With anxiety people relate it to getting nervous or uncomfortable around certain things or situations. I wanted to concentrate on social anxiety around food.
Let's start off with the definition of social anxiety; “Social anxiety disorder (SAD), which stands for social anxiety disorder.- Source from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anxiety_disorder.
My own experience with it started in high school. I would hate to eat in front of my friends and it would cause me to panic when there was food around me. To tell you the truth, I thought nothing of it at first but then it became a problem for me..
One time I was asked to go for a birthday dinner with my friends so I accepted. We headed to Nandos, we sat down then that's when it started. I realized what I let myself in on. Everyone was ordering what they wished but I was just frozen! All I could think about was the people surrounding me, thinking they were staring at me. It felt like lights, camera and spotlight on yourself. It was a horrid feeling one of the most uncomfortable situations I've been in and normally I'm quite confident in myself but this time was different.
I started to shake then that suddenly changed to tears in my eyes. Then I just couldn't take it anymore so I ran out of the place and called my mom to pick me up. So since that moment I've avoided to eat in public, but over the years I have got a lot better in myself and I know one day I will overcome this fear. How I did this? I pushed myself and I never gave into the thoughts that were telling me that I couldn’t do this. Whenever I got a negative thought in my head I would write it down in my negative journal then I would come back to that note I had written down and reflect on how I could go about changing this thought. This helped me for a while so I stuck to doing it. After that, I started to motivate myself to at least have one meal out per week. And yet again, I would record this down in a separate journal. It’s good to keep things written down so you know how much progress you’ve made! Then that gives off a positive effect on yourself and makes you feel comfortable in yourself.
But after a while, things started to get harder for me. I thought I had things under control with my anxiety but I knew deep down I was wrong. So I decided to get further help! I turned to therapy. I made the closest appointment that I could. By doing this I went to my personal GP and talked to them about what was going on and that I would like further help. From there my GP made an appointment! So it’s quite easy for anyone really to go to their GP and ask them to make an appointment for yourself. They keep it all private and it’s a quick and simple routine! So when the day came, yes I was nervous but hopeful. talked to the therapist about what’s been on my mind and just basic asking her how to go about it. So she gave me some great advice like breathing coping mechanism. She explained how this worked etc. and it sounded so rewarding! It took a big weight off my shoulders. We did discuss other things along side that but overall I was comfortable with the whole experience. I walked away positive and that’s the result I wanted!
Next time I went out for a meal, I did get very anxious! But I remembered what me and the therapist talked about and I used the breathing method, in and out, in and out. The result was just so amazing it felt like I finally gained control over this whole social anxiety. So every time I get down now about this situation I just say to myself; “It just takes time”.
If you are struggling with Social Anxiety and need further help here are some quick tips that might help you!
Number one; try looking at social encounters as a chance to have fun instead of a chance to be embarrassed.
Number two; When you’re having an off day don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s a normal thing and EVERYONE goes through these days. Even the Queen!
Number three; Don’t take anything or yourself too seriously!
Here are some ideas on whom to tell;a family member, a close friend, a teacher you feel comfortable sharing things with and you know can assist you further. Your GP, a therapist if you are currently seeing one and your boss at work. Also we at TWE are more than happy to help you out with anything! We try our best to give you what you deserve!
These people are here to help you. Please don’t sit back in silence! Break the ice, regain the control.
Here are some links that you might find helpful and assist you further;
A writer sharing their experience with Social Anxiety; https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/3d2udb/serious_redditors_who_overcame_social_anxiety_how/
12 tips for social anxiety sufferers;
Overcoming Social Phobia;
Photo posts about Social Anxiety;