Social Anxiety is horrible

The older the get the more I am able to cope with anxiety. For a period in my life I had a lot of social anxiety, oh I went out did everything normal people do but I wore a mask. The mask was alcohol and drugs and it enabled me to become someone I wasn’t. Someone who I thought other people wanted to see, I was so wrong. I don’t regret most of it, I had some good times, some bad some crazy.

As I reflect on that period of my life I think now as an older person that I was playing a character. I was acting, I never wanted anyone to know how terrified I really was. I became uninhibited and it was glorious. I met people, I traveled I did stuff that inhibited me would never do. It was unhealthy, it prolonged for me the ability to deal with my anxiety in a healthy way.

It wasn’t until my 30’s that I really started to get a handle on who I really was, why I was the way I was and what I needed to do to be a normal functioning adult. Many people use alcohol as a mask, it doesn’t make them bad people. The problem becomes when the mask takes over who you are. These days we have so much more information on anxiety then we did. Its okay to talk about it now, you will not be sent to rehab for a condition no one understands (yes that happened in the 80’s).

I found a good article about coping with social anxiety. The article quoted an anonymous participant

“[Social anxiety] makes me feel as if I am the only one suffering in that way, and everyone else is just fine with going out and having a good time together. It makes me feel that no one likes me, so why would they want to talk to me? When they do talk to me, I always feel they are trying to find an excuse to get away and go and talk to someone else.”

Sounds familiar. I’m glad I am at the point I am now. I am more confident, I am in a decent place. My struggles now are with invasive thoughts and stress management, but I remember a time when going “out” required a buzz.

Is that where you are at now? If so, you aren’t a bad person. You’re doing great, one day at a time.