My anxiety leans heavily toward social. It’s gotten to the point where my breath catches when just thinking about social situations. I put on a good face in public and people seem to like me well enough, but I worry that I’m masking so much to seem socially acceptable that even the people closest to me don’t really know what I’m like. I catch myself over-analysing even the tiniest social queues I give out, like I’m acting in a movie. I’m nearly 25, but still feel like a scared 13-year-old when I’m with people. Can anyone relate, and if so, how do you cope with these feelings?
Anxiety (Including GAD)
Honestly I think being aware of it is really important and it seems like you are v aware. Ik it sounds cheesy but maybe try some breathing techniques when you catch yourself feeling that way in social settings. Or for a long time, I had a rubber band on my finger or wrist that I would snap when I was feeling anxious. Not the best coping mechanism I guess but it felt like a good way to fidget and distract myself
Journaling can be a small place to start. You’re already (probably painfully) aware of your feelings so journaling what your anxiety is telling you then gently correcting it might help you shift your perspective. For example, anxiety says you said something weird and now no one is going to like you. That’s all or nothing thinking and it’s not true. Other people say weird things all the time and if people really do give up that easily then you probably wouldn’t want them as true friends anyway. Telling anxiety that the thought wasn’t helpful and not needed, your taking control back. Sitting with how ridiculous some anxious thoughts are and correcting them before you’re in a social situation can help you notice them and deflect them when you are in a social situation. Also having something to fidget with, like jewellery, can be beneficial. Also having someone you really trust to talk to and slowly lift that mask is helpful. It’s scary and will probably cause more anxiety in the short term but long term it’s better. Once your brain realises you can talk to people and you didn’t die, it’ll get better. Best wishes ❤️
I totally understand what you’re talking about. Sometimes it feels to me like a big show, and I’m just a part of it. I believe in “fake it until you make it”, so I keep playing it until it’ll feel natural
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