People And Social Anxiety

For many years of my life I was a "social butterfly". I was always going full speed ahead. I was constantly with people, at social events/parties, always searching for things to do and places to go. I thrived in the social arena. Even in high school I was always wanting to go out and about and do things. Whether it was going to every single sporting event, the mall, a concert, or just having my friends over. I loved it!

Not so much anymore. What I feel now is that people are exhausting. I am currently on about a two week stretch of constant social interaction and events including family, work, and friends. It has left me extremely fatigued and out of sorts. I have not had the amount of alone time I need to unwind, decompress, and take care of myself. It's not anyone's fault that I have been so busy. We had an extremely busy weekend with one of Matthew's work events that left me physically exhausted and in bed for most of a 24 hour stretch. Then we had a long weekend with our families out of town, with no time before or after to get myself regulated. Last week was my birthday so we did a couple of different things with different groups of people. Yesterday it all caught up to me. I've been running around like a crazy person trying to do things I thought I should be doing. I was busy at work dealing with some tough cases/families. I was "doing the right thing" by celebrating my birthday with friends. The weekend away with our families was constant stimulation. Whether we were all hanging out together in our hotel room or out and about doing something. I think the most "free" (as in, not so claustrophobic and a lack of stimulation) I felt was the day we went to the zoo. Ironic, huh? I just don't do well with no down time and little to no alone time. It's hard for me to keep myself regulated when I am transitioning from one thing to the next so frequently. I need to get better at setting boundaries during trips like that, and letting go of my expectations for things to go smoothly no matter how much I think I have prepared myself. I will say, however, nothing went terrible wrong which was a relief! I think the fact that I made it with no tears was a success in and of itself! Of course, going back to reality last Tuesday was a huge crash and burn. I was in tears multiple times because I had kept so much anxiety internalized and it was all coming out, seemingly unexpected, in the form of tears. I even cried over spilled coffee, which is when I wanted to scream "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!". And I probably did when I got back in my car.

It takes weeks like the previous two for me to realize just how introverted and full of social anxiety I am. I need to find a happy medium of engaging in social activities once or twice a week to prevent isolation, but not over extending myself to the point of fatigue and escalated anxiety or episodes of depression that keep me in bed for a day at a time (which in all honestly is much better than it used to be years ago) I need to find people and activities that don't stress me out or leave me too tired to complete normal daily tasks at home. The problem with that is my social anxiety causes making friends to be an extremely difficult thing for me. It's a vicious cycle and something I am very aware of. I need to get better at saying no when I get invited to do something I don't REALLY want to do, which will require letting go of the fear that saying no will prevent me from ever being invited again. If I was brave enough to simply tell the person who may be inviting me that the real reason I can't go is due to anxiety or something similar, that would make things so much easier. But no, I don't have that amount of bravery in me. That lack of bravery, or confidence if you will, comes from years of being told I was over reacting, or simply not being believed. So, chalk that up to one more weakness I am attempting to strengthen.

Self care falls in there everywhere. When I lack self care (currently) everything else seems to be lacking as well. My ability to self sooth and regulate myself when I become dis regulated. Being full present in a moment instead of thinking of every other thing I could/should be doing. My patience decreases. I become irritable and eventually I have zero fucks to give. It's not a pleasant place to be and I've been there a lot more than I am comfortable with lately. So, self care is going to take a large leap to the top of my list and I'm going to practice not feeling bad about it.


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