My Social Anxiety Led Me To Acceptance And A Better Outlook On Life

My Social Anxiety Led Me To Acceptance And A Better Outlook On Life

How could I understand something I didn't even know existed? All I knew, was that stress encompassed my life and I couldn't run away from it.


First and Foremost

I don't reveal this aspect about myself to a lot of people, and there's a reason behind why. I'd say that before this article goes live, only about 3 people know. And sometimes I think to myself, is social anxiety such a big thing that I even need to share it with anyone? And the answer to that my friends is yes.

What is Social Anxiety?

For a more academic and straightforward definition, you can read this article. But here is a simpler way of understanding it: Social anxiety is the stress of normal, everyday situations heightened to a point where it's too much to handle. So much so, that avoiding all social contact that other people consider "normal" -- like making small talk and eye contact -- make you so uncomfortable. All aspects of your life, not just the social, could start to fall apart. All socially anxious people have different reasons for dreading certain situations. But in general, it's an overwhelming fear of being judged by others in social situations, being embarrassed or humiliated -- and showing it by blushing or shaking, or accidentally offending someone.

Social Anxiety for me

The parts of social anxiety that I experience the most are dressing in ways that won't make me stand out, not being able to tolerate crowded places where people have the opportunity to judge me, and acting in such a pristine way around people I don't know so that there's no room for me to mess up a conversation or make it awkward. Ultimately, what I want to avoid, is being the center of attention. Social anxiety happens to me every single day. It's not something I can turn on or off. And I struggle to make it less obvious that it already is. Each day is a battle starting from when I leave my room until I'm back in my safe space.

Whenever I am put in uncomfortable situations, all I can think of is that I can't represent myself in a way that isn't mature or appropriate for my age. I'm always thinking a level ahead. My day is organized depending on what kind of environment I'll be in, how much social interaction I'll have to go through, and what kind of people I have to interact with. So much detail and thinking go into these normal, everyday activities, making me even more stressed. Because of this, I like to call myself an introverted chameleon who changes their personality, attitude, and actions based on the person I am interacting with. Why do I do this? Because my social anxiety triggers the mindset that I can't let anyone see my flaws or that I am somehow imperfect. It sounds silly writing that but that's how it feels. If I show my true self, I become an open book and fear that I will be judged and stand out when all I want to do is blend in and not be noticed. It's not because I'm ashamed of who I am, it's more so because I don't want to share myself with anyone else. I am my own person and if I don't keep that person to myself, I am becoming just like everyone else, no longer unique and part of the norm. More importantly, I become vulnerable to strangers.

When did it all start?

During Winter 2017 and throughout the Spring 2018 semester, I realized, experienced, handled, whatever way you want to say it…a lot of change. I learned things about myself, people, relationships, maturity, and life in general. I learned not to have the single story, to be accepting of people who have different personalities, beliefs, and cultures, but most importantly: to be aware of myself and who I am as a person. I was introduced to the world of social anxiety and became fully aware that I had it. I can honestly and confidently say that since knowing I have an actual disorder, I have a much better sense of self and of the world around me. But unfortunately, my life didn't reflect that at the time. I lost friendships because of how I changed and because of the decisions I made that were for my best interest.

The Juicy Part

During my time of self-discovery, I had a conversation with someone who I thought of as a friend. My experience with this person was harsh and cold and opened my eyes to people who may not accept you the way you are. I was changing as a person and realizing things about myself I didn't know before. It was new for me but extremely necessary. After revealing my newfound struggle with social anxiety to my friend, he did not understand my feelings and did not want to accept that everything I was saying was true. I expressed things about my personality for the first time to someone else truthfully, and this was their reply:

"I hate who you are now. Everything was cool, we were great until you went and did whatever you did with that person. Nothing was wrong with you, you were fine."

This is why I don't tell people. I don't want to scare people off or make them think that they're a burden to me. I just want to make people aware of it so that they can understand me better.

