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.
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.
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.