When the ANTs are 'feelings' about going red


#1

I’m trying to figure out how to put session 3 into practice. Most of what I have are automatic feelings and not necessarily automatic negative thoughts. When I get nervous in social situations I get VERY red and my neck and chest get blotchy. Yes, it is very noticeable to others because it is so prominent. I have had many comments on it. Most of the time it happens upon meeting someone (introductions) or running into someone in public (the element of surprise). It started to spiral out of control and is now consuming me and spreading out into other areas of my life…for example now I am terrified of going to doctors because it keeps happening with doctors too. So I obsess about it. I have a friend’s relatives coming into town in the next month and the last time I met them I was practically purple. LOL! So I am DREADING them coming again and will have to spend several days with them and do the DREADED DINNER OUT!!! LOL! Having dinner makes me feel so trapped that the anxiety alone from that is crippling. Then I can imagine having dinner with them and having someone I know come to the table (the unexpected situations). That would probably make me spontaneously combust from the heat on my face. :slight_smile: But I know that my brain has remembered my last encounters with them and it’s on auto pilot and unless I do something I will have the same thing happen again.

So I guess the problem is that the automatic feelings come on very suddenly and then once I start going red there is no way to stop it. I can TELL myself I will be fine when I know I will be introduced to someone…I can TELL myself that I will be just fine at the doctors office…and I can TELL myself that all of this is irrational when I know someone I haven’t met is about to come to an outing (introductions) but then boom…out of nowhere I go red. And yes, if I THINK about going red then I will go red as well. I can be as calm and peaceful beforehand as I possibly can but ultimately when I get face to face with that person it happens. The only thing that saves me is if it’s a really hot day and I’m already hot or if it’s super cold weather. Then I am not affected at all. I guess I just don’t know how to stop feelings that come on so strong when many times (as far as I know) I haven’t had a thought about going red…it’s just the nervousness that I feel causing it. The automatic negative thoughts I have about it are mainly “I hope I don’t go red” or “what can I do or where can I escape if I go red.” So I’m just not sure how to take this session 3 information and put it into practice for me.


#2

Session 3:

Some things that I have noted from the audio:

  • “Social anxiety is a physical, neurobiological brain condition.” - this ties in with your physical reactions.

  • “There is only one way of changing old brain habits and learning new habits and that is through repetition and reinforcement.” - you are still early in the therapy, and of course it takes plenty more time. Not feeling like things are ANTs now is a common feeling, and later you will being to realize how much more your thoughts were indeed ANTs.

  • “I choose not to catastrophize things… Not to make mountains out of molehills.” Though you are describing your feelings with some amount of humor here, you describe a great desire to fight against what you judge as these negative physical reactions. You are not to the point yet, but on the one hand, from a different person and a different perspective, you are indeed catastrophizing the judgement you place on these physical symptoms.

  • Be clear on what ANTs are and are not… “Irrational beliefs are usually based on feelings.” Your feelings about these symptoms are continuing the ANTs cycle, not the feelings or judgements of others. Whether or not they comment on things that they can see, that still has no bearing on ultimately the irrational feelings that you have created. Obviously it just makes it worse for you, but you are at the center of this, not anyone else.

  • You are doing and practicing the therapy you can now, starting the process and laying the foundation brick by brick every time you do something now that is different from before.

Session 3 starts us down the first strategy for ANTs stoppage. You cannot be expected to be doing this super well at this stage, or then you wouldn’t be here. You’ve started though, started on a road to realize how negative you might be inside your own head, towards yourself, and then uncovering that and changing it. Before 3, we had Slow Talk in 2, and for a person such as yourself, and for me, because I had the same experience with blushing, you do really need to practice the slowing down techniques, the calming techniques.

Your comments make me think of people in the groups here, the people who say, “I have no problem but this blushing. If only that were gone, I’d be fine.” I’d argue this. We wouldn’t have a blushing problem unless we at some point along the line labeled it as bad, and started worrying about it. Sure, you may not completely hate yourself as some of us have to deal with here, but seems as though you completely hate this blushing, which is a physical part of you. And blushing doesn’t start from nowhere, as you describe, and as how I felt in my life. It starts with a thought that prepares us to explode at the drop of a hat. It starts with that thought, and it is reinforced with the thoughts of us after the situation, and thoughts of us remembering it all the time everywhere. These thoughts we have allowed to go unchallenged.

