The Shanty

The Shanty
where I grew up

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Social Anxiety Strikes Again!

My social anxiety has been fierce lately. There are certain aspects of social anxiety that I have no problem with but others that completely paralyze me at times. This is hard for me to admit but here are some of my anxious behaviors:

I do not like being the center of attention under any circumstance. I get physical ailments such as upset stomach, shakiness, and excessive sweating.

When out in public I am certain everyone is staring at me and evaluating me and my every move including how I look. This causes extreme discomfort.

Often times I will refrain from simple tasks such as grocery shopping or going some place new for fear that everyone will be watching me and making fun of me.

Some of you may find this hard to believe. Amy doesn’t care what other people think! And in one way I don’t. I really don’t. The thing I have a problem with is my self-worth. If I think I look fat or am going to look stupid I will not do what I set out to do because I don’t want people to perceive me as lazy even though that’s exactly what I am! I know I am better than this though. I guess I only care what people think about me if I agree with them. The other interesting thing is that if I am with someone else I become this super brave person who will do anything! I guess that’s why people are always shocked when they find out certain things really cause me anxiety. These “attacks” only happen when I’m alone. It’s weird because for some reason when I’m with someone I think that others will be thinking “She may be _____ but at least she has a friend who accepts her.” And so then I feel in control and less exposed to ridicule. Isn’t this just ridiculous?! It really, really is and even I know this but struggle daily to overcome it.

A few things I have kept from doing are:

Trying out a new car wash that I had a FREE coupon from just because I had never been there before and wasn’t sure where to pull in. I ended up at the car wash I’m comfortable with, paying for my wash and driving out of the way to get there.

Not getting out of my car and picking a spot at the park for a picnic. I attempted to…even got out and walked a ways before freaking out and heading back to my car to wait. I blamed it on not being sure where he’d want to sit. Sorry Ben…it was actually my fear of people staring at me…how embarrassing this is to admit.

Pulling into the gym parking lot, fully dressed in work out gear and ready to sweat! Only to sit there for about 5 minutes debating with myself about why I should or shouldn’t go inside. I ended up driving away out of fear. Fear that everyone would be staring at me and making fun of me and my fat ass. I later felt depressed that I let myself down like that.

Even typing all of this out has brought tears to my eyes. Why am I so hard on myself? Why am I so afraid for people to look at me? Why must I always assume they’re thinking bad thoughts? It really is debilitating. I know all the tools to try and reverse this and I even take a medication to help me out with my imbalance. However, it is still a HUGE struggle of mine. It takes so much effort and patience to try and fix this issue. I had been doing well for a long time but forgot to spend time on it and now I find myself plagued with anxiety again.

I am making this public not so that you can feed me full of compliments and tell me how great I am and to tell me to stop worrying but to make myself vulnerable and show my sensitive side. Not everyone gets to see this side of me…I try to mask it well. However I think it would be healthy for me to stop trying to have my brave face on all the time and admit my weaknesses as well. Of course all of my friends (those of you reading this) are going to tell me you think I’m great and should stop worrying so much. However, I need to get myself to stop worrying and being so damn hard on myself all the time. I know a huge first step is going to be to lose some weight. I know all the tools to make this happen as well, I just need to put them into play. I think I’m ready now.


  1. God...that's how I feel all the the tee! It's like you were reading my mind. But I don't always get brave when I have someone with me...I get embarrassed for them being with me.
    I'm not going to tell you what you already know.
    I give you Kudos...this is a brave thing you wrote! ;o)

  2. my Dad suffers from social anxiety I totally know what you mean! Even my sis and bro and I all have a little bit of it as well. I can't make phone calls...unless it's like my bf, or someone i know well. It doesn't effect me in the workplace at all, but personal calls for appointments and such...freak me out! I can't stand crowds either and purposely skip events where I know it's going to be super crowded. The days I know it's going to be bad and have to do it anyway...a little xanax goes a long way...

  3. I feel that way all the time. I used to feel braver when I was younger, but the older I get the worse it is. I can totally see myself doing the same thing with the car wash. I hate to take my kids to the swimming pool because I'm worried everyone is staring at me in my swimsuit, and just many other things like that. It's sad we are all so hard on ourselves. I honestly don't judge strangers out in public the way I'm worried they are judging me, so I'm not sure what my deal is.