Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!
I am one to not keep my struggles and my negatives a secret to the world; at the end of the day, they are what make me the most human as possible. My mental health journey is also something I’m not one to keep a secret as well, which means that most of you know that I struggle with an anxiety disorder.
Since being diagnosed with SAD, I’ve been learning a lot about myself, the way it functions in my life, and how I could help those around me adapt to this new found information about me. Some of the things worked for me, and some didn’t; either way, it’s a constant journey of finding what truly helps me calm down at the end of each day.
When I say that this is such a cliche to even say… it’s cringey but oh-so-true.
The best way to cope and “cure” your anxiety is honestly being yourself.
I can see half of you clicking out of this post right about now, so please lemme explain! I know how vague and unhelpful it is to just tell someone who may be struggling with anxiety to just be themselves. If I was telling this to myself six months ago, I would’ve rolled my eyes and thought I was crazy. But there’s something to be said about anxiety: a lot of us who experience anxiety, particularly SAD, have a hard time accepting themselves for who they are and also have a hard time being themselves around people as well. A lot of our anxiety stems from a place of uncertainty and constant worry about if the people around us like us for us. Are they going to think we’re weird? Are we boring? Do I appear to be nervous? What happens if I’m a burden to be around? Am I too difficult to be friends with? These things are constantly circulating around our heads, constantly apologizing for being ourselves, thinking it’s bad to be ourselves around other people. And coming from experience, I know how difficult it is to be accepting of yourself.
The key to facing anxiety and learning to cope with it is learning how to make yourself comfortable as much as you can in social situations, and honestly, being yourself makes everything fall into place. Being yourself allows you to have some familiarity around when you’re socializing. It’s one thing to practice being yourself around other people, but it’s another thing to be unapologetic about being yourself to yourself. Yeah, that means you gotta tell yourself that it’s okay to be yourself, and that little voice in your head that tells you otherwise has no power towards your authentic self!
From personal experience, I’ve been actively telling myself whenever I’m feeling anxious is that “hey, I’m going to be okay, you won’t be judged, and you are fine just the way you are.” In the past– especially when I was first learning to cope with my anxiety– it was very hard for me to allow to feel other things besides “happiness” because I was afraid of ruining the moment or being too serious in an environment where it’s supposed to be fun. The fact of the matter is, yeah, there will be people who will not completely understand why you function the way you do, but that’s their loss if they decide to judge you more so on your lows (or humanness as I like to call it) than for all of the beautiful things you actually are. Then maybe those people aren’t for you. Anxiety or not, you shouldn’t feel like you can’t be yourself around anyone at the end of the day! You will always be you and that’s all you can bring to the table!
So, for my fellow readers who struggle with any form of anxiety or SAD, keep reminding yourself that you are not perfect, no matter how much the voice in your head wants you to believe that you can be. Keep reminding yourself that you are you and you are the most comfortable when you are being you, and I swear your anxiety in social situations will not even surface once you realize you are unapologetically being yourself. Keep reminding yourself that the negative parts of you just make you more human, and you should embrace them as much as possible so that even if no one else seems to want to accept them, at least you already have done so. Keep fighting for you!