How I Came Back from Paralyzing Social Anxiety to Lead a Healthy, Happy Life
The issue is this: I get shy/timid in front of people who are socially adept, very extroverted, outgoing, great at talking/communicating, and who. Sep 12, In this way, dating only adds fuel to the anxiety fire. love and companionship, but who were paralyzed by fear, struggling with loneliness and. How I Came Back from Paralyzing Social Anxiety to Lead a Healthy, Happy Life. by Dan . Heck, I was certain no one would want to date me anyway. I knew my.
It was a relief to get out of the game. I still wanted to play. That grew until I became a teen. So, of course, that made the ball hard to hold onto. No, not this time! I knew I had it under control. But it happened anyway. The shyness had certainly caused its difficulty. Somehow, during grade school I was able to perform decently in basketball.
I scored 18 and 16 points in two different games I think. We lost the championship game. The team had beaten us before. How we would do this time? He launched a piece of chalk at the wall, shattering it into shards.
He could see everyone was tight, anxious, and flat. We lost that game by two. I had a sick feeling in my stomach afterward. Girls and boys also paired off. How did this happen? I was too afraid to talk to girls. All I could manage was stuttering a sentence or two at most.
Sometimes, just a look. Somehow, I found myself having a few girlfriends. Nothing lasted more than a few weeks. We rarely even spoke. This probably sounds familiar to many, and perhaps to those without social anxiety. Unfortunately, social anxiety had only begun its reign of terror over my life. Kids on the bus teased my friends and me daily because of our religion.
So, we had to deal with his moodiness. And my dad was an active alcoholic. He would drink, shut down, and isolate himself from our family.
Meanwhile, my mom would angrily try to control everything — including me. This skyrocketed my anxiety.
The ride to and from school was hell. And then I had to come home to a mess where everyone was consumed with their problems too.
I used the addiction to cover all the shame, fear, guilt, and loneliness. Shame grew into despair and self-hatred. And then you need your addiction to cover all those feelings again. And it took me decades to learn how to stop doing it and do something else.
The social anxiety only increased its stranglehold on my life. To start, I moved from a small religious grade school with a class of just 10 to a local public high school with the largest class in history or so. Some of my friends came too. Yeah, I grew up in rural Wisconsin. But it was an enormous change for me. I could hide my social anxiety in grade school.
But no more in high school. Not to keep people away.
4 Tips to Help You Overcome Shyness and Social Anxiety
It revealed how desperately insecure I was. But, not the words I wanted. Despite hating it, I seemed unable to change. Victories happened on occasion. But the fear and anxiety only intensified. Performance only got harder. And now that got coupled with shaky limbs. Have you ever shot a basketball? I still managed to be a valuable contributor.
I was a great defensive player. And it was frustrating as hell. I passed up open shots. And I came away from games angry, filled with shame and guilt. Not really wanting to live. I let everyone down — again. I was even suicidal at times. Fortunately, I never followed through. Seemed to be the same old story. I was too afraid to approach anyone.
Heck, I was certain no one would want to date me anyway. I knew my social status. I was at the bottom rung. The only people with any interest repulsed me. Of course, some others wanted to date me too. The outcome was inevitable. When we changed classes, walking through the hall was terrifying.
4 Tips to Help You Overcome Shyness and Social Anxiety
My heart leaped into my throat, and a gigantic crater of anxiety filled my stomach. Who would I see? What would I say? Would I say the wrong thing and upset them? Sure, they act nice. But only because they have to. It was February and snowy and icy out.
I was driving my sister and a friend home from school. We were heading over a hill, blind to the other side. At the peak, another car was in the middle of the road. Startled, I whipped the wheel right. We hit an ice patch and started sliding. The car plowed into the snowbank and rolled. We all could have died that day. Turns out, I rolled the car four-and-a-half times. My sister had small scratches from glass on her face.
My friend had a sore back. No one even needed to go to the hospital. And my anxiety played a role in the crash. I was so down on myself. I was moody and irritable. And that led to my overreaction, whipping the wheel when I saw the other car.
Sometime in high school, the friend in that wreck with me introduced me to alcohol. What a perfect solution! It seemed to eliminate all my shyness and fear. Plus, it turned out my drunken antics were hilarious.
I became popular overnight. In fact, you could say I was the most popular person in high school — and you might have been right. But of course, I was still fraught with anxiety and deeply ashamed. Drinking merely eased the fear temporarily. Inside, I was still mortified of others and hated myself. To cover all this up, I also resorted to video game addiction.
This was around My parents were lost in their own problems. So I spent most of my waking hours playing computer games. I got sick of it.
But I did it because it felt soooooo natural. At least I had some excitement. I was lucky through all of this though. I managed to maintain a good core group of friends. Women at least showed interest from time-to-time. So, I had opportunity. I was still acting in the same old ways. So, I got the same old results. I spent much of my time isolated. I gamed a lot. I was too afraid to talk to others.
So I spent many Fridays and Saturdays online. Or watching TV or movies by myself. That might have been for the better. The only other thing I knew to do was drink like a maniac. Which of course only caused trouble. For me, employment was rough. I still felt like a generally worthless person. My first employment experience as a teen was for two guys who trained dogs for hunting. One went out of his way to harass and curse me out to my face and other co-workers too.
But he would frequently lose his temper on other workers and me. Unpredictable outbursts of anger? That felt a lot like home. Just as I did at home, I concluded it was my fault. For me, it was hell. I would wake with anxiety in the morning. Then, I would feel a pit in my stomach before work. At work, I would feel constantly tense and anxious because I would never know when someone would lose their temper.
I felt some relief when I went home because the job was worse than my home life. But only a little bit. And it would just be hours until the new day started and the whole mess repeated. With that foundation setting my perception of work, I went to college to prep for employment. Social anxiety bothered me somewhat in classes. I still spent much of my time alone and isolated.
My addictive and compulsive personality, along with the social anxiety, ran my life. I remember a teacher, who I knew liked me, see me in the hall. I liked him too. He looked at me. I turned my head and hid while walking by in the hall. I turned around to see where he went. He had a frown on his face as he looked partially in my direction while walking the other way.
I had hurt his feelings. I plummeted into shame and guilt as I continued on my way. The last semester of college, I had to do an internship. I was fairly nervous. I had never worked in an office.
And heck, it was my first real work away from home. I was happy just to get it. The administrator for my computer networking program was one lazy dude. The internship turned out to be hellish too. Two employees went out of their way to harass and curse out the interns. Again, not just me. People love to talk about themselves. It can even make them more into you.
Once you find out your shared interests - whether it's cooking or bungee jumping - that's when your confidence and flirting skills can slide their way into the conversation. Compliments Go for Miles Your first instinct when someone gives you a compliment might be to reject it. You'll come up with any excuse to completely refute their statement.
Drown out that self-criticism and just say "Thank you. Once you've done that, you can move onto bigger and better things, like drumroll please giving back a compliment. However, don't just pay him a compliment just for the sake of it. Find something you genuinely enjoy and make sure he knows it. You'll leave him glowing for days.
Anxiety Disorder Can be Mistaken for Extreme Shyness, Study Says
Find Your Good Luck Charm Find a magic item in your room or your closet to keep with you during times you know you'll be flirting. Whether it's a favorite pair of shoes, a bracelet or a pair of earrings, everyone's got one. All it takes is that extra somethin' to you feel beautiful.
Perhaps your lucky charm will give you the confidence you need to go forth and flirt confidently with that cute guy across the hall. At the end of the day, shyness is a natural, if not charming trait. If you're feeling stuck in it, these steps might be the way to go.