Anxiety Mama Series #1: Our Journeys Through Anxiety with Marijke Visser

I went live on Instagram for the first time! My friend Marijke (@girlmom.strong) and I chatted for an hour about how anxiety has impacted our lives and influenced our motherhood.

Some things we talked about:

  • Anxiety levels at the beginning and end of the Live
  • What anxiety looks like for us
  • How anxiety impacts our parenting
  • Tips for someone experiencing anxiety
  • Favourite books on mental health or motherhood
  • Questions from viewers

This video is now available on IGTV for anyone who might be interested! (Or you can scroll down!)

I can’t bring myself to re-watch it yet.

We’re talking about making this a monthly series, like Anxiety Mama Monthly or something. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The feature photo for this post includes part of the promo graphic created by Marijke.

Blast From The Past: I Used To Blog About Freelance Translation and Editing

So, this isn’t something I’ve talked about much on here, but when I’m not blushing gingerly or being a wife and mom, I do freelance translation and editing.

Before the kids were born, this was my full-time job. Over time, it moved to part-time, and the flexibility to be able to do this is exactly why I chose freelancing.

Since lockdown started, I have hit pause and I’m not taking on work (with one possible exception upcoming). It’ll continue like this for the summer since school is over now. I know this is a privilege not all families have, and I’m grateful that we have the option to have one of us pause work.

Aaaanyway, this is all a long preface to say that, years ago, I wrote a blog on being a freelance translator and editor. And this post that I’m reblogging is from the blog. (Unfortunately, I am not able to get back into the site as an admin. I tried but it says the blog is deleted… which it clearly isn’t.)

I had a bit of a worlds colliding moment (to quote my friend Liz) this week when someone approached me about possibly discussing translation and anxiety.

And it made me realize that I have never really talked about how severely my freelancing growth has been affected by social anxiety.

So I wanted to share this post. I’m contemplating whether or not this is a topic worth spending some time on going forward. Social anxiety as an entrepreneur must surely affect lots of people, right?

Here’s the post! I hope you enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚ It feels like revisiting a past life, for me.

Sadie

Cibliste

Iโ€™m a little ashamed to admit that I have been unfairly interpreting my catโ€™s refusal to spend time with me as targeted rejection on a very personal level.ย Heโ€™s a recent rescue cat, you see, and very timid. He spends most of his day behind the washer, and hisses when heโ€™s afraid (which is always).

This weekend, I had an Aha! moment that has already helped me not take my catโ€™s behaviour to heartโ€”and I think itโ€™s a lesson that can help us freelancers deal with rejection from prospective clients as well.

My moment of clarity occurred thanks to an excellent event this past Saturday called โ€œBuilding Your Freelance Business: A One-Day Seminar for Writers and Editors.โ€ For me, one of the quotes of the day came from Diane Davy (Work in Culture) during her presentation โ€œRunning Your Business Better.โ€ Iโ€™m paraphrasing a little from memory, butโ€ฆ

View original post 329 more words

Social Anxiety in the Bedroom #2: 15 Shockingly Honest Thoughts

Content warning: If you are related to me and/or a client and/or a former employer and/or a little squeamish about hearing details of my brain on sex, you may want to skip this one. (Obviously you’re welcome to read on if you’re cool with this topic.) The previous post is not about sex, and it’s here: Social Anxiety Is Standing In My Way Today. No worries, no pressure. xoxo


People are sometimes surprised when I say my social anxiety doesn’t “go away” when I’m with my husband.โ €
โ €
And I totally get where the surprise is coming from, but the reality is that social anxiety is present even when I’m by myself.โ €
โ €
Because my mind is always with me.โ €
โ €
Social anxiety is a disorder. It’s not the same as shyness, which can fade with familiarity with someone. โ €
โ €
I definitely don’t experience social anxiety symptoms as intensely with my husband. But they’re still there. They’re always there. โ €
โ €
And I know from chatting with others that it can be hard for a non-anxious partner to understand just how ever-present the disorder is. โ €
โ €
Especially when it comes to sex.โ €
โ €
And I can empathize with that, too. If I’m getting naked with this other human, shouldn’t that mean I’m fairly comfortable with myself in this situation? โ €
โ €
Yeah. No. Social anxiety laughs at that naive hope. โ €

Today, I’m sharing a very incomplete list of anxious thoughts I’ve had in the bedroom. I hope it’s relatable and helpful and makes you feel less alone.


