Have you ever felt like your decisions are sometimes out of your control? Fear and panic take over, making up those choices for you. That’s anxiety.
This post is inspired by a recent blog post Chloe wrote titled “life begins outside your comfort zone“. In it, she touches on the whole subject of anxiety and how sometimes, you just need a little push into the unknown to conquer that paralyzing fear that is holding you back. If you don’t know Chloe’s blog, definitely give it a visit. It is one of my favourites in this blogosphere and she writes about her life and her struggles so honestly. Long story short: She’s a wonderful human being and I think you will like her too! We are also kicking off a year-long collaboration soon, so stay tuned for that!
Oh anxiety. How I sometimes wish it would just let me live my life. But alas, it’s there. Obviously there are many different forms of anxiety, ranging from mild to severe. What I have is social anxiety. It used to be a lot worse than now but I have had it for as long as I can remember. I just didn’t know what it was. It was only when I suffered a horrible panic attack a few years ago that I finally realised that something wasn’t right. My anxiety had reached a boiling point and actually caused me to lose my sight for a few minutes. Not being able to have control of your body is terrifying. I would be lying if I said that I don’t still have nightmares about it.
I find myself dreading social events, even though I technically want to go. Even mundane activities like ordering food or paying a bill at a restaurant can be scary. Now here’s the thing about being anxious all the time: it slowly becomes normal, a habit even. And after a while you feel yourself pulling back more and more, isolating yourself so much that you don’t even know anything else. It turns into this new reality you are stuck in, no visible exits in sight. The whole point of this post is to tell you that even though they might not be visible, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
One of things I have learnt over the years is that anxiety can trick you into thinking it is an instinct. I CALL BULLSHIT! Even though it will feel wrong in every fiber of your body, go against that “instinct”. It will be difficult and terrifying but trust me; anxiety is not your friend, it’s your enemy. I can’t tell you on how many things I have missed out because I was too scared. And the thing is, looking back, I regret not pushing myself more. I regret the things I didn’t do. I stopped myself from moving forward with my life – no wonder I have felt stuck for so long. As Chloe put it so perfectly in her post, “comfort is the enemy of progress”.
To me, a group of people might be hell now but I am gradually starting to notice a difference in my approach. Comfort is safe. Comfort is reassuring. But it can also hinder you in so many ways. So the next time anxiety decides to kick in, say NO and grasp control of your own life again. The more you do it, the less frightening it will be until some day, making your own choices will be your new reality. Just don’t expect for it to happen over night – it’s a progress. Think of it like this: at least you’re progressing again. Don’t ever take that for granted.
What about all of you? Are any of you blessed *🙃* with social (or any kind of) anxiety? What have your experiences been like and how do you try to overcome it? I’d love to know!