Social Anxiety Update 1/17/18

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I last updated you all on how I’m doing with my battle against social anxiety. So, here goes!

Last night, I went to the Foundations Choreography orientation (you know, the hip hop team I auditioned for). Technically, I wasn’t supposed to be there, as I was placed on the waitlist for the team, but I didn’t let that stop me from attending.

At the end of the orientation, our Foundations team headed to Koala Tea for dinner. There, we shared a wholesome conversation about the stereotypical Asian parents, sex, and more sex. Lol. It’s interesting, because I seemed to be the dominant figure in the conversation. I felt completely at ease with these people I had just met, which is a sure sign of improvement. I’m sure that most people who meet me now would never have guessed that, at one point in time, I was an incredibly shy girl who couldn’t raise her hand in class without feeling like throwing up out of fear.

I had a chance to talk to the directors of our team. They all remembered my audition, and described my dancing as “spicy”. Lol. They wanted me on their team, but unfortunately, since I had submitted my application way too late, I was placed on a waitlist instead. Bummer. But that won’t stop me from attending the weekly practices, to learn hip hop in the presence of friends new and old!

Today, I attended my very first honors’ seminar, Psych 189. The class size was pretty small– around 15 students, and the professor. For some reason, I found myself very nervous when it was my turn to introduce myself. We had to state our name, hometown, current year/major, and what our future plans after graduation were.

A part of me wonders why I have seemed to regress in this aspect of my battle against social anxiety. Maybe I just haven’t done self-introductions in a group setting in a little while, and am a little bit rusty. All I know is, self-introductions for me are the hardest part. Once the ice has thawed and I’ve cozied in to my surroundings, I feel completely at ease with my peers. Some may even call me outgoing. I call myself an ambivert– introverted in the beginning, but extroverted once I’ve gotten over the initial obstacle of meeting new people.

Again, guys, I’m trying to find confidence in my social identity without the aid of my manic episodes. The manias helped me through my shyness. They gave me a false sense of courage and confidence. My mood stabilizers have significantly reduced the magnitude of such hypomanias, and thus, have grounded me to reality. I don’t know if I like this change in me or not. For without the manias, I question how confident around people I truly am. I’ve grown more insecure and less steady, in social situations, at least in the initial stages.

All of this is a process of rebuilding a pillar of my identity from scratch, and I am no stranger to such a phenomenon. I must be kind to myself as I build up my social confidence, just as I did when initially diagnosed with social anxiety disorder at age 16. Don’t judge myself too harshly when I lose my cool in social situations. Befriend the anxiety, then attack in head on.

After today’s episode, I am determined to improve my speaking skills. Bruin Toastmasters meets every Thursday at 12pm. Unfortunately, I have class at 12:30pm, but because this particular class is BruinCasted (video recorded), I can afford to skip it and simply watch the lecture online. Starting tomorrow, I will attend weekly Toastmasters meetings and chronicle my increase in social confidence. I have a good feeling about this! More than Toastmasters, I will take initiative to raise my hand more often in class, and maybe even rush a sorority– if for nothing else, to gain more exposure to meeting new people.

The thing with social anxiety is, it never truly goes away. You always have to do the heavy-work of keeping the anxiety at bay, by continually challenging and exposing yourself to situations that may make you nervous. It’s called maintenance. Just as one with diabetes must be attentive to diet and exercise, so should those with anxiety take measures to exorcise those demons, on a daily basis.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

 

 

 

Best,

Belicia

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