15 Socially Anxious Thoughts I Have During Sex

  1. Exactly how clean am I right now? When’s the last time I peed/showered/used a baby wipe
  2. What’s the last thing I ate? Should I brush my teeth, or will that be *too* fresh?โฃโ €โฃโ €
  3. Why am I wearing my [insert geeky graphic tee] again? (He has legit said, “Is it a Foxy Mama kinda night or a Snaxolotl kinda night?”)
  4. Should I take charge? I don’t want to take charge.โฃโ €โฃโ €
  5. Have I gone on top yet this month? This season? (I’m not against going on top, it’s just that I’m always tired and also it’s also a very tummy-flappy position and when I’m on top, my knee pops, and that makes me feel old. I don’t want to feel old.)โฃโ €โฃโ €
  6. Oh shit, does ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ think I’m old?โฃโ €โฃโ €
  7. Ow, my hip.โฃโ €โฃโ €
  8. Do I look weird from this angle?โฃโ €โฃโ €
  9. Am I boring? โฃโ €โฃโ €
  10. Do I look old from this angle?โฃโ €โฃโ €
  11. Oh god I just saw my tummy. It looks like a waterbed. Don’t look down. Never look down.
  12. Am I looser since having the kids? Mental note to ask him after.โฃโ €
  13. Is my climax face weird? Mental note to ask him after.โฃโ €โฃโ €
  14. Is he bored? Definitely don’t ask him right this second..
  15. Wow, that was an intense 10 minutes mentally. Anyway!

Parting Thoughts

These worries are real, but I’ve presented them in a lighthearted way.โฃ This is also a shortlist.
โฃโ €
I don’t necessarily have ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ thought above in this ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต order ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ time we get naked. โฃโ €
โฃโ €
But… I definitely have had all these thoughts often enough to write them down. โฃโ €

There’s a lot more to say about the intersection of (social) anxiety and sex/sexuality.

But I think I’ll leave it here for now.

This post originally appeared as two posts on Instagram. This one and this one:

View this post on Instagram

๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด… ๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜…๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—บ. โฃโ € โฃโ € ๐˜ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ป๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜บ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜บ'๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต! ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ! ๐˜น๐˜ฐ๐˜น๐˜ฐโฃโ € โฃโ € ๐—œ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ: โฃโ € These worries are real, but I've presented them in a lighthearted way.โฃโ € โฃโ € I don't necessarily have ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ thought below in this ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต order ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ time we get naked. โฃโ € โฃโ € But… I definitely have had all these thoughts often enough to write them down. โฃโ € โฃโ € ๐— ๐˜† ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜…๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜…: โฃโ € โฃโ € Exactly how clean am I right now? When's the last time I peed/showered/used a baby wipe?โฃโ € โฃโ € What's the last thing I ate? Should I brush my teeth, or will that be *too* fresh?โฃโ € โฃโ € Why am I wearing my [insert geeky graphic tee] again? (He has legit said, "Is it a Foxy Mama kinda night or a Snaxolotl kinda night?") โฃโ € โฃโ € Should I take charge? I don't want to take charge.โฃโ € โฃโ € Have I gone on top yet this month? This season? (I'm not against going on top, it's just that I'm always tired and also it's also a very tummy-flappy position and when I'm on top, my knee pops, and that makes me feel old. I don't want to feel old.)โฃโ € โฃโ € Oh shit, does ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ think I'm old?โฃโ € โฃโ € Ow, my hip.โฃโ € โฃโ € Do I look weird from this angle?โฃโ € โฃโ € Am I boring? โฃโ € โฃโ € Do I look old from this angle?โฃโ € โฃโ € Oh god I just saw my tummy. It looks like a waterbed. Don't look down. Never look down. โฃโ € โฃโ € Am I looser since having the kids? Mental note to ask him after. โฃโ € โฃโ € Is my climax face weird? Mental note to ask him after.โฃโ € โฃโ € Is he bored? Definitely don't ask him right this second. . Wow, that was an intense 10 minutes mentally. Anyway! โฃโ € โฃโ € ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€โฃโ € ๐˜ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ'๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ'๐˜ต ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ซ๐˜ฐ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜น. ๐˜ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ. ๐˜‰๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜'๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜น๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ. โฃโ € โฃโ € ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜€๐—ผ ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฐ.

