In the previous article I was talking about social awkwardness from its fun side. This time I’m going to take a more serious approach to this topic because it really isn’t very funny for a person that is suffering from social anxiety.
I’m going to share with you my own experience:
Most people get anxious about social situations from time to time. But with me, anxiety took control and kept me from living.
I’ve felt afraid of people from the time I was a kid, and this continued to get worse as I got older. I had bucked teeth and a speech problem. I felt very different from other kids. My peers physically and verbally attacked me for years. I felt ashamed and humiliated because I was unable to defend myself, so I didn’t tell anybody what was happening to me. I felt safe nowhere and I trusted no one. I became afraid to go outside. I often pretended to be sick so I wouldn’t have to face the kids at school. I avoided situations that I thought might cause me anxiety. Because I was isolated, I didn’t know what normal was.
I sat in class frozen, afraid to attract attention. I saw people participating in social activities I found impossible and I couldn’t understand where they found the courage, so I thought I was a weak willed coward. I was crippled by feelings of dread that jabbed at me out of nowhere. I was afraid I’d melt if I left my emotions be seen by other people.
I dissociated from my feelings and memories to cope with the fear and anger buried deep inside. I insulated myself by isolating in my room and rocking to music for hours on end. I found this comforting, but I couldn’t stop and it consumed my time. I couldn’t get my homework done and my character growth was stunted.
I came to the point where I thought that living my life, every day worrying about what others thought of me and every day feeling humiliated and embarrassed for no good reason, and not doing what I wanted to do because of this embarrassment, was not a good way to live.
So I decided that I want to change it. I started to read a lot of books on self help, self acceptance and self love. I discovered that the main reason why I hated to socialize was because my lack of confidence. I believed that there must be something wrong with me. I hated myself and believed I was a completely worthless human being.
It took a few years but thing started to change. I made friends for the first time in my life. What we all had in common was our social awkwardness. For the first time in my life I had a feeling like someone can understand me. We all felt uncomfortable making small talk, doing group projects, meeting new people. We all loved to read, walk in nature, write and we also enjoyed talking to each other about deep interesting topics. It made me feel so much better when I found out I’m not alone in this and it definitely helped me to recover from social anxiety.
Over the years of practice, I am now much better at handling social situations before. Surely, I’m not a social butterfly. I’m still introverted and I prefer to have a few close friends, my ideal Saturday evening is spending time alone reading a book, writing or watching my favorite TV show. But I no longer feel so stressed during conversations, I actually enjoy meeting new people, I can talk to people more easily and effortlessly and people no longer make fun of me or think I am a weirdo.
For me, the cure for social anxiety was self acceptance. Once I stopped believing in my worthlessness, things started to change. I gained self confidence and I was no longer so afraid of what other people thought of me. I started to express my opinions, I started to talk to people and I was surprised when other people finally began treating me as a normal and valuable person.
I want everyone struggling with social anxiety, social awkwardness and extreme shyness to know that it is perfectly curable. If I did it, you can do it too. Remember, you are not alone!!!
Lots of love to you all:)