My Social Anxiety Life Part Seven

I haven’t updated much lately about my social anxiety. It has been my most talked subject and yet I am still working towards resolutions. Since my anxiety has been a lot higher over the last month and a half, with it decreasing the past week, my therapist thought it best to postpone tackling my social anxiety until the new year, and I actually concurred with her idea.

It still doesn’t mean its not on my mind today.

it makes sense. I chronicled in my blog post Changes how effective my new doses of Ativan and Seroquel are making it easier to deal with my anxiety at night, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am leaving my house less and less over the past few weeks. Its Thursday and it has been a week since I have made the trip outside my house to my favorite coffee shop. Its a combination of stress and a couple of bad days, but I long to get back on track.

It happens that way a lot with my the seasonal component of my Bipolar One diagnosis, but I am sensing a trend that my social anxiety also increases during this time of year.

I am just getting to a good enough place where I feel my anxiety isn’t controlling my every second, and there have been extenuating circumstances yesterday that made any plans yesterday outside the comfort of my house even a little possible.

Still, there were days this past week where I made the choice to stay in because, as much as my anxiety has decreased, it is still an issue to be outside my house this winter. The last time out I only lasted about an hour before having to go back home. I also have had my issues with Car Anxiety. During the summer and late fall, I was at my favorite coffee shop four days out of my week.

Social anxiety and being out there in the world is something that is still an issue for me, but it is also something I will work on in 2018. That could mean immersing myself in situations that would cause my social anxiety to spiral, like going to see a movie. It makes me sad to think that I couldn’t watch the latest Star Wars movie because a crowded theater is a trigger for me.

One thing I plan on trying next year is rove to different coffee shops. I think it could be effective for me. I love writing in coffee shops, anyone who follows my blog knows how much time I love to spend in my favorite place writing and drinking my favorite coffee drink.

But I have used that as an excuse to now go outside my comfort zone. How can I work on the triggers of my social anxiety if I never actually do anything outside my comfort zone? Maybe I can see a movie with a group of friends that understands my anxiety and can help me through it.

I want to change in the coming year. I have learned so much sharing my story and to be honest I need to take that next step when it comes to my mental health. I could go to the beach. I used to love the beach and its ten minutes away. I will, in 2018, fight once and for all against my anxiety. I am excited about the new year.

So I wanted to ask my fellow bloggers this, what are some things that help with your social anxiety? Any suggestions on how I can go out into the world to better understand my triggers?

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoTom Sodoge

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54 Replies to “My Social Anxiety Life Part Seven”

  1. Hello James, I think this time of year creates more stress for those of us with anxiety. I have felt an increase in it within myself. Personally, I find going with the flow easier than constantly berating myself for my perceived failings. I know I’m doing it, so I try to keep it in check. I try to be kind to myself, I talk to my husband … I am lucky he is a wonderful loving guy, so I count my blessings. I have car anxiety due to a very weak spine that fractures easily. I am in a lot of pain and get tired easily so I am quite restricted. I am going to see friends soon for a party. I will need to be seated as I can’t stand too long. I used to be confident and the life and soul … now I am silently dreading being in a social environment simply because of my lack of interaction and reduced social confidence. I am just trying to set myself small, easy to achieve goals. Nothing too big. I meditate, as you know. That creates a lot of inner strength and well being for me. I feel we try to hard, when really, perhaps those of us who are struggling need to be more compassionate towards ourselves. If we take the pressure off then that makes things easier. I try to do things in my day that bring me joy. Mobility is an issue, however, watching the birds in the garden, chatting with my husband, eating a mince pie with cream (a UK thing,) I guess, what I am trying to say, is enjoying the small pleasures in life, … being compassionate, loving, and kind towards ourselves, not judging our moods or fears too harshly, treating ourselves with love and respect, and going gently, softly, baby steps … that is the most peaceful way that I find to cope. I hope you make it to the pictures. Maybe leaving it until the big rush is over might take the pressure of crowd anxiety away? Or going at a time when it won’t be so busy? I hope you are doing ok. Thinking of you. 🌻