Your ANT stoppage may go something like this: Oh I’m thinking again about that time I blushed in front of XYZ. Oh well, sure that happened, but I’m not going to dwell on that. I’m going to instead find a distraction. I’m going to practice my calming and slowing down." or maybe you come up with rational thoughts each time “Okay, yes I did blush, but that’s not the end of the world. Blushing does happen and I won’t dwell in anticipation of it nor in rehashing of it.” And then you do your therapy or other things. ANTs for you is the constant post traumatic stress disorder of every time you have it recorded in your brain that you blushed for no reason.

And all those mental games we play about, I don’t blush here or in cold weather or when I just exercised or when I walked from the X spot to the Y spot in 30% humidity… but over here I do blush… yeah, so? I had those thoughts too. They don’t serve to stop you from dwelling on this. The mental games we can play or loop around in are endless and amazingly thorough on the one hand, and complete nonsense on the other. And I know why I wouldn’t blush in certain situations - there is some reason I could go to for giving me some mental rationale, vs other times there isn’t an obvious rational explanation for blushing which would then just increase the insanity of it all and therefore the final result of actually blushing. These thoughts right here, we just don’t need to engage with them. We don’t need to flush this out. You need to stop it there.

And for intense blushing, really really focus no slowing down. I will guess that the slowing down for you is something you should really reinforce as blushing is so physically tied in with that rushing sensation.

Later you will get into not resisting and other strategies and ideas that will complement your therapy. For now, practice slowing down and do not fight that there are no ANTs except this one thing called blushing. Try to see that any of these mental games around this issue are just part of it, just part of something to stop. And that won’t all come in this week.


#3

Another note here:

I think about what ended up helping me the most. What I go to the most when I might fall back into worrying about blushing. And ultimately that became self-acceptance. BUT, I would never have gotten to that point without going through the steps of the therapy. You can’t jump to that point. And if you never start seeing ANTs for what they really are, you can’t build that foundation. If you never practice these slowing down strategies, which right now is Slow Talk, later will be Peace Zone strategies, then you’re not giving yourself the best chance to get in touch with the physical side, which helps also the cognitive therapy get into your brain as you’re doing it. Practicing getting to a more relaxed state is required before you can apply that relaxed feeling to the situations themselves.

And after all that, when and if I am worried about it now, I fall back to “Who cares! I accept myself today as I am right now. And whether or not I blush today, tomorrow I know I will accept myself the same as I do now. Ultimately I accept myself.” And with this thought, which is now a belief in me, it breaks it. It breaks the runaway thoughts and all that mess of feelings. I take away the ANT of other people judging me, which is in fact me judging myself negatively. Then the whole spell seems to break and I truly don’t care. I got to this current place only in a step by step way.

I did have to practice those calming strategies for a long while, and I did have to uncover the terrible definitions I had about myself. I did have to stop ANTs thoughts and beliefs. I did have to stop the anticipatory anxiety, and that goes back to stopping ANTs.

I don’t know if that makes sense to you now, but I hope it helps. It’s all a paradox. Blushing could easily happen to me or anyone now, but the fact that I don’t care if it does is the only thought I need. That thought came after a lot of repitition of therapy and replacing my old way of thinking with a new way which finally becomes a stronger belief rather than just a rational statement.


#4

Hello lizzy45,

I spoke with Dr. Richards after this post. I feel we have talked before, you and I. Certainly I’ve spoken with others doing the therapy or asking about the therapy who describe intense blushing as the heart of their issues, and they might not discuss other parts of social anxiety. I know the worry about blushing, and the path I went to get over that, but also I had much of the other social anxiety symptoms and behaviors - the self-hatred, the guilt.

You don’t ever talk about this much, as some with this focus on blushing seem to be. And so, as I have done previously, I wanted some feedback from Dr. Richards. He always puts it better than I do… but now I have to try to remember what he said!! :grin:

Perhaps you do not have other aspects of social anxiety. And, if not, great. He did confirm that blushing is a social anxiety issue, to be treated as one. As it’s related to that rush of adrenaline, often the person with this intense issue does have to deliberately practice slowing down, slow talk, calming down. I mentioned that stuff before. It’s common that this issue would involve someone who may have a tendency to get racy in thoughts, etc., as the adrenaline would do that, and this has become a learned physical response.

What he stated better than I did was that the thoughts you are having abour your blushing are ANTs. Those are irrational. You might not be having other irrational thoughts, the ones you see us talk about here, but you are having irrational thoughts about blushing. Those are the ANTs you want to gradually work on stopping, labeling, choosing to turn away from, choosing to replace with a rational thought. And that takes the practice and time.