A post shared by Social Anxiety & Perfectionism (@blushyginger) on

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. โฃโ € โฃโ €

This is one reason that I’m not so sure social anxiety can be “cured.” โฃโ €

I think it can be managed, much like a gardener manages the growth of unwanted weeds in her flower beds. โฃโ € โฃโ €

But if she stops pruning and tending, the flower beds become overgrown, and she has a lot of work ahead of her. โฃโ € โฃโ €

That’s how I see social anxiety, or my experience of social anxiety. โฃโ € โฃ

If I’m not constantly pushing myself to stay engaged with other humans, the fear returns. โฃโ € โฃโ €

It’s tiring. โฃโ € โฃโ €

And it’s sad, because I think there might be something of a social butterfly trapped inside this social anxiety chrysalis.โฃโ € โฃโ €

๐˜ž๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ ๐˜ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜น๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ. ๐˜๐˜ต’๐˜ด ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ. (๐˜ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด, ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ.) โฃโ € โฃโ €

Social anxiety is not *who I am.* I am not social anxiety. โฃโ € โฃโ €

I’m the gardener. โฃโ € โฃโ €

Social anxiety is the overgrowth. โฃโ € โฃโ €

But the past few days, I have been struggling to even pick up the pruning shears. โฃโ € โฃโ €

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. โฃโ € โฃโ €

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. โฃโ € โฃโ €

๐˜๐จ๐ฎ’๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ ๐š๐ซ๐๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ซ. โฃโ € โฃโ €

(๐˜ˆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ง๐˜ญ๐˜บ.)โฃโ € โฃโ €

Recovery Is Not About “Getting Over Your Issues”

I used to think that if I could just “get over my issues,” I would be happy.

๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ’๐ฌ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž “๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ ๐š๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ” ๐ฆ๐ฒ๐ญ๐ก ๐ข๐ง ๐š ๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ. โฃโ € โฃโ €

Plus, my interpretation of ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด looked like stuffing them down inside and ploughing ahead, hiding my limping mental health. โฃโ € โฃ

I say ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ because if I had *actually* been limping physically, I would have stopped to rest and assess. โฃโ € โฃโ €

Not so with mental health. โฃโ € โฃ

Today, I no longer think it’s ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ/๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ. It’s not “either you have issues, ๐จ๐ซ you are happy.” It’s not “either you get over your issues, ๐จ๐ซ you remain unhappy.”โฃโ € โฃโ €

The two are not mutually exclusive, nor does one guarantee the other.โฃโ € โฃ

Overcoming ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ/๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ, ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ-๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ-๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ is an ongoing part of the recovery process, for me. โฃโ € โฃโ €

Thanks for reading. xoxoโฃโ € โฃโ €

P.S. ๐˜’๐˜ฎ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜จ-๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ want ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ. ๐˜’๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜’๐˜ฎ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜บ.

I’d like to share a post by fellow mental health blogger Megan, because she has echoed a lot of what I’m experiencing from an anxiety perspective: Mental Health Monday: 7 Tips for Having Hard Conversations About Race When Youโ€™re White and Have Anxiety

I will end with this thought, which is imperfect, but my understanding of everything that’s going on is just as imperfect and constantly evolving:

Social Anxiety in the Bedroom #1: The Struggle Is Real

Content warning: …sex. Obviously. (Not too graphic though.)


If I had to break down socially anxious sex into 4 overly simplistic, tongue-in-cheek steps, it might look like this:

Step 1:

Start with all the typical fears related to social anxiety.

To name just a few:

Being judged by others in social situations

Being embarrassed or humiliated — and showing it by blushing, sweating, or shaking

Accidentally offending someone

Being the center of attention

Source: WebMD

Step 2:

Hold on tight to those fears as you remove all your clothing.