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your own experiences and for the kind words. I am doing okay. I think the idea of going when their is less people like first showing could ease me into a manageable situation. I will try that and see where that goes. I sometimes forget that the little things that get us through life is what makes living worth it. I need to stop more and appreciate the little things. Thank you sharing this with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If we lived in the same city I’d definitely meet up with you at a coffee shop or even head to a movie! We could be anxious together! Strength in numbers, right?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Strength in numbers would be great. I think that is part of my issue, I am always alone. I know I prefer it that way but maybe taking on some of the things that tigger my social anxiety can be done with people I trust. I hate though being a burden if I have to leave early.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think having someone with you for the movie thing might be a good idea. As far as I have come, there are places I won’t walk in to by myself. My social skills started improving when I learned to pla guitar and sing, much later in life. When you play music, people just come up to you and want to know you. I wish I knew that when I was a youth. If you decide it is something you really want to do, you will eventually manage it. If it is something you are being forced to do like appointments and family get togethers, parties, then it probably will cause you even more anxiety. I think focusing on the things that are most important to you to be able to do is most important. Medication. Right dosage etc. Is also just as important. 2018 will be better.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Medication is very important and it is why I am not rushing to do things until next year. My dosage just changed there might be a need for more balance. Thank you for sharing about music. I am not even remotely musically inclined. My talents are in the written word, but it was a greasy suggestion and I appreciate your comment and feedback.

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    1. I sometimes with my anxiety was more in the realm of generalized anxiety, not that either one is worse, but to not be able to leave my house because of social situations is never fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. U know i should be giving to suggestions to get out of it, or how to handle it. But i end up saying ‘its relatable again’… cause i think i have social anxiety too… everything you say or write is so relatable. But it isnt worse. Just, at times.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can understand that, just be careful. My social anxiety got worse over the years because I ignored the triggers and just believed it would eventually go away. It’s okay to not have an answer.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know how you do on the phone… I have a hard time talking to people on the phone.. But you could try calling the theater and asking them when is their slowest time or showing?… might have to wait a week or two after the film comes out…. If you are worried they will know it is you when you show up… You could lie and say you want to know because a bunch of people or family want to go… Then when you get there they will be looking for a bunch of people and not know it was you that called… Worth a shot… Might have to only see the movie with a few people rather than a crowded theater…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi! I just started following your site. Writing can be very therapeutic and I hope to be able to follow your thoughts as you choose to share them.

    Social anxiety is a very difficult issue to deal with. I don’t qualify as “clinical”, but understand how frustrating it can be to want to go out and make friends and interact with people, and yet feel paralyzed when the opportunity arises.

    I really like your consideration about doing something with a group of friends. There is something comforting about having a trusted companion beside you that you know is not going to abandon you to the crowd.
    Perhaps watching a movie during a less popular showing time would be less stressful for you? Smaller, quieter crowds tend to offer less mental and emotional stimulation to try to keep track of.
    Agreeing with your friend on a time limit for any social activity can also be helpful. Even 5 or 10 minutes to start with. It can help to relieve the feeling of being trapped when you can’t see an end to the situation. If your friend understands the need to support your progress, then (s)he will be ready to help you make a graceful exit when necessary. Having a good ending can perhaps contribute to helping you look forward to the next social meeting?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing these ideas with me and they could all work. I will try to use what you have written here in my own life. And yes, a good ending could be just what I need to actually change my thoughts to positive ones and to look forward to my next social meeting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Another option for seeing movies is to see if you have any 2nd or 3rd run theaters near you. They get movies after the big theaters have finished showing them. They tend to be much less crowded, and as a bonus, much cheaper. Getting to the theater early really helps me, so I can choose a seat where I’m most comfortable. If you sit on the end of the row, and put your jacket on the seat next to you, it forms a little buffer zone. I hope you get to see the movie with your friends!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. There are some brilliant suggestions here already James. I think it’s personal to you, but small steps are best. I found it really useful to make a ladder of steps, each increasing in difficulty/threat. Then you’ve got to do them one by one. It gets easier and easier along the way. I also found thought grids massively helpful…. I’d break down why I was worried about a situation, what thought was going through my head, and then find evidence to support or disprove it. Usually, this would give me the confidence to go try the next step on the ladder (maybe starting at trying a new coffee shop and after a number of steps between, ending in a trip to the cinema.) Keep doing what you’re doing 😃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have used this in CBT and I think what you talked about here could be very helpful. You are right, baby steps are my best chance. I am the type of person that wants the fix now and so I will push a social situation too far. Thanks for the suggestion la Miss Steer.

