"Why can't I just be normal?"
Social Anxiety Sucks
Social Anxiety Therapist in Richmond, VA
Your heart starts to beat and your palms start to sweat before you even walk in the door.
That voice in your head keeps presenting you with scenes of how you will completely lose your shit in front of other people. How the tremor of your voice or the sweat beading on your forehead will give it away – that you’re an imposter and you shouldn’t be here. You try deep breathing and telling yourself that it’s not a big deal, but that does not change the fact that you feel so damn anxious in almost every social situation.
You have always been kind of shy until people got to know you or felt awkward in large groups, but it’s gotten worse and it’s harder than ever to even pretend you are calm or appear confident or just hold it together some days.
In one way, COVID has been like a holiday of sorts from social anxiety, but you know the time is coming to re-enter the world and you don’t want to go back to how it used to be.
Stressing about it all weeks or months in advance. The job interviews, the weekly staff meeting, parties, any situation really where you feel like you may be the center of attention.
It’s almost like you subconsciously feel like each social encounter is a performance.
Your main concern is APPEARING anxious in front of others. Yep, that’s it. You worry that your “secret” that you struggle with social anxiety will be revealed and that others will think less of you for it. As a result, you have bailed on more events than you can remember and that makes you feel like a failure sometimes. When you do show up, you often replay all your social interactions over and over again in your head to see where you messed up. You suffer either way. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
You have tried nearly everything to control anxious feelings – self-help books, positive thinking, benzos, showing up late to meetings, avoiding all confrontation, people-pleasing, the list goes on.
Now you are considering anxiety therapy because something has to give. Chances are the approach that we will take together will be different from anything you have tried. It may even seem counterintuitive, but it will work as it has for many others.
As they say, if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten. It’s time to stop beating your head against the wall in your struggle with social anxiety.
I know that you just want to feel “normal.” And although there is no normal, you can finally learn to cope with those unpleasant thoughts and emotions that we call “social anxiety” and start to do the things that seem unimaginable right now. This will be SO fucking empowering.
You will stop letting social anxiety control the direction of your life, you will find more meaning with the ever-dwindling time you have left on Earth and maybe best of all, you will learn to allow yourself to be exactly who you are without faking it any longer.