library and finding an old book or maybe talking to someone (which for me wasn’t always helpful), you just had to suck it up the best you could.
It was a pretty bewildering time in my life.
Today thankfully, there are so many wonderful tools and resources online to help us get back on track after a setback.
You literally can get help in minutes when you need it. It really is such a blessing!
When I was having a hard time a few months ago, I brushed myself off and dove into the things that always help me.
Specifically, I went back and reviewed the 60 Second Panic Solution. That’s the anxiety program that works like a charm for me.
I also had specific challenges, so I went and did some self hypnosis to help myself with that. Hypnosis is always helpful and can retrain faulty thinking and get you back on track.
I also found a very helpful person online and did an online Skype session with him. It was expensive, but worth it.
I also shared my struggles with friends and family in an appropriate way. Asking for and receiving help and support is incredibly liberating and healing.
Anxious people tend to hold everything inside. Letting it out can feel really good! 🙂
And more recently, I’ve been doing a 6 minute energy healing for anxiety routine. It feels so nice! It feels like coming home to myself.
Ok, well that’s it for today.
And you, how are you doing as the holidays are fast approaching? Will you be hosting or going to social gatherings? Does your social anxiety get triggered this time of year? I’d love to hear how you’re doing. Leave a comment and let’s chat!
I wish you peace,