The thoughts any of us have about what other people think of us when we blush are always irrational. It is very hard to feel this as a belief now, but it’s true. Yes, people may see it and comment on it. No, people do not hate or judge you because of it. People don’t spend that much time thinking about something after the fact, and most people aren’t going around passing insane judgement on others. That would be exhausting if we all did that. It’s exhausting enough that we do it to ourselves so negatively. Perhaps self-judgement, to use this phrase, is natural when we use it to expect more of ourselves in a positive way, the desire to do, to reach goals, to be better tomorrow. Maybe without that natural feeling, we wouldn’t be motivated. Perhaps there’s a reason for this tendency, but not when we go irrational with it.

Practice slowing down deliberately. Practice that peaceful feeling deliberately through deliberate slow talk. This will help you now and in the future to set up a way to help you slow down your body and slow down adrenaline. Then, as Dr. R. said, consider all your thoughts around blushing as ANTs. I should not assume you have all the same ANTs as I do/did. Your ANTs, at least from your post, may involve your thoughts around this area. Don’t let those thoughts around blushing before or after go unchecked.

Then continue on with the therapy. I do feel there are other things to come that will help you, but for your question so far and for this session, I think this may be a more suitable answer for you.


#5

Thank you so much for you reply! I truly appreciate it. Yes, clearly the slowing down thing is the thing I need to do. That is what I have been trying to do because it makes so much sense. I realize that my thoughts make no sense. I’m completely aware of the fact that I am over reacting. It seems like this should be such an easy process when you think about it, but clearly it is not. The interesting part about it is that I am quite a social person. I am the practical joker among my friends. Everyone always comes to me for a good laugh. My blushing situation has been dormant for many many years. But because of a divorce after over 20 years and dating again (meeting new people, etc) the monster has surfaced again. And because I remember in the past my blushing was so bad (I had to quit jobs because it got so bad) I get those overwhelming thoughts like “I can’t believe I’m going to be 45 this year and I’m still going through this.” With the few friends I have confided in about it I get responses such as “I can’t believe that YOU out of all people have this problem! You’re such the life of the party.” We actually can joke about it which temporarily makes me feel better and I feel like “ok…I’ve got this…I can do this…” but in the end it’s still happening. I had to go to a school concert this past week. I intentionally did a spray tan that day in case I ran into anyone…in hopes that it could mask some of the blushing. And yes…of course I ran into an old/ex friend. We had a falling out but we try to remain civil. So running into her and her husband my body returned to the old familiar adrenaline rush. I’m now so programmed to “speed up” and blush that I got really nervous, started turning red and couldn’t resist the urge to flee. I blabbered on about how I should really use the bathroom before the program starts and I got up and left for the bathroom. It seemed incredibly rude when I did it. The point is that I had prepared myself ahead of time to “slow down…talk slow” but when I was in the moment the training just went out the window. It’s just soooooo hard to try and calm yourself down when you’re in the moment. I almost feel like the fact that I’m telling myself to slooooow down is bringing the thought about blushing into my brain making it a vicious circle. Since the night where I ran into my old friend I have watched the session where he talks about not running away from a bear…and playing dead. So I’m trying to tell myself over and over to “play dead…just play dead.” I’m not sure if it’s going to work. And yes, an ANT that I have is that I do feel like such a loser to have this outright ridiculous problem. I think for me one of the worst ANTs that I have is that people do look at me as such a confident and fun person that I feel so vulnerable and “weak” if I do the blushing thing in front of them. I think to myself “Oh they will see my weak spot. How sensitive I am. They will think they had no idea that I am like this.” So I guess in my own head I feel like a fake. That I have everyone faked out because the real me really does have secrets…and insecurities…and they are ridiculous…like running into someone in the store. I feel like I need such a strong visual in my head to increase the relaxation…or slowing down that I should be doing. Anyway, thanks again for the response. Keeping my fingers crossed for progress. :slight_smile:


#6

Judging by your response, then, yes - it is clear to me that you are having a tremendous amount of ANTs about not just blushing, but your self-worth, self-accepance - the same ANTs that develop for most of us with social anxiety.

