I’ve struggled with social anxiety, in some way, shape, or form, for most of my life…
Sometimes it’s not so bad, and other times it seems to sneak up on me just when I think I’m doing better in facing it.
In many ways, things have gotten easier in the last few years of my life, but in other ways, because of my attempts to face the things I would have typically just avoided or hidden from in the past, life has become filled with even more challenges at times.
Years ago, for a short period of time, I tried medication for it, and I ended up literally eating pages of a book in my sleep. 📖
Yea, I woke up with the book in my hands, pages ripped and torn out, and pieces of the pages in my mouth. 🤨
(The book was even called, “When Dreams Come True” or something like that…go figure. 😂 )
Since then I decided that medication for anxiety wasn’t for me.
And I knew, that facing anxiety in these new, kinds of “life situations” wasn’t going to be easy. The challenges would be what they would be, and I would just have to learn to try, and “go and do”…. in the face of anxiety.
I would just have to learn, how to “live” through these things.
And that is what the Lord has been helping me to do.
Over the last few years, especially, the Lord has been leading me into a bit of an “unraveling” so that I can begin to see some things that I’d never really been able to see before, and He’s been taking me into renewed ways of thinking.
These processes can take some time, and I’m learning that it’s okay to be “in the middle.”
I don’t have to be all the way “through it” in order to be open and honest about it.
I don’t have to be all the way “through it” in order to be okay about where I am.
No matter where I am, HE is with me!
For me, one of the hardest parts of dealing with social anxiety in particular is dealing with the physical side of it.
The part of “social anxiety” that shows.
The part of it that people can so easily see, which seems to make it much worse, especially in situations where it seems completely ridiculous to be facing any kind of social anxiety.
Sure, I can do the things that are hard, I can face these fears, but I still have to deal with the physical side of it… the sweating, the shaking, the racing heartbeat, the flushing, feeling frozen-up or disoriented… and it can be hard to hide these things when they’re intense.
And so I’m in a process of learning to not be so afraid of letting people see me in a place where I’m wrestling through these things.
And that means to be in situations where people can see me as I am facing these things– and realizing that “Hey, I’m okay.”
I’m in the process of being okay with not chasing away the things that make me appear weak.
And I’m in the process of learning to be okay with what others may assume, or label, or think.
Because what happens when we finally learn to not make such a big deal about things like this?
They become less scary to us in our minds, they become less intimidating, less of a “threat.”
And we begin to fear them
But then after that, it’s on to “the next thing”….
The “next layer.”
And sometimes the “next layer” can often feel like, going back to the beginning again, or having a set back.
It can feel like it’s “getting harder” or “getting worse” than “getting better”…
“When will this get easier??”
All of us are in a process, in some way, shape or form.
We’re all just trying to learn how to live our lives, aren’t we?
So, I’m here to say… that it’s okay if you struggle with these things too.
You are SO not alone.
It can feel like it sometimes, can’t it?
It can feel like, “I am such an extreme case of this.. I have to be… does anybody else know what this feels like?”….but you’re not alone in what you face.
We don’t have to try SO hard to be perfect, we don’t have to try SO HARD to hide the things that make us feel exposed and vulnerable, these things that we must face in order to LIVE this life.
And here is the most important thing to remember in all of this:
YOU are quite the opposite of the thing you face!
These things that we face DO NOT say anything about “who we are” other than this:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”–1 John 3:1
“So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].”–2 Corinthians 12:10 AMP
It’s step-by-step, moment by moment, decision by decision, season by season….and more “step by step”s…
I have to share this podcast episode that is SO helpful, and SO encouraging.
If you also face social anxiety, this might just encourage you:
Father, I thank You, that no matter what I face in this life, no matter WHAT I face… none of these things define WHO I AM, in Christ. NONE of these things can “label me” or give me my identity. Because You have made me to be, who I am, and You are helping me to see, who I truly am, in You–layer by layer, step by step, and with each new day. Thank You, Father. 💝