What It's LikeAn example: My husband's work barbecue last weekend
I agonized about it for weeks. I had never met his coworkers (it's a new job for him) and I kept thinking that I was going to give everyone a bad impression and screw up my husband's work opportunities. (Yes really, as if I have any effect on his career! Ridiculous right! ) These thoughts abnormally consumed much of my time.
The day of the barbecue I must have changed outfits at least five times. Interestingly enough, I ended up with the first outfit I tried on. I obsessed over every detail - my makeup, hair, fragrance, accessories, etc. (In day to day life I'm pretty low maintenance so this is unusual.) In the car on they way to the gathering, I kept fretting and worrying that I would have nothing interesting to talk about. I kept thinking that I would reflect poorly on my husband. I feared the judgments of his coworkers.
When I got to the barbecue I was acutely aware of everyone around me. I was hyper-vigilant to ever nuance of their responses to me. I was very self-conscious and over-analysed every interaction.
After the event, I felt exhausted. In fact, I felt exhausted the whole weekend. I felt like I had run a marathon.
Interestingly, after the event a couple of my husband's coworkers told him how much they enjoyed my company. In their words the consensus was that I was charming, sweet and beautiful. Apparently, they thought he's a very lucky man. So all my worries were for nothing right? So you would think I would learn from this. NO.
This weekend I went through the exact same thing for my niece's going away party. I was the only family member invited by a surprise party thrown by her peers. I was so nervous fearing that I would let her down because her friends would not like me. I felt a paralyzing, overwhelming anxiety. However, at the party a couple of her friends kept teasing my niece and I that we were lying about me being her Aunt and that I was in fact her older, illegitimate sister. I received many other compliments as well. On the way home my husband says to me (knowing that I'm so insecure) "See, everyone always loves you". I say, "Oh, they were just polite."
The point is social anxiety is not ba