It’s not hard to understand how we get to this point. Perhaps through some long period of stress or a negative environment, perhaps because of something traumatic that happens, maybe an event that occurs that embarrasses someone and becomes a flashpoint - no matter what it is - we develop early on a learned pattern that only strengthen over time. And the longer this seed grows into a plant and into a stronger tree, our opinions and thoughts would naturally only become more negative.

You may have been more secure in a certain position of your life, not necessarily having to face certain kinds of stress and thus more self-assured. But then things change and all this stuff comes back, although it was never really gone. So, again, for anyone reading this, anyone who may relate to this experience - I tend to doubt when someone says “It just comes out of nowhere and there’s no reason why.” With blushing it may feel like that, sure. And we are all along a continuum of social anxiety at different points. And we are all different people with different personalities, as you can see right here with lizzy45. One person with social anxiety might actually be an extroverted social butterfly, and another person may be a quieter, introvert - I mean their natural personalities - NOT what social anxiety does to them. Social anxiety does not determine your true personality, except that it can smother it and keep it down so that you begin to wonder who you truly are…

Back to the point, I don’t generally think that this feeling, this symptom comes from nowhere. Yes, it feels that way, and it is such an uncontrollable rush that seems to the person to be automatic. But, as you say lizzy45, in fact you had blushing issues at earlier periods in your life, and you describe all the ANTs associated with others judging you, what you think they are thinking, which actually points to some amount of self-judgement and self-rejection. A negative view of this thing that is happening to you, which also usually leads us to resist and fight against it, leads us to hating ourselves. This description of yourself having a flaw that people would then know if they saw you blushing, especially when otherwise you are quite a “normally social” person - this is a common thought around blushing. “If people see me blush, they’ll realize that I’m not as perfect as they thought I was. If they see me blushing, they’ll know I’m defective, a loser, a weirdo.” However the person says that in their thoughts, this is generally the ANT that comes out of that.

Without going further here, the answer is still the therapy for you, and for anyone reading this who is interested in this particular problem.

Slowing down, deliberately practicing slowing down, calming down - this will be very important here. Practice your slow talk daily, as we all should. Practice going slower than you think you should. You will need to practice this. The way we can move these skills into the real world is through practice during therapy time. Then you slowly use this with easy first steps, like family members or friends. And slowing down may not come as easily to you here because you do have such a quick trigger on this adrenaline. Don’t get mad about yourself not slowing down in situations. The “not getting mad part” will be emphasized in later sessions. In short, we never want to use a negative emotion when choosing to stop or get away from anxiety. Resistance of any kind just serves to keep the negative feeling alive.

And secondly, be aware that you very very very likely do have ANTs about blushing. It’s not a tornado that comes out of nowhere. It started due to something. We don’t always have to know why things start. But, we do have to be aware of our ANTs. We stop them, label them, try to start not paying them as much mind, and ultimately you try to start making them neutral and then more positive, realistically.

I could go through each ANT in your writing above and give a very rational neutral counter, which in my mind would be real, true, not an ANT. I could do that, but it wouldn’t help you believe that. You can do that for yourself. Read what you have written and identify the ANTs, and then be rational. Be good to yourself. At least be neutral and see how perhaps what you are saying is maybe not true, maybe a bit too negative, maybe not justified. Everyone has problems in life. Everyone knows what it feels like to not be perfect. Everyone is trying to get through challenges and struggles. Everyone knows that life is not always a success story. Every success story is built on a bunch of failures. Every success story might only be a success because we say it is. What if that success story is achieved by someone who feels they are a fake? Maybe that last sentence is not a good neutral statement, but my point with that is that why even define fakes, successes, weakness… Why define those for our purposes. Someone will come along here and counter me with … NO NO NO, of course we have failures and successes in life, blah blah. Again, I’m not talking about other parts of necessary life. I’m talking about what we do to ourselves and social anxiety, and really another side of truth which is real - even a failure to someone can be a success to another person. And what is it about you that you are calling fake, etc? You are a human, you exist tangibly. You go through this world as I do. You’re not faking being a human, right? All humans have struggles. Perhaps we don’t have to define our struggles negatively.

Anyway, you get the idea. You have to do this for yourself. I can’t do that part for you. I can’t do the daily work and repetition. I can’t make you believe about yourself what I already believe about you, what I know to be true, even without meeting you, because at least I know you are a human being, so all the things I’ve said are true for each and every one of us.

Open yourself up to these therapy ideas. Don’t get mad at yourself when you have setbacks. There is more to come in the therapy, and you will start to see how the different pieces all fit together.