You are now naked.

Proceed to step 3.

Step 3:

Continue to hold on tight to those fears as you turn to other human or humans in room.

Note that they, too, are naked.

And looking at you.

Step 4:

Prepare to interact with other human(s) in the most intimate way imaginable.

Now.

Right now.

Congratulations!

You are now ready to have socially anxious sex.

But Seriously Though

It’s not your fault if anxiety is creating challenges for you related to intimacy or sex.

You didn’t choose to have anxiety in the bedroom any more than you chose to have it outside the bedroom.

Anxiety doesn’t END at the bedroom door

(I keep saying bedroom but feel free to replace this with your sexy location of choice.)

Anxiety is hard enough to manage during non-sexy times, and it affects an individual’s whole life.

So it only makes sense that these challenges would carry over into the bedroom. You’re still the same person there, after all.

Anxiety can be a mood killer

It can be physically difficult, if not impossible, to relax enough to enjoy the moment. (No relaxy, no climaxy.)

Medication can be a factor

SSRI and SNRI medications can cause sexual side effects.

This can be infuriating, embarrassing, and discouraging. (There are ways to mitigate this effect depending on the medication. For example, for me, adding Wellbutrin [buproprion] offset the anorgasmia caused by SNRI and SSRI medication. Talk to your doc.)

Anxiety is pretty common here anyway

Sex can be nerve-wracking even without an anxiety disorder in the mix.

It can be fun but scary, exhilarating but finicky, restorative but messy. (So messy.)

Moral of the story: We’re all imperfect

Please don’t be too hard on your imperfect self for being imperfect in the bedroom, too.

Anxiety disorder or not, WE ARE *ALL* IMPERFECT IN THE BEDROOM.

AND DON’T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU BELIEVE OTHERWISE.

xoxo

P.S. Why I Wrote This Post

The impact of social anxiety on sexuality is a legitimate issue that I would love to see discussed in a candid and relatable way.

The tone I aimed for here is lighthearted and hopefully a little funny.

This isn’t “the” definitive post on socially anxious sex.

I’m just hoping to open the door to more conversation and thought.

And even if there’s no public talk, maybe someone out there will feel a little less alone and a little more understood. xoxo

Thinking Back To My Shy Teens

There have been times when I’ve thought back on my teens and 20s, and wondered:

Did my debilitating shyness and untreated social anxiety come across as me being unfriendly or thinking I was too good to make friends?



In high school, I was an anxious overachiever.

  • I always aimed for A+ and panicked if it didn’t happen (or seemed like it might not happen).
  • I memorized every detail I could before a test (but was too fretful to ever pause to digest the information).
  • I became editor-in-chief of the high school yearbook because I NEEDED TO MATTER.

Beneath the surface, hidden from even my own insight and self-awareness, I was riddled with anxiety, perfectionism, and rock-bottom self-esteem.

Years later, a former classmate made an offhand comment that I don’t remember verbatim, but it came down to “you were too good to hang out with us.”

My teenage self would have been mortified to hear this.

That shy, lost, neurotic 16-year-old who wanted nothing more than to stop feeling like she only mattered if she was perfect.

There is so much I would go back and tell that girl. So much pain and burden I would try to take off her shoulders.

I had no idea how I came across back then. All I wanted to know was, “Am I okay yet? Am I good enough now? Is this right?”



I’m 34 now

  • I still don’t have a good sense of how I come across to others.
  • I wonder if my “extra-ness” and nerdiness and perfectionism come across as stuck-up or goody-two-shoes.
  • I wonder if my empathy and vulnerability and people-pleasing nature peg me as an underdog, a sort of homely but hopeless puppy.
  • I wonder if my social anxiety and shyness make me seem flakey and cold and uninvested.

These worries are becoming easier to manage as I grow and heal.

Most of the time, they are background music that I can consciously tune out. The music takes over only in my hurting moments.

But I’ve come a long way. I’ve learned that imperfect is way more relatable.

And that it’s better to be the flawed, friendly person at the party than the aloof cool kid that everyone is afraid to approach. (Not that I was “cool” anyway.)

