A girl with too many thoughts...

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Social Anxiety Disorder

As you may or may not be aware, I also suffer from social anxiety. I constantly over-analyse every social situation, every conversation, every reaction. I drive myself crazy wondering 'what do they think of me?' and more times than not, I conclude that they must be thinking negatively of me.

How people perceive and judge me is always on my mind. 'They must think I'm weird or acting strangely', I think to myself. 'They don't like me, I'm annoying them.' This usually leads to me feeling very negatively about myself, telling myself I am stupid, a failure, incapable.

Going to social situations makes me feel sick. I shake, I sweat, I get over-heated. In extreme cases, I might have a panic attack. This is something that always used to happen in the car on the way to my old job. It was in retail (just about the most social job I could have gone for, great choice Lisa). When I arrived, the other staff members would make comments such as 'Are you okay? You look like you're about to cry' (I probably was, but was it really that obvious?!)

During my CBT treatment, I worked on trying to improve my social anxiety, self-doubt and low self-esteem. I attempted to change some of my thought processes that led to these problems into more realistic, positive thoughts.

In reality, it's really unlikely that everybody is thinking the negative things about me that I wrongly assume that they are. I learnt that this is more a reflection of how I feel about myself that I am simply projecting onto everybody else (so that I think they must be thinking it too).

Another really important thing to bear in mind is that when somebody is thinking something nasty about you, they are often the ones with the problem, not you. For example, if somebody thinks that I am 'a weirdo', it is much more probable that they are in fact just a horrible person with their own insecurities, rather than me actually being a weirdo.

Another question I ask myself is 'does it really matter if they do think that - is it really going to affect my life in the long run.' Probably not, so why am I letting it bother me so much? The fact is, I shouldn't let what other people think of me hold so much importance and allow it to affect my self-worth. What they think of me really isn't relevant. What I think of myself, on the other hand, is very important! From now on, what I think about myself is my only concern - and every day, I aim to make this more and more positive.
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