“My hands were shaking. I was sweating so profusely, I could not move. I made it to my car and remember getting the keys in the ignition, cranking the car up, taking the back roads to my home and parking. I didn’t leave the house for six months.”
These are the words of Kim Basinger, an oscar award winning actress with social anxiety, agoraphobia and panic disorder. Surprising, huh?
Anxiety stops you from chasing your dreams. But she didn’t let that stop her. I want to share my experiences of social anxiety, the way it has interfered with my acting, and how I’ve tried to push past it. Ok, I’m no Kim Basinger, I know! But maybe it’ll inspire you to persevere through the fear and panic, the low self esteem, the anxiety, so you can do the same.
To read about it, check out my guest blog at Anxiety United, a social media network based on dealing with anxiety.
And happy world mental health day guys!
Till next time,
Posted by polarisabstract in Inspiration Tags: "social anxiety", anxiety, celebrities with social anxiety, coping, dreams, inspiration, kim basinger, low self esteem, resilience, world mental health day
The above image is what your mind imagines when you brace yourself for a social situation. Your brain likes to make your fears high risk. You tell yourself, “there’s a pretty high chance that after I do that presentation, people are going to remember me as that incompetent loser who can’t speak up”. Let’s say that your anxiety warps it into a 1 in 2 chance.
But we are going to defeat that possibility with a bit of multiplication.
Step one: Break it down into factors.
1) That a lack of preparation could sabotage you. Let’s say you did more than enough, though.
2) How much people will really remember – everyone is invested into their own lives: that uni party they’re missing, their families, the busy traffic, that train they will have to run for, and whatever else.
3) What are the chances that people will think less of you over a bad presentation? Outside of social anxiety, presentations can be stressful for many people. Most people would be understanding.
Step two: Estimate the probability of each factor
1) Well you did prepare, so the likelihood of sabotage is 1 in 100.
2) Everyone is selfish. Let’s face it. So they will probably forget. 1 in 100.
3) Chances that people will think less of you? Let’s place that at 1 in 50.
Step three: Multiply!
100 x 100 x 50 = 1 in 500 000 chance
Doesn’t seem so daunting now, right?
So when your social anxiety tries to find evidence of your screw ups, break it down with this more concrete, rational method. It really helps to separate yourself from your fear and panic.
Let me know – does this work for you in situations of anxiety and stress? Why/why not?
“You’re too sensitive.”
“Why do you always stay inside?”
“It’s just a small thing. You’re overreacting.”
“What, are you going to cry again?”
Imagine this situation. You’re at a party. You’re alone. Everyone else is in their tightly clamped circles. They’re smiling and laughing, mentioning names you don’t know and places you haven’t been. They’re better than you. Quickly, you try to walk up to some people. You try to start a conversation, and as you talk, your brain rips into you. The anxiety tells you’re awkward, you’re awkward and you’ll be alone tonight. They don’t like you. Why did you say that for? You messed up royally. If you just stayed at home, you’d be able to watch Friends repeats instead of being trapped here.
And it doesn’t stop there. You’ve noticed that instead of concentrating on university work, you’re fixated on all the other students. It takes you an extra three hours to complete a simple task. All you want to do is sleep.
People might dismiss you as being overly dramatic and weak on the outside, when you open up to them for help. But on the inside, you’re strong.
It takes a lot to deal with a relentless self critic every day. And there’s a reason the social anxiety is so potent: you just want to get better socially. In a way, it’s like fighting for something you care about. Channel all that energy into beating the anxiety, instead. If you’ve put up with social anxiety thus far, you’ll have the determination to overcome it. Are you going to keep putting up with the crap anxiety gives you?
You should give yourself some credit!
Posted by polarisabstract in Stigma Tags: "social anxiety", anxiety, fear and panic, fight, frustration, low self esteem, mental health month, mental health stigma, resilience, self critic, self-esteem, sensitive, shyness, social anxiety in university, social phobia, Stigma, stopthestigma, strength, weakness