Is This a realistic goal?

I want to get to a solid place of not needing to care either way.

I want my sense of self and self-esteem to be so unshakable that I just do my thing, appearances and perceptions be damned.

But I’m prepared to accept that I still have a lot to learn about all this.

I Am Not Social Anxiety (And Neither Are You) โฃ

I am not social anxiety, but I accept it as part of my life.

I’m still working in the direction of “recovery,” but I’ve made space for a lot of nuance in what I think that looks like. โฃ

I think I used to equate recovery with “cure,” and I used to think “cured” meant no longer socially anxious or held back by “shyness” or “introversion” at all. โฃ

But that mindset came from a place of unnecessary and hurtful self-rejection. โฃ

Self-acceptance

I had to shift to a place of self-acceptance before any recovery could really take place. โฃAnd there have been some other changes, too:

  • I stopped viewing shyness or introversion negatively once I realized they weren’t the same thing as social anxiety (or as one another).
  • I’ve started to see social anxiety disorder as the thing that makes me censor myself from the world. โฃEven from myself sometimes. Recovery has meant learning to turn down the censor and let the real me emerge. โฃ
  • Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that self-shame is just not a useful tool for recovery.

Not broken

I’m learning to accept that who I am inside is ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต the problem. And that recovery doesn’t mean “fixing” the real me within.

I’m not broken.

Please don’t beat yourself up if you experience social anxiety. You’re not bad or weak or broken.

You are not social anxiety.

xoxo

I’m Not an Expert (Hello New Readers!)

โฃHello there, new readers (and oldie-but-goodies)!

โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃI’m Sadie.โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ


โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃI’ve had a bit of growth on my blog and Instagram account recently, so I wanted to take a quick moment of your precious time to re-state that ๐˜’๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ข ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ญ.โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ

Just as a sort of disclaimer for my own peace of mind.


General update for readers old and new

I’m going to experiment with my posting schedule and post styles for the next couple of weeks. Jesse has been super helpful as a sounding board on all this. โค

I need something to help with my blogger’s block and blogging perfectionism that I’m struggling with since I decided to make my Monday posts “BIG DEAL POLISHED PIECES.” (Maybe I’ll do an actual post on THAT, too.)

Just as a heads-up if you start seeing me more often and/or more informally. I hope you’ll bear with me!


โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃMy account has always been about sharing ๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฌ๐จ๐œ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐š๐ง๐ฑ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ข๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐๐ž. โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ

โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃI share my reflections on what I have learned (and am still learning) from therapy and beyond, but it always comes from a ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž. โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ

โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃThere are some fabulous therapists and coaches out there. โฃโฃโฃโฃ

โฃโฃโฃโฃI’m neither of those things.

(๐˜ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต’๐˜ด ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต.)โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ

โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃI want to share my own ๐ซ๐š๐ฐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฅ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ฌ so that, hopefully, ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ž๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐š๐ฅ๐จ๐ง๐ž if you’re going through similar things or know someone who is. โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ

โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ๐˜ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฑ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ซ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜บ.

โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃI’d love to have you follow along so we can learn from each other :)โฃโฃ

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What do you like to share on your own blog?

๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ‘‡โฃโฃโฃโฃโฃโฃ

I Took 4 Online Tests for Social Anxiety: Here Are My Results

In 2018, I did a 12-week group therapy program for social anxiety (I talk about some aspects of the program in this post).

As part of the program, we were regularly asked to complete a questionnaire to track our level of social anxiety.

At the beginning of the program, my score was at the highest end of Severe, on a scale of Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Very Severe.

At the end of the program, it was at the lowest end of Severe. (Progress!)

During the program, I briefly went into the Very Severe range (it was around the time we started doing exposure therapy). But I also dipped down to the lowest end of Moderate during the program as well.

Anxiety levels vary with time and circumstances and many other factors. That’s why they scored us weekly — to see the overall picture.

It’s been a while since I had a formal assessment, so I was curious to see where I might fall on some online tests.

I included some screenshots of my answers and scores.

Read on, friends! I hope you find the post interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚


Test 1:

PSYCOM Social Anxiety Test

My score on this test:

“Strong indication of social anxiety disorder (social phobia).”

