“You Can Talk to Us”: Social Anxiety at Work

Social anxiety presents itself in a variety of forms for different people and can be perceived by others in a lot of negative ways. Last week I got called out by a coworker for rarely speaking to the employees on the first floor.

My desk is in the basement along with 3 other workspaces that occupy two part-time employees and one is there twice a week. Most days I am downstairs by myself.

The fridge and microwave are on the first floor so when I arrive in the morning I put my lunch away and come back up a few hours later to get it. In those few moments I am upstairs I try not to make eye contact or speak with anyone else.

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What I look like walking down the hallway at work.

Last week I was walking back to the basement after heating up my lunch when my coworker said, “you know you can talk to us.”

I was dumbfounded. I felt exposed as if she pulled back the curtain to see socially anxious little me hugging my favorite teddy bear.

My anxiety has always told me that nobody wants to talk to me or cares what I have to say. It has made me believe that it is best for me to keep to myself so I don’t bother others.

My response was, “Oh, I can? I thought you were all really busy most of the time.”

She said they aren’t then we proceeded to casually chat for a few minutes.

Over the years, I have shut myself off socially at work.

At my last job I kept to myself except for talking to my supervisor. Most of my other coworkers weren’t friendly so I didn’t speak to them unless necessary.

Nobody has called me out on my social anxiety (except my therapist) so it has become a normal way of living for me. It has definitely given me some perspective on how others view me at work. Something to certainly think about.

Do you have social anxiety? If so, how do you cope with it at work/school?

Also what is your current coping method when you’re struggling with your mental illness?

As you can see from the featured image, my current coping mechanism is BTS. Whether it’s watching their incredible dancing in their music videos or reading along with the translated lyrics, BTS makes me happy in all ways. It also helps that they are all super cute. (If you’re a fellow Army, I love Jin, V and RM most.)

What warms my heart is their lyrics in “Love Yourself” that say, “even the scars that were formed from my mistakes are my very own constellations.” These words are powerful for me because of my history with self-harm.

An Update on my Goals

The end of another month. I can’t believe tomorrow we are starting March of 2018. I am officially six months into this adventure in writing my blog. It has been another good month to be sure, and I am excited as always for the next best thing on The Bipolar Writer blog.

I never do things in the right way. What I mean by that is sometimes I don’t take things slow. An example of this is The Bipolar Writer blog. I thought when the year turned into 2018 that I had to write every blog post every day. I have done that, but it has been at the expense of my mental health. I am getting better at not being such a perfectionist, but my life has always been all or nothing. I mention this because I am learning.

One of my small goals, although it is far from small, is to learn the beautiful Korean language. It’s been a struggle because I want to learn everything there is to the language in a single day. So far I have learned some things but with my busy schedule I haven’t dedicated the time that I want. I have lacked real balance in my life in February between what I need to do and working on my mental health. I know moving forward I need to find time for the little things. The things that make life worth living, like hobbies that could mean happiness in my life.

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So my goal of March 2018 is to start living. I want to get into photography. Not to make living, I want to do it just for me. I still need a camera but thats just the details. I want a good camera and I think I am leaning towards a really good one. I never do anything that makes me happy. I know learning Korean and taking up photography is something that will make me happy. I can leave my house for time and go out in nature. Somthing I never get to do.

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I have been so focused on my blog, my memoir, my many projects, and my goals that it seems again that life is passing me by. I can’t let that happen. I have gone too far in this journey to let life pass me by. I am nearing the end of one journey which means the world to me. I have my last two semesters of my bachelor’s degree left and it feels so good to be moving forward.

With that said, I am going to take a few days off from blogging. Today I worked on my freelance project and I my social anxiety was high. I got through the anxiety, and I am taking some time off. I will get on as a reader only over the next few days as I look to better my mental health. That is so important in this life.

So here is to the next best thing.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoBrady Bellini

unsplash-logoSeung-Hyeon Kim

unsplash-logoJean-Pierre Brungs