Good Morning Guys! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend! Over here at the She
Prevails Headquarters, AKA my house, we had a day of rest and my kids requested we
watch all the Harry Potter movies lol. I was skeptical, but I actually enjoyed myself lol.
After a busy week and weekend, I needed the rest anyway.
Today I'm going to jump right into Mental Health and a few misconceptions I've heard
and read about. I have Anxiety and Depression. For those familiar with these two
diagnoses, they are very easy to hide. I can't tell you how many times
daily I'm put in a situation where I find myself having to put on a mask and hide my true
self. I never encourage others to do this, but as a wife and a mother times get tough. I
feel like I have to hide my feelings to protect my husband at times when he's going
through things or to shield my children so they don't know what I'm going through. I say
all this to say, not every illness can be seen.
Misconception #1: Social Anxiety isn't as common
Surprisingly it is, it's just misdiagnosed and not talked about enough. "It is actually
believed that between 2% and 13% of the population is thought to have social anxiety to
the point that it could be considered a disorder". That quote is taken from OxfordCBT.
Social anxiety is the third most common mental illness next to depression and
Misconception #2: Social Anxiety is just like being shy
I can tell from experience it is not. If you know me personally, then you know I'm nowhere near shy. I
love talking to people and my presence has been known to light up a room. I sing, make others laugh, and I just love to have fun. I can be shy at times, but when my anxiety takes over it's nothing like shyness. When it comes to labeling someone shy vs having Social Anxiety, you have to be very careful because that can be dangerous. Social anxiety can make you go to a dark place. For example, some come up with crazy
ridiculous lies just to get out of going places and doing things. When you truly have Social Anxiety, the simple thought of leaving the house to go somewhere that you didn't have planned can throw your whole day off. It can cause you to have a meltdown or have you obsessively worrying for hours or days. I know from experience that I can not be told anything last minute. It's hard on me and I start to think of every reason why I can't do it. My chest starts to hurt and I start to worry and get uncomfortable. I haven't
always been this way, but now that I am it's hard to shake.
Misconception #3: Social Anxiety only affects public speaking.
I'm not sure why a lot of people think this, but they do. Social Anxiety can and will affect
your whole life.
Talking in class
Meeting new people
Entering a room full of people
Eating while being watched
Using the bathroom in public places
Talking to authority
Going to parties
There is a lot about Social Anxiety that can affect your day-to-day. Maybe even. Going
to the grocery store can be hard.
Misconception #4: Only medicine can help Social Anxiety
FALSE. The medicine helps, BUT it's not a cure-all for EVERYONE. Everyone is not the
same, so what works for one might not work for the next. Do you need the medicine to
get rid of the anxiety? No. You can get rid of it on your own, but that takes strength,
constancy, a strong will, and determination. You've got to want to beat it. You have to
tell yourself you will no longer be a slave to your illness and it ends today! Therapy,
Yoga, and Meditation are a few good ways to start.
Misconception #5: People with Social Anxiety can just get over it.
Please stop suggesting this and stop flat-out thinking this. This is not true whatsoever.
With every fiber of my being, I wish I could "just get over it". I wish I would wake up one day and say, "Val cut that shit out and move on with your life". Guess what? I can't… I LITERALLY CAN NOT. My brain is not wired that way. Right now as I'm typing this I'm anxious about posting it because I don't know what people are going to think. My chest is filling with worry and is hurting. Do you know how that feels? When I tell you I can't do something and I don't feel comfortable doing it, it's because I literally can't. My
anxiety is at an all-time high and if given the chance my anxiety will drain my energy.
From a person who has Social Anxiety to a person who doesn't: WE CAN'T FLIP A
SWITCH AND TURN IT OFF. IT'S NOT A MAGICAL POWER. I feel this misconception
is the most important one because it's the one that people say so often. "Oh you're fine"
or "Get over it"; or "Just let it roll off your back"……
If only you could understand... I wish I could.