Question example:

“Are you extremely conscious of your actions when in social settings because you fear they might offend someone or you could be rejected?”

My answer: Very often.

Thoughts:

I like the way the score is phrased here: “Strong indication of.” It makes it extra clear that this is not a diagnostic tool.

They include an image of where your score falls on anxiety-ometer (what would you call this?), but I’m not sure how meaningful it is, especially compared to, say, the ranges included in the results for Test 3 below.


Test 2:

Psychology Today Social Anxiety Test

My score on this test:

“No strengths.” (Fabulous.)

Question example:

“I blush frequently when talking to others.”

My answer: Completely true. (Hence the title of my blog.)

THOUGHTS:

You have to pay $6.95 to see the full tests results (which I guess is fair? the other sites don’t charge though), and they do tell you about the fee before you start the test.

The results they give you for free are not terribly insightful — they are more of a categorization of things you may already know about yourself. I read it and thought, “Well, yeah. Obviously.”

I wouldn’t recommend this test, unless maybe you want to buy the full report, but I can’t actually speak to the contents of the reports they give.


Test 3:

MIND DIAGNOSTICS

Social Anxiety Disorder Test

My score on this test:

“Extreme Social Anxiety (49/72).”

Question example:

“How often do you avoid expressing disagreement or disapproval to someone you don’t know well?”

My answer: Usually.

THOUGHTS:

My answer to that question above would actually be “always,” but that was not a choice.

They give you your full results, and the option of either signing up with your email address or skipping to results.

I like the language they use: “may be experiencing extreme social anxiety.” Not “you may HAVE extreme social anxiety” or “you may be SUFFERING FROM extreme social anxiety.”

I don’t personally mind if people use words like have or suffer from conversationally, but in the context of a test like this, I think neutral language is valuable.

I also like that they show you the score ranges.


Test 4:

Social Anxiety Institute

Test for Social Anxiety Disorder

My score on this test:

“71/90: High amount of social anxiety.”

Question example:

“Answering your phone without looking at who’s calling.”

My answer: High.

THOUGHTS:

The questions were straightforward, and I liked the colour-coded answers.

I did find myself wishing there was an option for “very high,” because there were a lot of situations where I would feel more anxiety than the situations where I said “high.”

For example, I would say “high” to a statement like, “answering the phone,” period. If you add “without looking at who’s calling,” then my anxiety level becomes “very high.”

(As in, I would absolutely never do that. That’s why we have voicemail. And google. For number checking.)

Oh and you do have to give your email address to access the results.


Final thoughts

Honestly, I really enjoy taking tests, whether they’re for mental health or personality or “What Kind of Pusheen Are You?

(I’m a Classic Pusheen at the moment, apparently.)

But that’s for another post.

In terms of my results on these four social anxiety tests, I have a few thoughts:

A little surprised

On the one hand, I’m a little surprised that I scored so high on the social anxiety scales, considering the therapy I’ve done and the fact that I’m showing up candidly and somewhat confidently on my blog and Instagram.

(It helps that there aren’t any non-child-non-husband humans around when I write.)

Lockdown effects?

On the other hand, the results are perhaps being skewed by the effects of the lengthy lockdown (entering week 8 as I write this).

I’m not seeing anyone but family, and tensions are just generally high in public. And, you know, globally.

Change how you look at progress

Even with therapy, I haven’t “erased” social anxiety from my life. I get anxious about many of the same things, to varying degrees.

The difference is that I’ve learned to better tolerate the anxiety.

Maybe if there was a test that measured “ability to function with/tolerate social anxiety,” those results would reflect my progress.

That’s a takeaway I’m pretty happy with, actually.


Three more tests

I was concerned about making the post too long, so I’m just going to list these here in case you want to take them yourself:


Disclaimer

This post is entirely for information/entertainment purposes, and not meant to provide instructions on treating or diagnosing any mental health concerns. Doctors first, always. xox


Have you taken any of these tests?

Feel free to talk about your results or thoughts in the comments!

I always enjoy your lovely comments. ๐Ÿ™‚