#7

Yes, social anxiety definitely does smother a personality. Especially when you truly WANT to get out and do things or meet others but then you end up making excuses to get out of it and then beat yourself up about it. So, yes, I am naturally somewhat extroverted and quite goofy so there is a huge internal battle going on right now to stop acting like such a fool and grow the heck up. LOL! Everything you said is excellent information and I thank you again for responding. You can’t imagine how helpful it is.

As a quick note, I just came back from the grocery store. Honestly, I keep hoping to run into someone unexpectedly so I can test myself and see if I have a handle on the “element of surprise” issue I have (unexpectedly running into people). I felt quite foolish that this is consuming my life so much as I’m walking across the parking lot into the store saying to myself “Don’t respond to anxiety by speeding up. Control your adrenaline.” I said this to myself over and over and it did make me feel quite calm. So I’m standing in line at the deli I realized I had not taken a ticket. This deli calls out numbers to assist customers. Other customers started showing up and I knew it was my turn next even though I had no ticket. Anyway, to get to the point, I was suddenly the center of attention at the deli that was now getting quite busy. The other customers were accepting because they pretty much knew it was my turn next so I had to laugh it off and say that I was sorry I didn’t have a ticket but I knew it was my turn next. I quite suddenly felt the heat hit my face. Now I had not been thinking anything about blushing. In fact, I hadn’t felt nervous at all but it just hit me all of a sudden when I realized I am the center of attention with all of these people and they are looking at me. It was just BOOM…hitting me. Then two things happened. As I’m telling the gal at the deli my order I am literally able to say to myself inside…“Do NOT respond by speeding up. Do NOT respond by speeding up.” And just as quick as the redness came, it disappeared. Now, in the past this type of blush could have gotten me so worked up that it could have stayed for 20 some minutes. I would have been all fidgety and tried to flee. Anyway, the next thing that happened is the thought “Why the heck does it matter? Do I even really freakin’ care if I blush right now? No. Who cares?” And that was that. It was done and over.

Now, I can’t be so certain that things would have gone this way if I had not been able to redirect myself by talking to the deli clerk. If one of the customers had started talking to me from across the room about whose turn in line it was, or whatever, it’s quite possible that I would not have been able to control the rush of adrenaline. I’m not sure. But today, and for right now, I had success. I still have many moments coming up in the next few weeks that I have incredible anxiety about so I am hoping to really work on these slowing down thoughts and keep repeating them to myself. I have 4 weeks to prepare for what I am calling “the dreaded inlaws.” They aren’t really my inlaws but it is a friend’s family coming in and I know I will have to go out to dinner with them. That is my second truly awful trigger point…being trapped at a table with people that make me uncomfortable. I am really hoping that I am not having to concentrate so hard the entire time to slow down. It’s silly things like this that can wreak havoc on my life. Just the constant internal “omg what if???” type of stuff. I’m really trying to release this.

Anyway, thanks again for the response and I’m so happy to have found this therapy!


#8

I think this thread, your post, is important for a number of reasons.

First, it often might appear to those of you starting therapy that the advice given here, by me or others who are farther along in the therapy, is common sense BUT that common sense feels so far away from where you are at NOW. You know all this, you know the rational logic behind how this stuff makes no sense, or shouldn’t matter. So then, perhaps there is a bit of feeling of exasperation with where you are now, and where someone is saying you will be, a place you can get to which seems impossible. The tendency is to also resist the changes we are trying to bring about (competing neural pathways). So, as I always say, the change takes time. The change requires this repetition of the therapy, slowly calmly. I want you to get closer to where you want to be. I want you to believe that you can. I know it’s possible. It takes time.

Second, physical symptoms: these haunt many of us. These feel like the problem. These feel so acute, so powerful. When the therapy now tells you that, in fact, it’s not the symptom but the underlying social anxiety - it’s hard for us to, maybe, believe that. It sure as heck doesn’t feel like it.

Third, these concepts take time to understand, and then time to get down into a deeper understanding. On the one hand, you can rationally agree with an idea like resistance is persistence. Maybe your gut will corroborate that anything you fight against sticks around, or at least that fighting against something isn’t helping. But in practice, in real life, getting angry, fighting against, at the very least being unhappy with the anxiety as it is now is the most natural reaction for almost anyone. The concept that accepting something is the strongest way, at least one way, that will help you in the end - that sounds great on paper or in a book of mantras, but you can’t quite believe that this will be a huge part of the answer in the end. Furthermore, if this is part of the answer, the way to get to this concept as part of the answer is through our daily, repetitive, almost simplistic therapy. You’re doing something you might not feel is helping, but over time, as your latest post demonstrates, it does help. Some idea begins to pop into your head automatically, instead of past ways of dealing with anxiety that would just keep it alive and on fire.

