“How to overcome social anxiety,” is something that I never thought I’d be able to answer, let alone conquer. Up until a few years ago, I had been dealing with crippling, humiliating and cringe-worthy social anxiety on a daily basis. I had become a punching bag; the self imposed sacrificial lamb of every social interaction. I was a nervous wreck and consistently inconsistent because I couldn’t keep up with the lies I had told, just to elevate my coolness and mask the utter uncool that my truth had become. I didn’t stand for anything because I had acquiesced to a lifetime subscription of the “trying but always failing,” self sabotage and attracting relationships, circumstances and situations that catered to the my fears.
Have you ever watched someone dance at a wedding and they’re so incredibly bad, you can’t even enjoy having a laugh as they gyrate around like a banshee in heat because you’re too embarrassed just WATCHING them? It literally hurts to watch it all go down. That person recreating some sort of asexual, “I-just-walked-into-a-spider-web” gyration around the dance floor, pretending to come across like they’re an extra in a Drake video but looking like they’re going through some kind of convulsatory “don’t-ever-have-sex-with-me” fit, was ME.
The only difference was that the dance floor was my everyday life.
To make matters worse, this was pre laser hair removal and I looked like an ape with braces who couldn’t fill out a training bra (still can’t). I hated the way I looked, but I also subconsciously convinced myself that I was decent enough to go after men and friends that always ended up highlighting the very attributes I tried to conceal with all my might.
I’d always hash and rehash every conversation, interaction, occasion and relationship I had. As I grew up and inevitably accumulated more abandonments, rejections, friendsh*ts, relationsh*ts and breakups (as we ALL do), it only got worse. Whenever I’d approach any social situation, I would start sweating profusely.
As if my mind wasn’t f*cking me hard enough, my body had to now chime in as well.
Years passed and it must have started to effect me on a hormonal level because my skin would get hot, red, and breakout – all while my armpits morphed into faucets and I tried to keep it all together. I would sweat if I was standing in the snow. It got so bad, I wouldn’t wear certain colors because of my sweating problem. I had no idea how to overcome social anxiety – anxiety that had now taken over my life.
Whenever I knew a certain social situation/event was approaching, I would disproportionately value the event and overly “prepare” every day leading up to it so I could really, this time, WOW everyone and prove them (& my low self esteem self), “wrong.” I would ultimately always FAIL/disappoint/breakout into a beard of zits the morning of, etc. I then began to rely on having to have a few drinks just to feel like I could carry a conversation with someone.
This ended up robbing me of ever having relationships with emotional intimacy because I was always “auditioning,” and never listening – to my gut or the other person.
Then one day, I got so sick of the bullsh*t that I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed to know how to overcome social anxiety. It was stupid and it wasn’t good for my well being. I decided right then and there that I was done. Something needed to change, I just didn’t know what.
Today, I thankfully don’t need a drop of alcohol, 167351 deodorants in my purse, or any kind of pep talk to enter whatever social situation life throws at me. HOW?