The interview with insauga.com on Rogers TV Peel, was an amazing opportunity. The hosts were welcoming and kind; they knew how nervous I was and took the time to help me feel comfortable and at ease. It is an experience I will never forget, but not for the obvious reasons you may be thinking.
You see, the truth is I have social anxiety. It is more than just feeling shy or introverted. I have an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. I find it difficult to speak with more than one person at a time, never mind in a group and live on TV.
So, this interview that took nine minutes is probably not a big deal to most; it would likely even be exciting to many. Not for me though. For me it was terrifying and my old unwanted house guest "anxiety" decided to plan a visit and stay for the whole week, until the day of the interview.
A person with social anxiety is truly afraid of being closely watched and judged. It brings on fear that results in self-consciousness and usually will lead to avoidance.
This has been a reoccurring theme in my life. I avoid social situations at all costs. I can honestly reveal that I experience emotional distress in so many interactions, especially meeting new people and being the centre of attention. I nearly missed my wedding day because the fear of walking down the aisle in front of 200 people, was so intense that I could barely handle it.
When I was asked to be on the show, I immediately went into panic mode and the distorted thinking kicked in along with the anticipatory anxiety. I was already beginning to sweat and shake and have thoughts of "what if I sound like an idiot", "I am not confident enough to do this", "I am going to look nervous and fumble over my words", and the list goes on and on. I tortured myself the whole week along with my family and friends who listened to me rant about my self-doubt.
Logically, I knew that all of this was just false beliefs stemming from old patterns and really everything was going to be fine. I knew this, however I definitely did not feel it.
What I have learned, is that you cannot think your way out of feeling something that is occurring in your body through positive self talk. It doesn't work and I am going to call it out. It's bullshit! Sometimes the fear just won't go away and its okay to approach something and be afraid.
In the past I have tried all the tricks that come with being positive but at the end of the day, it feels inauthentic and you are left feeling defeated and emotionally exhausted. What works for me is allowing the anxiety or emotion to just hang out; let it be there with all its nasty opinions, too. The truth is that "the more you resist, the more it persists". I learned this the hard way and would battle with that mind chatter on a daily basis.
The unwanted house guest left after the interview that day. I felt proud that I stepped into what was a challenge for me and faced it with all my insecurities and doubts in tow. They just come along for the ride now. I have learned to express that they are present and are a part of me, and you know what? No one seems to mind anyway.
With light and love