I’m not sure social anxiety is ever truly cured , not if you’ve always been quite a nervous person. I can’t remember the last time I got the fear though , the people fear.
I can’t remember last time the thought of the self checkouts being shut brought me out in a cold sweat because I’d have to deal with a real life person.
I can’t remember the last time I did the thing where you meet someone new and you get yourself so worked up that you open your mouth to speak thinking to yourself “don’t say something stupid ,don’t say something stupid” only to open your mouth and pure gibberish exits, making the anxiety even worse.
I’ve embraced group situations recently , even groups of strangers . I’ve socialised more.
There is of course the fact I’ve some great people in my life who make socialising fun and who believe in me so much it rubs off on me this has eased the social anxiety.
I do think though that blogging might have been the biggest factor.
It’s not as nuts as it sounds , honestly. Humour me ?
I think the main factor is with blogging I am communicating via the written word. Always my favourite. Some of my raw , honest blog posts would never have been given life if I had to say them out loud. I’m getting better but I don’t find vocalising emotions easy.
So communicating via my method of choice brings with it a freedom.
I can tell my stories without needing to speak out loud . I don’t have to make eye contact , I don’t have to scan peoples expressions to see if they’re bored yet , I don’t have to panic noone can understand my accent.
Written down I can express myself in a way more relaxed manner , that has to be a very good start.
Also when I’m blogging I’m generally talking about something I am passionate about , a little knowlegable about or have strong opinions about. This is really helpful. It means follow up questions aren’t terrifying , I can back up what I’m saying with knowledge or anecdotes.
For a socially anxious person , or me at least , being asked or put on the spot with questions or conversations you don’t have a clue about is just terrifying and horrible and the phrase “wish the ground would open up and swallow me ” really comes into it’s own.
The blogging community helps too. All the little groups of people I never would have known ordinarily. People who have been through similar life experiences as I have. People who are honest and open about the challenges parenthood , and indeed life, throw at you. People whose lives have been really different to mine , but we have this blogging thing in common and a sense of familiarity.
Best of all these blog friends and I , well we again communicate via the written word. Social media is great for that . I think Twitter is my chatty place the most but there I can be chatty girl who doesn’t get her words muddled (too much) I can be semi articulate and free to think myself mildly amusing because the restraints that always held me back ( I blush when people talk to me…like a 5 years old , it’s excruciating) are removed. I suppose as well in this arena if people think you’re a bit of a twat well they’ll just unfollow you or not engage with you , quite direct and effective .
I just realised as well ,as I’m writing I’m using the present tense .
“I muddle my words”
Except , and this is the whole point of the post I guess (ah come off it Kelly when have you ever kept to the point?)
I think maybe spending time blogging , building up relationships with people online. Feeling connections with people . Being free to be my chatty , geeky self well that’s had a knock on effect to my actual real life too. Dislike that phrase ‘real life’ makes me feel like I’ve made up all my online buddies. Can’t think of an alternative though. Anyway spending time building relationships via my comfy method has given me the confidence to then take that out into my world. In all the years I’ve tweeted with folk they’ve always been so lovely and positive (except that spat I had with the Male Rights Activists but they’d not be on my Christmas card list anyway so no great loss) that I feel I am able to be braver and put myself out there with people.
My blog started life as an anonymous one , but people’s reactions to it gave me the confidence to then share it with people I do know.
Putting myself out there , being just me – the girl who loves Doctor Who , Andy Murray and chips. The girl who goes to the cinema and the theatre and for dinner alone through choice because she loves it , the bookworm and the dozy human who can often be found with her clothes on inside out. Well my blogger pals , my lovely twitter folk who I’ll likely never meet all made me feel good about just being her. It’s transferred into my day to day life that confidence.
I went to a group workshop last week ( old Kelly’s idea of hell) and I spoke and I contributed and I got to know a group of strangers because I spoke to them without worrying everyone was going to think I was an idiot…and if they did well I didn’t really mind they were strangers.
I can strike up conversations with people I don’t know without palpitations.
I sometimes even CHOOSE the tills with people at them!
The blushy girl is all but gone ( unless she’s talking to that handsome guy she hangs around with sometimes!)
Blogging has most certainly helped!!
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