Social Anxiety – This Isn’t Me

I’ve never dealt with social anxiety before.  I thrived off of interactions with friends and coworkers.  I loved going out and I enjoyed being busy.  Now I find myself grappling with a lot of social anxiety.

I signed up for a baby sign language class with C.  Once per week, we’re supposed to be at a local community center by 9:30am and spend an hour at class.  There’s circle time and play time, and I need to make small talk with other parents that I don’t know.  For the past few months, I find it almost impossible to manage small talk.  My mind goes blank and I start to get sweaty and uncomfortable.  I feel like everyone is looking at me and they’re all judging me.

I overcame my anxiety to attend the first class, but last week C and I stayed at home.  I didn’t feel well, and I’m not sure how much of that was caused by my PPD and anxiety.  I couldn’t fathom being stuck in a room for an hour with a bunch of strangers, forced to chat with them.

Sign language is something I’d really like to learn for C.  I’d love to be able to bridge the communication gap and help him “talk” to us before he learns to verbalize his needs.  It also would stink to lose out on the $50 I paid for the class!

Do you have any tips for overcoming social anxiety?  Rationally, I know that others aren’t judging me like I think they are.  I just can’t stop myself from thinking and feeling these things.  I look forward to enjoying being social again.  Someday, it’ll be nice to feel like my outgoing self.

Comments

  1. sensoryspeak1979 says:

    I struggle w/ this daily. For me this has been something I’ve dealt w/ since I’ve been middle-school age.

    Here’s how I’m trying to work on it (although I’m still in the very beginning stages). First off, I’m trying really hard to journal. I’m trying to journal when I’m feeling down, and while I am writing down some of my negative thoughts/feelings I’m also trying to bring to light the things I’m thankful for. I also try to write down some good characteristics about myself. To remember I do have good qualities and that my family/friends do like me most of the time :) I need to remind myself what those good qualities are. It helps me keep a more positive mindset. I’m also working on some deep breathing. Whether you try yoga or whatever, deep breathing exercises are supposed to be great for self-regulation. Breathing in through your nose, holding it for a couple of seconds, and exhaling trains your brain to self-soothe and realize it’s not as bad as we think it is. The other thing I try to remind myself is that when I’m put in a situation w/ people I don’t know very well I try to talk about things that I know we have in common. Since you’re going to a baby sign language class maybe talk about your kids. The things you do w/ your kids daily. Keep it about the kids and your families and then you take the pressure off of focusing on yourself. You don’t have to feel like you’re being evaluated and judged. I also try to remember that I don’t have to talk all the time. Some silence is okay. Other people will interject and sometimes silence is golden.

    Hang in there mama! I know what you’re going through, and I know how hard it is to just pull yourself out of those thoughts/feelings. *Hugs* Remember I’m always around if you need to talk!

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