How I dealt with Social Anxiety.
For pretty much the last 5 years I’ve had a struggle with social interactions and for the most part I couldn’t give a reason for the way I behaved, I just sort of excepted that I was different from most people. I have always been Overthinking my actions and the actions of those around me to the point of been unable to sleep as I’m spending all night thinking about things that people have said and I took it a different way than it was intended.
When I started my fourth year of secondary the social anxiety was getting more and more stronger, as the year progressed I was feeling more and more isolated from those around me and I was starting to lose control about how the anxiety was effecting me and stared becoming desperate to make friends this often resulted in me acting in a dangerous and immature way just so that People would hang around me. Towards the end of my forth year the anxiety got so bad that I started to have seizures many times a day and they happened at every possible time be that home or at school. I couldn’t control them.
The seizures continued for several months progressively getting more and more frequent at their worst I was blacking out up to 50 times a day. Then in the summer of 2014 I was upstairs when I had another seizure however this time I ended up hitting my head on the head board of my bed and as I result I lost my memory for 8 weeks. Eventually my memory returned and when it did I started working to find out why I was having so many seizures. After months of therapy and talking to different professionals I found out that there is a possibility that I could have traits of Asperger syndrome.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any medicine that can be issued to help me deal with my social anxiety so I’ve had to come up with my own coping strategies for dealing with the anxiety below is a list of the various strategies that I’ve developed:
- Try to fit in with people around myself
- Make changes to my personality so that I fit in
- Always try to please everyone at the same time
- Never give myself time to myself
All of these strategies are ways that I’ve developed to help me stop been anxious and they were working well in the fact that the seizers that stopped and for a while everything seemed to be returning to normal I finally felt like I was fitting in. During this time, I had also landed myself an engineering apprenticeship with a major company, however as part of my apprenticeship I was required to attend college for the first year to get the relevant training, this typically wouldn’t have caused much anxiety however in order to get the high level of training that is required I needed to attend a specialist training provider that was located away from home this meant that I would be required to live in sheared accommodation with people older than me and who had different backgrounds and life experiences.
When I first found out about this I thought I was going to be able to cope with this change well given that I had been using my coping strategies for a while and hadn’t I had a single seizure for months, however when It came to the first few weeks of living and working with people older than me. I suddenly found that I was unable able to cope with the changes in my social interactions and I stopped using my coping strategies and inevitably I ended up having another seizure while on the way to college one morning.
I was of course dismissed from work while I was medically checked out by both college and also by my employer, I was off work for around 4 weeks and during this time I was having meetings with the occupational health department and visiting my doctors to figure out what was the best options and how I could prevent it from happening again. During those 4 weeks I realised why I had another relapse and I was able to learn things that I could implement to ensure that I didn’t lose control again, despite finding strategies that appeared to work for me at an earlier time, I found out that my old coping strategies were no longer working for me.
I’ve now adopted a number of new coping strategies that are helping me cope with new social interactions, I will admit there are still times when I struggle to cope with my social anxiety however I now feel more confident about the majority of social interactions.
Here is my list of coping strategies that are helping me face my anxieties:
- Talk to people: Tell people how your feeling as in most cases they can help provide reassurance.
- Don’t let others bring you down: Keep your mind strong and it will help you maintain the positive mind-set.
- Always look at the positives of any mistakes that you make: failures are learning points, use them to learn from your mistakes.
- Try to put yourself into more social situations: The more you put yourself in you will be able to deal with more situations
- Push yourself into taking the harder option: If you feel like walking from a situation because it’s too hard, why not try to push yourself to stay in the situation as this we help you develop a resilience and a determination to continue.
- Find distractions: For me I started perusing photography as a hobby and since I’ve started doing this I haven’t spent as much time worrying about trying to fit in.
I hope this helps you overcome social anxiety and remember that no-matter what you think you are never alone there are many people who are struggling. Keep strong.
Published by Dan Calvert