Tending Your Social Anxiety Garden

When social anxiety flares up, it’s like a wall is being placed around me. A wall of weeds, maybe. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

This is one reason that I’m not so sure social anxiety can be “cured.” ⁣⠀

I think it can be managed, much like a gardener manages the growth of unwanted weeds in her flower beds. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

But if she stops pruning and tending, the flower beds become overgrown, and she has a lot of work ahead of her. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

That’s how I see social anxiety, or my experience of social anxiety. ⁣⠀ ⁣

If I’m not constantly pushing myself to stay engaged with other humans, the fear returns. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

It’s tiring. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

And it’s sad, because I think there might be something of a social butterfly trapped inside this social anxiety chrysalis.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

𝘞𝘰𝘸, 𝘢𝘮 𝘐 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘪𝘹𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘱 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘱𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦. 𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘱𝘩𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘮𝘰𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘦. (𝘐 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘴, 𝘵𝘰𝘰.) ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

Social anxiety is not *who I am.* I am not social anxiety. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

I’m the gardener. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

Social anxiety is the overgrowth. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

But the past few days, I have been struggling to even pick up the pruning shears. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

I just wanted to let you know, because I know I haven’t replied to you the way I normally do.

But I’m here, and I see you, and I appreciate you. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

And if you’re in the midst of a flare-up too, my gentle words of advice would be to remember that social anxiety is not who you are. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

𝐘𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

(𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘭𝘺.)⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

9 thoughts on “Tending Your Social Anxiety Garden

  1. It’s hard for me to remember this with social anxiety and depression, as well as high functioning autism. It’s so easy to see myself as my diagnoses.

    I think social anxiety does get worse if you don’t work on it and I think I have gone backwards in these months under lockdown because of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We have also lost momentum in self-care and coping skills under COVID-19 sheltering. We are finally getting some us-time alone—yay!!!!!!!❤️💕❤️💕❤️💕❤️💕❤️ and, fortunately, we love the weeds! They produce flowers and their seeds feed the birds. Planting and gardening are about expectations—and sometimes you don’t get what you want or planted/planned for. Accepting weeds for us is sometimes the route to enjoying what is growing in us. Craving what isn’t happening and avoiding what is happening both lead to suffering for us. We wish you the peace of accepting you where you are, as-is, unconditionally

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your gardening metaphor is helpful in understanding this. It makes perfect sense when you look at it that way. Unfortunately, the weeds can take over a space in no time if you don’t stay on top of them. But it must be hard, and tiring, to be on high alert all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My goodness, I know the feeling! I struggled with both depression and social anxiety for many years due to being bullied in school. And it’s the hardest thing to deal with. But know that it can be overcome. I want you to know that you have a friend and my heart breaks for you and anyone who struggles with it because, as you implied, it’s like living in a prison of weeds! However, there are times when we need to be away from people and have a little me-time. That can be good for us. Thank you so much for posting!

    Like

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