Post #2 Thinking Out Loud (About Social Anxiety
Talking to people about my social anxiety has helped a lot.
Like anything, I think it’s wise to be selective about who to confide in, but in my experience, explaining my situation to close friends and family was a positive step and the support I got was invaluable.
They may not fully understand social anxiety at first and this can be frustrating at times. However, explaining its affect you and perhaps sharing some information on social anxiety with them can help. To be honest,I was pleasantly surprised at how understanding people can be.
As I mentioned in my first post, talking to fellow sufferers is really worthwhile because they understand exactly what you’re going through. They’ve been a source of great support, inspiration and empathy to me over the past eight months.
My only lingering concerns about being completely open about social anxiety from two things:
Firstly, the more progress I make in breaking free from social anxiety, the less I want to be defined by it. I also believe that there’s still progress to be made in Ireland regarding perceptions of mental health issues.
Secondly, I’m slightly concerned and unsure about the possible impact being more open about my social anxiety would have on my employment prospects. This is why I’ve decided to contribute to this blog anonymously.
These are just my own thoughts on the matter at the moment. I know others are willing to talk publicly about their experiences with social anxiety and other mental health issues and I think that’s terrific. Who knows, one day, with a bit of convincing, I might be persuaded to follow suit!
I also think it can be a good idea to be more open about being anxious, without necessarily mentioning social anxiety. I used to put so much energy into trying to hide my anxiety before I came to terms with that fact that being anxious to some degree is a normal part of being human. Anxiety about appearing anxious can create a vicious cycle that can be very draining and hard to break out of.
My experiments of casually remarking to people that I’m a bit nervous about something have worked out well and have actually been quite liberating. What I found surprising was that though it may not appear to be the case, most people share many of the same concerns.
I’ve started to see that not having social anxiety doesn’t mean not feeling anxious at all, it simply means getting your anxiety down to the normal and manageable levels that are a part of almost everyone’s lives.
I’d really like to hear some of your thoughts and experiences on talking about social anxiety so please leave a comment if you can.