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SOCIAL ANXIETY || I Had A Break Through.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Night Out, Social Anxiety, Overcoming anxiety, mhbloggers, mental health awareness, it's OK to not be OK,
PHOT SOURCE: Publicdomainpictures.net

Over the Christmas holidays I felt extremely anxious for some reason. Like most bouts of anxiety there was no explanation as to what was behind it, it just happens. It was a social time of year with lots for us to look forward to and I can only assume that was the reason behind it.

Social anxiety has always hit me hard. When I was a lot younger and would go out all the time I would find myself suffering social anxiety a hell of a lot more. If I was going out with a new group of friends or to a new place I would be so nervous about it I would feel sick. I would find myself looking for excuses not to go. I would feel my chest tighten and I would fill up to the brim with dread.

Back then I kept it to myself though. I didn't know what it was that made me feel that way and just thought I was a freak. I didn't understand how I could be looking forward to something so much only to find myself frantically wanting to get out of it at the 11th hour.

Obviously that was years ago and I have since learnt that it was all caused by anxiety and that while not everyone has it or understands it I am not a freak and am not the only person in the world who suffers it or feels that way.

It never goes away, like a lot of things in life you have to learn to deal with it differently and most importantly not let it win. It isn't always easy and when your anxiety is accompanied by such a low mood that you don't feel like being social then I feel the sensible option is to admit defeat and not go but if you are in a good mood and WANT to go then it is important to try and push through those feelings.

I did this over the Christmas holidays when a party I had been looking forward to for absolutely AGES was finally upon us and I found myself suddenly experiencing that feeling of dread and that panic and awkwardness. I was honest with Patrick about how I was feeling and while he doesn't always know what to say he knows it hinders me and said that we didn't have to go if I didn't want to.

I'm not sure about anyone else but it always makes me feel humiliated. I feel so stupid and vulnerable.

I wasn't going to feel that way though. I started getting ready.....

Usually I would let those feelings overwhelm me and get to a time of night where it was too late to get ready, don comfy clothes and spend the evening feeling sorry for myself. As the night would roll by I would find myself regretting my actions more and more and seeing uploads on social media made me upset and angry that I was missing out.

I wasn't going to let that happen this time.

I picked my outfit, did my make up and styled my hair. I took my time and enjoyed getting ready. When it was time to go I didn't think about it, just as I hadn't been thinking about it while I got ready and we got in the car and went.

And I am so glad that I did that because we had the BEST time.

It was the best night out I have had in ages; we met some lovely new people, laughed, chatted and the night just flew by. Before we knew it was the early hours of the morning and we were trying to nab a taxi number off of someone.

I was immensely proud of myself for fighting against those urges to stay in and those feelings of anxiety in order to still go out on a night out I had been looking forward to and enjoy myself. I will definitely do it again if I feel that way in the future.

The main actions I feel really helped were:

BE HONEST - I told Patrick how I was feeling and discussed it with him rather than being quiet and moody.

DIDN'T OVERTHINK - I didn't feel down and knew I did want to go so I made a point of not overthinking it all and just got ready to go.

BREATHED! - Sounds silly but I was mindful of my breathing and kept calm about it all. I didn't allow myself to feel any panic about going out.

MADE SOME RULES FOR THE NIGHT - Before going, I told Patrick that if I didn't feel the evening was going well after a while of being there I would want to go home and explained that if he wanted to stay he could do but I would need to go. It sounds dramatic but I have been in social situations before where anxiety has taken over and ruined my night as well as others, it never ends well. So rather than suffering in silence and appearing moody or erratic it is best to be honest.

If you have had a recent success with anxiety too then let me know about it! and make sure you celebrate yourself, it is a hard and lonely illness sometimes and hard to live with and overcome certain attacks so if you manage it then you are AWESOME.

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