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  8. I can relate to a lot of things you’ve written here. I think one of the things that helps me the most is to reduce social pressure – so not to make lots of plans weeks in advance but maybe a smaller plan the day before. I don’t know if that would help you or not, but it seems to give me less anxiety as there’s less of a build up. Exploring different coffee shops sounds like a great plan!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. so i thought really hard about your post and the best way i can approach this cause am not familiar with anxiety, but what really got to me is the fact that you have made up your mind to overcome your anxieties, i think you should hold on to that light and start making preparations from now, you could write a list of your fears and face them one by one each day starting from now, write down what you know you love and cant have cause of your anxieties and face them too, its not going to be easy, far from it, but you can overcome them, you have the power to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this. I am currently working on this, charting what my thoughts are and the causes. How I can battle these thoughts. It’s all in my CBT training so far. Thank you this, it means the world when my fellow bloggers give suggestions.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. All I can say is I admire the hell out of your bravery to even adventure out and understand your triggers!! I raise a coffee cup to you good sir ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I still stand by you getting a doggie 🐶, my anxiety is not nearly what it was since Ted came into my life. My therapist recommended it! I will always be grateful to her for nudging me to make the right decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am working on the anxiety dog with my therapist. I had some questions about it how do you go about doing it? My therapist is trying to find information about it. Anything you can help me with would be great.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I researched breeds that went well with my personality. I decided on a Bichon because they’re super friendly and hypoallergenic. I then found a breeder and got this guy. You could also search on petfinder.com. We’ve spent so much time together he’s come to know my moods and when I need extra support.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. i am finding that reading philosophy helps me somewhat. the stoic ideas of what is in my control (my thoughts) and what is out of my control (pretty much everything else) is proving somewhat beneficial. so is talking to myself about the things and situations i may encounter while i’m out. practice runs of a type before i leave the house.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Anxieties are usually related to some sort of a hidden fear that you have encountered long ago, and in order to get rid of it, you must find out what that fear that was instilled in you long ago was, then, slowly, resolve it, for you to be completely “cured” from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Meditation and yoga helped with my social anxiety and depression. Try doing some easy yoga classes at home by yourself from YouTube tutorials. Podcasts on medication are great too, especially before falling asleep or on your way to a social event. Good luck with everything, you got this !

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I definitely agree, this time of year is particularly stressful. Sometimes simply acknowledging that I am anxious and accepting that there isn’t anything I can do about it takes away some of the stress

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anxiety is often out of the realm of our control. And as you say sometimes me have to accept that, it helps to find ways to get ahead of anxiety as well. That is my goal for the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Would you like to go to the movie theater at a time when it’s less crowded, like late at night or early Sunday afternoon when a lot of people are at church?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My strategies for anxiety are usually: walking a lot. The exercise and rhythm moving even if it’s just laps around my backyard are super helpful. Having escape options planned and knowing I could leave at any time. And third which is a bit morbid I always ask myself the question is this likely to actually kill me? If the answer is no, I remind my Brain of that often. And that has actually been super freeing for me over the years and loads of rinse and repeat. With my barometer as death, I can set aside shame embarrassment fear of failure and all of that. Anxiety and panic attacks are uncomfortable and frightening but they won’t actually kill me and that for me makes them less powerful and controlling. But I get that that might not work for everyone. Lol. Oh and I do a lot of the age old fake it till you make it. And I always remember chances are no one else cares or even notices what I’m doing, humans are often incredibly egotistic and with noses stuck in their phones even less observant than before which is a yay. One step at a time. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also for social interactions I once read a quote that I found incredibly helpful and has proved true time and time again “the art of conversation is being interested not being interesting”. And it is super easy to get people talking about themselves so often if you keep asking questions. Takes so much social pressure off for me.

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