In your story, you could have blushed, or you could have blushed more, but a “simple” idea came into your head which made all the difference. The only way that idea came there was because you were practicing to change your thinking habits. As much as we all know these simple ideas, they won’t come to help us unless we practice them enough to start to feel them. And that feeling also starts to be encouraged more when the ideas your practicing then get reinforced by something behaviorally like it happened with you in the “real world” at the deli counter. Also, a note here, I could say further that even when something happens (example not blushing at all or even blushing)… so even when blushing does occur, then you begin to have the “option” to not care about it after. Stop the after-thoughts. This all feeds into a changing cycle, a healthier way forward.

I responded more to your thread because, in a way, my whole life was smothered by blushing, which then turned into a mountain of more self-hatred and avoidance. A deeper sense of no self-worth, long periods of depression and isolation. When I first commented on this thread, with what I would consider still appropriate advice, I thought - “Could I have turned my own advice into something that would have helped me back then?” I’m not sure. I probably wouldn’t have believed my own advice. It seems so far away from where I was at that point.

And this applies to ALL of us with physical symptoms - no matter the symptom, and really to all of us here with social anxiety. Sweating, blushing, twitching, frozen faces… the list goes on. You might not see how this gets you there now, but it does. It allows the future opportunity for your brain to stop that old pattern. It allows a simple thought such as “Who cares?!” to actually help you in a moment. It allows “things” to even happen to you again, but you will be ready to still accept yourself before, during and after, so that you can get back up and continue on. And in doing so, it makes you stronger each time.

I know exactly what you mean in each part of your account above. The surprise anxiety, the anticipatory anxiety… I’ve been in each one of those situations so many times. I could remember all of them. I could describe them in great detail, the kind of detail which comes with heightened adrenalie and results in a time-stamp of embarrassment. The kind of detail which our brains then run away with in irrational detail and self-torture. But now, I don’t think about it. I don’t ready myself for “surprise anxiety”. I don’t spend time thinking about it.

Let’s assume this for you lizzy45 - you will blush again. You will have anxiety again. You will have what we can call setbacks. Know this. This will help you prepare for a reality that we all face. This is being human. When it does happen again, you will still be able to say, Okay, so what?! Okay, I was expecting that. That’s fine. I am still me. I accept myself. What does it matter? The more you keep going that way, the more you will keep doing the therapy, the more your life will change for the better.


#9

Hi lizzy45,

I can understand exactly how you feel. I have just started session 3 of the series. One of the main struggles I have regarding social anxiety is blushing. I am entering my senior year of high school and I have started to noticed my blushing begin around the end of 8th grade. I saw it as something negative and eventually it became a pattern and a vicious cycle. I always dwell on it every time it happens and I always fear that it will happen in the future in certain social environments. I can remember one time that I was out with my friends, and I was blushing and my neck was also heating up. My mom saw it and commented on it in front of everyone which intensified it even more. Ever since then, I feel very anxious around those people that were there at that time and it’s been an automatic pattern that I also blush when I am around them. This has ultimately sparked my social anxiety. What usually triggers my anxiety is being around people that make me uncomfortable. For some reason, I get very anxious to actually sit around a table with people. But I do not get anxious if I go to the movies, the pool, or a walk. I think it’s because when I have to sit at a table, there’s no where to escape and I feel trapped and it’s a more intimate setting. Also, I feel very uncomfortable around my friends mom or family for some reason. Then I dwell and think why I feel like that. And the cycle continues. Also, I have a part time job where I work at a bakery. Like you said, I feel that I do have a very personable personality and I love to joke around but my social anxiety takes over my personality and makes me act like someone I’m not. So when I’m at work, I don’t get anxious talking to strangers. I get really anxious when someone I know comes in, whether it’s my best friend or my aunt. I don’t know why. I get all sweaty, heated up, and my muscles tense. It all happens so suddenly in the moment. I’ve spoken about my anxiety with a close friend and my mom but it still continues to happen. I hate having to feel this way. I always dwell and think about why it started to begin with. I respect you and it’s nice to hear that there are other people that are also going through something that I’m going through. I’m excited to get through the series.