I went to my friend’s baby shower yesterday. It was fun. I was a little anxious, I had some negative thoughts running through my head, more comparing myself to others than anything, but I wasn’t “I have to leave this place right now” anxious. I felt pretty good. Normally, when it comes to my anxiety – social anxiety, generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, panic attacks – heck, when it comes to my anxiety, I don’t do well with crowds. It doesn’t matter if in my head I’m prepared for what’s to come. My anxiety is a faithful friend. It never lets me down and it WILL act a fool. So in the past I would have been ashamed and embarrassed, sad and hated myself and would avoid crowds. But now I’m like, “Embarrass me anxiety. I want you to. I dare you.” Because see now, I see it as a teacher. When it’s triggered, I know what I need to work on. I’m on a journey of learning to face my fears and I want to share something that I do now.
If you’re like me and you tend to grab your phone whenever you’re in an uncomfortable situation – waiting in line, doctor’s office, party or any social gathering like that, sitting alone, etc – try NOT grabbing your phone. Sit with that uncomfortable feeling. That anxious feeling. Feel what it feels like. I do this all the time now. Whenever I want to “run” from my anxiety, which I do by grabbing my phone and surfing the internet, turning on some music, watching tv, working, “keeping busy”, instead of doing that, I sit with that uncomfortable feeling. Yes, it is uncomfortable at first, but it goes away. It gets easier and easier each time you do it. Just try it. If it gets too much, by all means, grab that phone. And don’t hate yourself for needing to grab that phone either. It takes time. It’s a journey.
-Sonja Jackson, OpenHeartTin