Thank u, next

The moral of this article is to enlighten you about the reality of social anxiety. Especially if it's something you don't have and know nothing about. And in a broader sense, I hope this helps you see that everyone is different. Every day we conform to our own views that have already been falsely shaped by the negatives and bias of today's society and media. But it's important that we realize what's real and to avoid always being right or wrong. It's about coming to terms with yourself and how you affect other people. It's about creating a space inside your own mind that lets you see more positives than negatives and how it's more important to be at peace rather than influence the disorder and destruction of judgment, harm, and conflict. This may have been an intense read. But for the people that stuck through it till the end, I hope you learned something new.

Popular Right Now

10 Bible Verses for Self Esteem

Sometimes you need to search for inner strength and find your own self worth.

We all get those days that we just don't feel good enough for anything. Everything is going wrong. For me, I go to the bible to read the words of God. His personal dialog for us is filled with encouragement, hope, and lessons we can learn from. Here are my top ten verses that are uplifting and impacting when at the lowest of lows:

1. Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

2. Psalm 46:5

God is within her, she will not fall.

3. Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

4. Psalm 28:76

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

5. 1 Corinthians 25:10

By the grace of God, I am what I am.

6. Romans 5:8

I loved you at your darkest.

7. Psalm 62:5-6

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

8. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

9. 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The battle is not ours, but God's.

Cover Image Credit: chinadaily

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An Open Letter To The Person Feeling Everything Is Too Much

The strongest people to exist struggle the most.


Hey, you.

I heard through the grapevine that life's got you in the dumps. You're feeling overwhelmed by your surroundings, stressed by your responsibilities, sensitive to the things that people are saying; everything just feels like it is too much. It almost feels like you're stuck in a room filling up with water. You know that the door opens, but you're numbed by the circumstances; you can't get yourself to take hold of that handle, so you just stand there, frozen in time. You feel the water rising up around your body, and with every inch it gains, you get even more overwhelmed. Maybe the water flooding in contains your schoolwork, your family dynamic, your drama within your friend group, your relationship status, internal anger about who you are or aren't, or hell, maybe all of these.

You feel like life is throwing rogue waves at you left and right, and you can't understand it. Why is this happening to me? Why is life trying to break me?

Well, let me tell you something that has taken me years to even grasp, let alone fully understand.

The strongest people to exist struggle the most. They are given some of the most intricately woven issues that may not have a black and white solution but live somewhere within the gray. Things pile up and upon them until everything feels like too much. And you know what they do, the strongest people to exist?

They break.

They stand there, trapped in that water-filling room, and let the water seep in. They don't open that door, they don't take the easy way out. They stand there, thinking about what is being thrown at them, not knowing what to do. They let the water overwhelm them, completely filling the room. And right when they feel that they can't take this anymore, like everything is too much, the door breaks... they break. The strongest become the weakest as they float out of the room, carried by the rushing water filled with their burdens. They lay washed up on the shore, weaker than ever... broken and cracked, frozen and numbed by life.

While they lay there broken and numb, weakness does something so immaculate and beautiful: it settles into the brokenness and the cracks like fresh, fertile soil, planting the seeds of wisdom and strength. Over time as it continues to rain, wisdom and strength grow throughout their bones like vines, making them even stronger than they were before they got trapped in that room before they broke. The strongest people to exist break frequently, so that room can be made for more love, more strength, and more wisdom than imaginable.

Now you may be thinking, why this analogy? What are you getting at?

I want you to know, and read this closely: it is okay to break. It's okay to let everything feel like it's too much because you know what? Sometimes it is, it just is. Sometimes, you have to just stand there, and let yourself feel. Let it explode and wash over you. Let it leave you cracked. Once the explosion has ridden its course. analyze the broken pieces you feel inside. Look at them individually and try to find the root of that feeling. Finding the knowledge behind that feeling means that you now know how to fight back. So you know what you do? You piece yourself back together, slowly but surely, using wisdom as the glue, and you come back stronger than ever before.

You have to break before you can grow. Let yourself feel, feel all of it. Break and be grown anew.

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