“You Can Talk to Us”: Social Anxiety at Work

Social anxiety presents itself in a variety of forms for different people and can be perceived by others in a lot of negative ways. Last week I got called out by a coworker for rarely speaking to the employees on the first floor.

My desk is in the basement along with 3 other workspaces that occupy two part-time employees and one is there twice a week. Most days I am downstairs by myself.

The fridge and microwave are on the first floor so when I arrive in the morning I put my lunch away and come back up a few hours later to get it. In those few moments I am upstairs I try not to make eye contact or speak with anyone else.

bts-v-shy-02
What I look like walking down the hallway at work.

Last week I was walking back to the basement after heating up my lunch when my coworker said, “you know you can talk to us.”

I was dumbfounded. I felt exposed as if she pulled back the curtain to see socially anxious little me hugging my favorite teddy bear.

My anxiety has always told me that nobody wants to talk to me or cares what I have to say. It has made me believe that it is best for me to keep to myself so I don’t bother others.

My response was, “Oh, I can? I thought you were all really busy most of the time.”

She said they aren’t then we proceeded to casually chat for a few minutes.

Over the years, I have shut myself off socially at work.

At my last job I kept to myself except for talking to my supervisor. Most of my other coworkers weren’t friendly so I didn’t speak to them unless necessary.

Nobody has called me out on my social anxiety (except my therapist) so it has become a normal way of living for me. It has definitely given me some perspective on how others view me at work. Something to certainly think about.

Do you have social anxiety? If so, how do you cope with it at work/school?

Also what is your current coping method when you’re struggling with your mental illness?

As you can see from the featured image, my current coping mechanism is BTS. Whether it’s watching their incredible dancing in their music videos or reading along with the translated lyrics, BTS makes me happy in all ways. It also helps that they are all super cute. (If you’re a fellow Army, I love Jin, V and RM most.)

What warms my heart is their lyrics in “Love Yourself” that say, “even the scars that were formed from my mistakes are my very own constellations.” These words are powerful for me because of my history with self-harm.

7 Replies to ““You Can Talk to Us”: Social Anxiety at Work”

  1. I know how it feels having social anxiety…as I wrote about my experiences on my site…and it’s extremely hard for me to face new people that I meet..I become so anxious and nervous..as I still have butterflies to my stomach…I know and understand you completely…my pal..💛 it can be very daunting..like I started a new job recently and I found it so hard to adapt..and found it extremely scary..to make conversation…with others..but we can stay strong..♥️😊 take care…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Starting a new job is so challenging especially the social part!! We aren’t trying to be rude, it’s just hard to be personable with everyone straight away.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a really interesting post. When I was initially recovering from my psychosis, I was so incredibly anxious that I could barely talk to anyone about anything . . .much less my mental illness.
    Things really began to change for me when I began to move into advocacy. I started off by blogging about my experiences anonymously and then that gave me the courage to start volunteering at a local NAMI affiliate. It was super simple work . . just answering the 1-800 line.
    My involvement with NAMI opened up opportunities to move into advocacy. Next thing I know, I’m testifying on behalf of additional funding at the Maryland capital for Crisis Intervention Training for police officers.
    Now my once embarrassing history is part of a worthy purpose. I now don’t have to hide my past because it is part of a brave new journey into advocacy and efforts to help the mentally ill population and make a change in our society to improve its conditions.
    Advocacy has given me something for which to be proud. And I’m excited to do more of it and share my story and the message with other people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to have a good experience with a coworker. I do a lot of meditation breathing in through my nose out through my mouth when I feel nervous to say hi.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Man I haven’t listened to BTS in a while. Anyway, I’ve found a good way to actually get out of my funk is to push myself. I used to shy away but that never solved anything. I’ve been able to start enough conversations that, most of the time, I don’t usually dwell on how I need to start it for too long like I used to.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Really appreciate your post. I have been battling with social anxiety since the last one year. Maybe it has been since before that, but I got called out for it only last year by my father (a doctor) and my therapist. I have this immense aversion to phone calls, and whenever there is a ring, I get all sweaty and my heart beats faster. I dread the discussion, and I rehearse ways to respond to any of the things that might come up in the course of the conversation. But most of the time, I avoid picking up the phone making excuses. Having a phone with a problematic battery helps. But I have lost many a friend due to this habit of social aversion. I don’t think people would understand it. And in my people pleasing avatar, I fight to start conversations. It gets so exhausting. One phone call can take two hours of sleep to compensate my peace of mind. A friend tells me that if you really care and want some people in your life, you have to give effort and go beyond your comfort zones. I can’t help but think in my mind, I wish the people I cared about understood me and didn’t judge my love for them on the basis of my receiving calls or not. Anyway, I thought of sharing just one of the many aspects of social anxiety that I face. It’s a daily struggle and it helps to know that I am not alone in this.

    Like

  6. I had to read when I saw the bts boys gif

    Glad u found something to make you smile

    Yes, Kpop can do that

    And Korean trot music too

    I have a few selections on my blog, if u ever wanna have a listen

    Cheers!
    🌅🍄

    Like

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