Sunday, 18 December 2016

Christmas Socialising

It's the time of year filled with busyness, tinsel and sparkles but not everyone finds this time of the year easy. Many people find social situations more challenging in day to day life for a whole range of reasons. It can often be something which people are self conscious to admit to, something many take for granted and simply something which isn't talked about. Last year I blogged about Christmas being chaotic in general but this year I wanted to focus on the more social side of things which I've always been more self conscious talking about. As with all of my blogs, everyone with anxiety or dyspraxia is different so not everyone will find everything I talk about challenging.

This time of year can mean the thought of more social situations such as: family get togethers, meals with friends or works Christmas do's. I thought I would give an insight into some situations those with anxiety and dyspraxia can go through in the hope it might help some of you or your loved ones understand what might be going on and how you can help a little. If you've read my blogs previously you will know my anxiety makes me a huge worrier, over thinker. The amount of social situations I've been in where I've worried everyone will look at me due to social anxiety, worry I'll make a complete idiot out of myself or worry about all the little things which I could have said or done. I can assume everyone will think I'm bothering them and they think badly of me. I've been known to go into hiding or run out of situations when feeling anxious as it can take me a while to feel settled, less on edge or get my bearings.

What I've found helps me is telling a friend I find situations difficult beforehand can be helpful and taking a few minutes out to do some breathing exercises if it all gets too much. It's also important to remember so much of what you worry about never happens or is never true. Anxiety is a pretty challenging disorder to understand it can take a long time to get your head round it and I know for me it's going to take time. But if you're struggling don't be scared to speak out, there are people who will understand.

At this time of year places are a lot busier than normal, bars, restaurants, transport. Crowds can be overwhelming at the best of times if you struggle with anxiety. The physical side of anxiety can be challenging to understand. I find crowds and being in groups of people a real challenge, I think I'm going to get trapped and become unwell/have panic attacks. Then everyone will be looking at me.  My brain is always planning an escape route.  But I think it's important to set your challenges at your own pace and you're more capable than you think you are. Fellow blogger Anxiety Warrior has written an insightful but very real blog about tackling anxiety challenges one step at a time.


Alongside anxiety, the dyspraxic side of me means I struggle with sensory sensitivity issues such as: blocking out background music and trying to follow conversations when there's more than one going on, reading body language and making eye contact. It can be quite exhausting doing all these at once and I need time by myself and my own space for a bit, this meme describes it quite well. I've previously written a blog about the social side of dyspraxia where I go into more detail. Self care is especially important at this time of year.

Social media is everywhere these days, but I think it's important to see the bigger picture, for some people who may have anxiety or dyspraxia a lot may have gone on previously before anything gets uploaded onto social media. My boyfriend Matt and I, before any social outings can happen and that's just for us never mind involving any other people, there has to be a lot of planning involved for my anxiety. From planning where to go, where to sit when we go, how to get there and how long we spend there. Every day is different when you have anxiety and dyspraxia. We both find social situations more challenging in both similar and different ways.

 A lot of people with difficulties and differences do struggle with confidence and self confidence issues so try to build people up whatever time of year it is. I've always found celebrating myself hard. Having anxiety is like having a bully inside your head constantly belittling you and making  you doubt yourself and second guess everything. I can be the hardest person on myself and it's something I need to work on. Would we speak to loved ones or people we care about like ourselves? I think we all can be more self compassionate towards ourselves.

For a long time I had no idea what I was experiencing was anxiety or social anxiety. I just thought it was simply being me. I also had no idea dyspraxia had so much to it or knew any dyspraxics. But since seeking help (cbt) I'm starting to understand my anxiety more, and hopefully as time goes on I'll be able to manage it better. I promise it's not just you being you and there are others who understand and there is help out there.

 Life is a journey not a race. Take your challenges at your own time and speed and as hard as it is try not to compare yourself to others. My experiences have made me have so much more empathy and understanding for others, giving others reassurance that it's not just them makes it feel worthwhile. I hope the festive period is kind to you, thank you so much for all the kindness I receive from these blogs it means a lot to me. Never loose hope.


  1. Good advice, I have dyspraxia and sometimes it's easy to compare yourself with others who don't have it and then feel inferior. Good article and good advice.

  2. Many people who are afflicted with panic or anxiety attacks end up turning to expensive medication and therapy in order to begin to be able to overcome panic attacks and anxiety disorder.
    the possibility of being able to overcome panic attacks and anxiety disorder on their own.
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