My Bookish Life. Fighting Social Anxiety

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Disclaim: Everyone deals with social anxiety differently. This blog post explores my experience as a blogger with social anxiety.
Being a blogger means sharing tiny little pieces of your life. In my case, I share my thoughts on books, from reviews to fangirling over my most anticipated releases and fictional crushes. Many times, I come across as enthusiastic and funny (at least, I try to be funny, but I think that I'm not very good at it), which maybe would never lead you to guess that I struggle with social anxiety

It's easy to hide who you on the internet. The perfect place to pretend to be someone you're not. Many of you don't realise that it takes me a lot of "courage" to, for example, comment someone's tweet or new post - especially if it's someone I admire. Anyway...

Blogging helps me to share my thoughts without having to voice them. For me, writing has always been far easier than speaking. The reason I worried all summer about my masters was that my grades would be based on oral presentations (I got over it because I got to met my classmates and I felt comfortable around them). Nevertheless, many times, writing ends up being also a source of stress and I must deal with the same worries and irrational thoughts that I do when dealing with strangers.

Firstly, there are a lot of fears:
  • Fear of writing the wrong "thing". Every time I write something that I find controversial (such as my post on reviewing ARCs), I always worry that people will take my opinion to heart. Or that my words may began a hate wave and throw an angry mob against me. Okay, this was excessive, but I think you understand where I'm going. This is the same kind same as fear that takes over me when I'm concerned about saying the wrong thing and make a fool of myself or anger someone.
  • Fear of being rejected. I've thought many times about deleting my Instagram account because the photos I put all of my heart and soul (and free time) don't receive likes. If you have an Instagram account, you know about the algorithm and how it, pardon my language, screws small account. It's the rational explanation! Nonetheless, an irrational fear of being rejected overpowers me. Moreover, sometimes, I don't have the will to update my blog because my stats are low. If no one wants to read my thoughts - if my thoughts are being rejected - what is the point of keep going with something that is a source of anxiety?
  • Fear of judgement. I constantly think about what other people may think about me - even if they live miles away. Not everyone is going to like me and not everyone will have nice things to say about me. But this should be a "real" life issue, not something that I should feel online. Sadly, it does! I worry too much about being judged by my words.
Secondly, I find myself hidden in the shadows. Because of social anxiety, it's hard to put yourself in new situations, which means, it can be tough to be part of a community and create bonds with new people. I watch them talking and sharing ideas, and I fear that if I step in, I'll be intruding - I worry that I'm meddling where I shouldn't. Many times, I end up feeling out of place. I see that everyone is so close and friendly that just there's no place for me. I understand that I can't always be frightened of speaking my mind, but when it comes to anxiety, you are not dealing with rational part of the self.

And, yes, I do try to put my input and get over all of my fears of being shunned away. Of course, I'll have to walk away from my laptop and resist the urge to delete whatever I wrote, but, at least, I did it! *I'm probably fighting the urge not to delete this post*

The older I get, the easier it becomes not to let myself feel down about something I've no control over or to be overcome by fears of rejection or judgement. But, often, these sensations return because my stupid lizard brain doesn't listen to its rational side.

Please, don't mistake this post for a call for pity. I'm addressing social anxiety because I believe there should be more awareness among the blog community concerning this issue. 

Bloggers have social anxiety.

What bloggers show is just a tiny part of their lifes. You don't know if they are actually funny or live a glamorous life. You don't know if it's nerve-wrecking for them to share something and not be frightened into deleting it. All you know is what they let you see.

11 comments :

  1. I can relate to worrying about saying the wrong thing or being rejected. I accept that different people have different tastes in books, but I have had a few people make me feel bad for liking something. I hope I never do that to someone. And yes, it is hard to put yourself out there, but I just try to focus on the lovely people who support me. I also agree with you, that it gets easier as I get older. I still struggle with going out when it is dark, my heart pounds each day during my commute, and eating alone in public makes me sweat, but it's not as bad as it used to be. I think as I have gotten older, I care more about what I think and less about what others think too.

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  2. I love this. I have social anxiety too and while I've definitely gotten a lot better, it's still there. I've been blogging for a really long time but I still have worries about not fitting in, or finding my people, or having someone comment something negative on something I wrote. I appreciate you talking about this though!!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  3. I'm pretty new to Instagram, so I didn't know that about the algorithim at all...:( But my photos are terrible anyway so I don't suppose it affects me that much. :')
    I have a pretty small following (like less than fifty-hundred regular readers) but I get what you mean about posting controversial stuff. I have a post I've written about the problem with the word problematic, but I'm worried that if I post it I'll alienate some of my lovely regular commenters. I guess that post still needs some work...

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  4. This is such an honest post. I struggle with anxiety and depression which makes blogging harder on me as I get lulls in energy. I find it a bit hard to talk openly on my social mediums because of this but then I also realized that I just need to take it a step at a time :) Whether it's commenting honestly on other blog posts or posting a negative review, it's a small thing but for me it's an accomplishment!

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  5. Hey Tânia! I found you through the International Bloggers discord group. I've tagged you for the Unique Blogger Award. Check out my post here:
    https://unputdownablebooks.blog/2018/01/06/unique-blogger-award/
    Hope you decide to accept it and do it over on your blog as well. :)

    I'm new here but I'm already really loving the look and feel of your blog. I will definitely visit again when I'm a bit more free to check out more of your posts. :)

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  6. I feel you a lot on this post, especially the part about being hidden in the shadows. It is hard to feel like you belong when you see everyone already being such good friends. It can feel like you will never find someone in the community like that for yourself.

    I also agree that as I get older things are easier to let go. Things don't shake me as easily as they would have a few years ago. But still I remember the feeling and understand when others feel it.

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  7. I RELATE TO THIS SO MUCH. I feel exactly the same. I love blogging because I'm also so much better than expressing myself through writing instead of vocally, but I also stress about posting content and what people will think of it.

    Beautiful, honest post <3 Thank you for writing this.

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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  8. Joining the blogging world was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I've always been extremely shy & have panic attacks and I never realized just how many other people are the same. And for some reason this is really common with book bloggers.

    I'm the same online - I can chat away but in person I'm like ahhhh freaking out inside.

    But blogging has helped push me out of my comfort zone by forcing myself to talk to authors, host things, attend book cons. People think I'm super outgoing too based on my blog/twitter but I'm not at all.

    It's in my nature to be an introvert so I don't think I'll ever get over it but I am better than I used to be. Getting older definitely helps. It's a lot of wasted stress.

    I don't worry so much on my blog. I feel safe there for some reason so I'm fine saying whatever and being honest - it's the in person stuff that freaks me out.
    For What It's Worth

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  9. Thanks for sharing such a honest and real post with us! I don't really have anxiety myself, I only get travel anxiety which is something that doesn't get to affect me often. It must really be something else to have social anxiety which affects so many areas of your life.

    That being said, thank you for all the times you keep going despite the fear of judgement, the hurt of rejection or nerves making it hard for you to voice your opinion. It means a lot that you keep going regardless of all of that, and that you are willing to share it here as well. <3

    My recent post: http://oliviascatastrophe.com/2017/12/18-goals-for-2018/

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  10. I love this post for how honest it is! Bloggers are often perceived as these individuals who know exactly what they're doing, saying or writing, but that's far from what one is. I definitely agree on the worry of writing the wrong thing; it always makes me think a lot before keeping my opinion out in the world because who knows what might offend someone. Regardless, writing is definitely my preference over speaking. Loved this post! <3

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  11. Thanks for your honest post. I relate to so many of the things you said, so definitely know that you're not alone. ♥

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