Have you ever become so terrified when you have had to talk and engage with other people that you have become overly panicky? Becoming frozen with fear along with the shortness of breath may be your worst nightmare that occurs when you have to network with others, especially when they are just acquaintances. You may be baffled in disbelief of how people in your recovery program are able to interact with others with such ease when it takes everything you have to mumble out a few mismatched words to them.
The part of this equation that really confuses you is that you use to be able to communicate with others rather nicely. You really question what has happened to your social game. As a kid, you may have been extremely gregarious with your friends with whom you started drinking and using with recreationally. As drugs and alcohol continued to serve as a social lubricant, you began to open up in ways that you never would sober, and you probably learned to rely on the substances more than your own personality to talk to them.
After you got sober, your social anxiety became a reality because you no longer had the drugs and alcohol to speak for you. You either had to do it for yourself or suffer from your anxiety because you could not discern what you should talk about with them without the help of drugs and alcohol. Sobriety may have made you feel like you do not have the ability to connect with anyone and created an indescribable aloofness which has taken over your whole being making you feel like a self-proclaimed outsider.
Your general consensus may be that you are no longer having any fun because you cannot express yourself like you once were able to do. Your social anxiety has taken over as part of your personality due in part to the humiliating and embarrassing experiences you went through during your addiction. You feel different from everyone else because of the harrowing circumstances that you have walked through thinking that no one else could relate. Rather than shock people with your bad judgments when you were inebriated, your fears keep you from saying anything at all.
All the past abandonment, criticism, and judgment issues have hit a raw nerve in your recovery that also weakens your sensibilities to conduct healthy relationships. Most likely, you feel unworthy of being around others that you view as “having it all together” and will try to avoid them at all costs so that you do not feel bad about yourself. If you want to gain power over your social anxiety, you totally can and here are some ways to do so.
Better understand your anxiety.
The physical adversities that are caused by a Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as a Social Phobia, are not caused by the dramatic effects of the person. True social anxiety is actually highly physiological making a series of bodily reactions that are not caused through conscious control. There is no way to just get over it because anxiety is based off our basic instincts which are instilled in us. “Getting over it” is not an option because understanding why you have the anxiety in the first place will get the solution rolling.
Address the symptoms the fear.
Now that you are starting to experience more severe symptoms of your anxiety, you may feel stuck and unable to proceed with your life because you do not see a way out. Heart palpitations, intense sweating, upset stomach, and the mind checking out are some of the uncomfortable symptoms that can really hold someone back from being social. Comprehending these symptoms as part of a bigger problem can make the difference in lessening your anxiety altogether.
Be wise with who you associate with.
If you are already feeling uncomfortable in your skin, being around people who will not try to understand what your anxiety is all about or undermined your what you are going through will not help your situation get any better. Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people who will lift you up and accept you exactly where you are.
Learn the tools that will help you move forward.
One of the best tools you can attain is how to calm yourself during these awkward and trying moments. Seek different techniques such as breathing, meditating, praying, using affirmations, or visualization to help you get through the rough moments. Go for a walk to get out into nature to remove yourself temporarily from the situation. Find a holistic therapy so that you can process your feelings and emotions in a healthy manner with activities such as yoga, mindfulness, EMDR, somatic experiencing, or breathwork. Using these practical approaches to anxiety could be the very thing to break you out of your shell and show others the wonderful things you attribute to this world.
Social anxiety is nothing to brush aside because anxiety can be managed with the right methods which allow you to include the people you were meant to have in your life. Find your tribe so that you can resolve the socially phobic patterns that are keeping you from feeling the compassion that you deserve to have.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Valiant Living offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Valiant fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463