By Shae Hansen
Emotional and physical isolation is something that is truly challenging for me. I often feel like I want to barricade myself in my house and not ever emerge. I don’t feel like talking to people, and I don’t feel like even being in the vicinity as others. Socializing will peak my anxiety through the roof. Having discovered a physical problem, I became aware that one part of recovery was lacking. I was isolating myself. So I developed five tools I could use to overcome my social anxiety.
Several months ago, I discovered that I have low thyroid (hypothyroidism). I had been tested for hypothyroidism before, but was told that everything looked normal. It wasn’t until I found out from my mother-in-law that doctors don’t test your T3 levels or your T4 levels, unless you ask specifically for them. I decided to do some research which yielded some very interesting results. I discovered that I was exhibiting most, if not all, of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. I started taking natural supplements for my thyroid and started to feel better almost immediately.
Before taking the supplements, I had been constantly moody and irritable. I would shut myself away and not emerge from my room for days at a time. The thought of being around people gave me major anxiety. After I started taking the thyroid supplements I saw a vast improvement in my mood. I seemed to be an entirely different person! I noticed that I was starting to be happier and less angry and sad.
What I didn’t see as much improvement in was in my isolating myself from others. When I asked my doctor about this, I was told that it would take some time, but I would have to put in a large amount of effort to see significant changes. With what my doctor told me in mind, I set out to find ways to help me feel better about being around people. I was determined to learn how to cope with socializing, and wanted to desire being around my family and friends again.
How I Overcome My Social Anxiety
I was able to find 5 ways to help me cope with my anxiety of being around other people:
1. Thyroid Supplements
When I am taking my thyroid supplements, I feel better about being sociable. I have less anxiety, and I feel like I’m able to relax and have an enjoyable time.
I’ve heard many times that anxiety and depression go hand in hand, and after experiencing both, I totally agree. When I am taking my anti-depressants, my anxiety is not as bad, and I find that I can around my anxiety instead of only being able to focus on what is causing it.
I find that I am a lot more tolerant and relaxed when I meditate regularly. I am able to stop thinking about everything that is going on in my life, and focus becoming more in-tune with my body. My favorite method is guided meditation. I love to use an app called Stop, Breathe & Think, as they have amazing meditations, and the best part is they are free!
For me, putting myself out there was incredibly scary. I knew that the more I practiced being around people, the easier it would become. This is definitely not the easiest thing to do, yet I have found that just doing it works for me. The more I socialize, the easier it is getting.
5. Essential Oils
I love essential oils and if I can find a reason to use them I will. In this particular situation, I feel that essential oils have helped me enormously. If I start to feel uncomfortable, or sense my anxiety rising when I’m in a public place, I’ll put some lavender or chamomile (mixed with a carrier oil) right behind my ear and down to my jaw. When I put the oil on, I start to feel better almost immediately. Aromatherapy is a wonderful thing!
So now you know the 5 tools I use to overcome my social anxiety. They aren’t all easy and they aren’t all instantaneous. I feel that being around people might always be something that I struggle with, and I want to be able to make it less of a struggle. I’ve found that if I put in the work, I am able to make my life much easier.
Thanks so much for reading. I hope this post helped you! If you have different ways that help you in overcoming social anxiety, I’d love to hear them!
Reproduced with permission, originally published here.