My seventh grade year I wanted to go out for the junior high school basketball team. I didn’t know anyone at the first open gym I went to. I didn’t go back that year.
My mom found my senior prom date and MADE ME GO because I had no date and didn’t want to go even though I knew all of my friends would be there and I would regret not going.
My sophomore year in college, I was invited to informally rush one of the sororities on campus. One of my few friends on campus (I was a commuter) had joined our freshman year and had introduced me to a few of her sisters. But a handful out of 60 or so girls weren’t enough for me to feel comfortable going to the rush party. I cried. I didn’t want to go. My mom PUSHED me out of the house and she may even have locked the door. (I went to the party and ended up joining the sorority, but I had 3 heart attacks on the way to the party.)
As an adult, I’ve recognized that I have symptoms of social anxiety disorder. I haven’t ever been treated for it, but I’ve noticed that as I get older, it seems to be getting a bit worse. So, I know I’m at a time that I may need to consider treatment because our mental health is a big part of our well being as a whole and this is something I want to “fix”. My anxiety can get so bad at times that it is physically painful to me. It makes me want to sleep because when I sleep, I don’t feel the that pain. (Sometimes I do sleep it away.) It would be easy to tell myself to just do it, but when it comes to anxiety, sometimes just doing it isn’t possible.
But there are other times that I want to conquer my fears. It may take me a while to build up the courage, but I know that once I get myself into the “social situation” and survive it with minimal heart attacks, I can have no problems doing it again. Also, conquering higher anxiety situations help me to get through lower anxiety situations.
I know this may not be the best way to handle my social anxiety, but it works for me and I end up pretty damn proud of myself. So, today, for my Thursday Three, I’m going to give you three social situations that I have conquered.
1. Speaking in front of peers in meetings. This is a big one. In school I would make myself sick before having to give an oral report, but my senior year in college, the head of the math department told the 5 of us math majors that we would have to complete an oral exam in front of all of the math professors on all four years of our major. If you didn’t do it or didn’t pass, you wouldn’t get your diploma. I received the highest grade, and in my job now have led team training meetings. (However, I still interview poorly….hmmmm, I really need to work on that.)
2. Eating in restaurants alone. I’m not sure why I decided this one needed to be conquered, but I did, so one day, before going Christmas shopping, I went to a restaurant, and had a beer and lunch, all by myself. I’ll never forget walking out of that restaurant feeling like I was a strong, independent woman. (Yeah, I was cheesing big time.)
3. This one happened just on Tuesday. I’ve been wanting a new tattoo for a while now, and finally decided on the design I wanted, so I drew it up, and wondered who I was going to get to go with me. Then it was mentioned to me, “why not go alone?” Interesting thought. But here’s the thing. I have a “thing” with people I don’t know touching me. If I have met you and talked to you in any way and consider you my friend, I’m fine with all things hugs, but if I don’t, I just don’t like to be touched. With my first tattoo, I had a friend with me, so all was fine. To go alone was a whole other ballgame. But I did it. I walked into that tattoo shop, sat and waited my turn, and the artist indeed had to touch my neck to get the tattoo on it, and I survived. I got my tattoo. Alone. And I walked out of that shop smiling like a fool.
By no means do these things cure my anxiety. But they do help. And that proud feeling you have when you accomplish something big is amazing. So, what I want from you are either 3 fears you have conquered or 3 fears you would like to conquer. So, let me have it!
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