Overcoming my social anxiety

I have a confession: in person, I do not do well in a lot of normal social situations. It was a big concern about self-employment and being able to overcome my reticience with new people and new situations. If I have a job, once I get through the interview and actually start the job I belong there and my natural timid insecurity tends to not manifest itself. Or at least not manifest to my detriment.

Weddings and parties are a very big deal for me, even if I know a lot of people present. Unless I genuinely like those people and feel comfortable hanging out with them, I’m an internal mess of nervous anxiety. This is a big part of why M attends many running events on his own. I want him to be able to move about freely and chat with anyone and everyone without me falling apart piece by piece and strongly desiring to leave and return to our familiar environment.

Going to yoga classes and the gym has been another type of discipline for me. While I do hate exercise, I really hate exercise when I have to do so publicly with other people, strangers around. The first … few dozen … times I have to force myself to get into the car, drive to the gym/studio, then get out, go inside, do my thing. But the more I do it, the more nothing bad happens or I walk away without incident, the easier it becomes to go and participate. The more I do it, the more relaxed I become and the more enjoyable the activity becomes for me. I actually start feeling really good about the activity and my confidence soars.

But it can be a steep, uphill battle getting myself off the couch and into that new environment. And once I start and find myself comfortable, I better damn well stick with it or very quickly find myself back at square one, cowering on couch at home.

The last week I have made myself go into the gym several times. Even if I am there only 20 minutes I feel better going in, going to the locker room, going upstairs to use the cardio equipment, going to the group fitness room to do the routines and exercises trainer J has taught me. Now I find myself not wanting to stay if J is in the building, because what if he looks over and I’m screwing up? Ridiculous, I know, but a real anxiety and fear that causes me grief. So until I overcome this latest attempt to avoid doing my workouts, I plot my strategy around “normal” training hours. Tomorrow I’ll be there at 4:30 in the morning. Weekends are easy because he typically does not work those days. I laugh thinking about it, because I am seriously neurotic sometimes, yet it does not lessen or alleviate the very real symptoms I experience.

I am thinking more and more about the rest day, where I do nothing. It’s a possibility, a real one, but right now I need to stay focused on getting where I need to be when I need to be there so I am will continue with my tiny, unexpressed-until-now goal of going to the gym every day for 2 weeks (started on Tuesday this week) and continue with the yoga studio as at least 3 classes per week. Hopefully once I’m done with the 2 straight weeks I will be over my aversion to going/being there/working out and just doing it. Like normal people.

Wish me luck.

4 thoughts on “Overcoming my social anxiety

  1. I can totally relate to what you go through. It takes me awhile to get comfortable and then I’m fine. I don’t really like parties (especially work parties) but I can get through them. I had to laugh at your not wanting to be there when your trainer was there – that is exactly what would go through my mind, too. LOL. I’ve started going into this pizza place on Thursdays (dh’s take out night) to get DH a big salad to go from their salad bar (I know – not frugal, but when I try to “copy” their salad he doesn’t like it). I’ve been in about 3 times, so far and I didn’t want to go inside yesterday because they will think I’m strange always coming in every Thursday, right?! LOL

    • *laugh* I feel your pain, OneFamily – I’m the same way with Monday night pizza (half price at our local place). It got to the point where they knew not only my standard order but our address and everything else as soon as they asked my name. Then when I went a few weeks without ordering on Monday nights, the next time I called they asked me where I had been! It’s fine now – we order pizza once a month, every 6 weeks or so – and since I’m now hawkishly watching carbs, it may be more like once a quarter.

      I think it’s great that you’re getting a salad for DH, even if it is not part of the frugal cool. Fast food is likely cheaper, but the salad is so much better for overall health.

      • Yes it’s at least healthier than the double cheeseburger with bacon that I have gotten him nearly every Thursday for like 4 or 5 years. They totally knew me after awhile and I didn’t even have to order. It was a little drive up place and they’d see my car and get it started. I’m sure they are wondering where the heck I’ve been lol

      • Oh man – I would just about kill for a bacon cheeseburger about now – single sized one would be plenty. Salad is better, though. Yep, just keep telling myself (and your DH) that – salads are better. 🙂

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