Today, I received a comment / question: “Do you have or have you had social anxiety as a direct result of your brain injury. Thanks for your help.” As I thought about what my friend asked, I thought about an article that I had written in July 2010. As I thought about the question, related to the article Living with a Brain Injury and Feeling Like a Broken Toy, I had a spiritual awakening. The reason why I felt like a “broken toy” among other toys — when I wrote the article — was because of what I had been experiencing: social anxiety. Social anxiety that left me feeling alone and isolated.
As I made the connection between feeling like a “broken toy” and social anxiety I decided to revise the article: Living with a Brain Injury and Overcoming Social Anxiety. As I thought about the question my friend sent to me (thank you my friend) I began to realize that I am not the only one who experiences social anxiety. Social anxiety that leaves me feeling alone and isolated. Social anxiety that leaves me feeling like I am the only one who struggles. Struggles with feeling as though there is something terribly wrong with me.
As I thought about the question,“Do you have or have you had social anxiety as a direct result of your brain injury. Thanks for your help.” with regard to feeling as though there is something terribly wrong with me, I had another spiritual awakening. I would like to share my spiritual awakening with you in my below-revised article. When I say, a spiritual awakening; I mean that what I have known and understood now makes sense to me. Like the saying, connecting the dots.
Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. Several weeks ago I wrote a series in which I shared with you that I had made a decision to take greater risks. In that series, I shared with you how I took the risk to use the principle of asking for help. I took the risk to ask for help to improve upon my skills when interacting in social settings.The risk that I took was that I began attending what are called “meet up” groups. Meet up groups started, from what I understand; in response to what occurred in New York and Pennsylvania after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Meetup groups started as a way to help people connect with other people. Meetup groups form to connect people with common interests.
During the past several weeks, I have had an opportunity to attend meetup group events. On these occasions, I have been able to add to my skill set through continuing to take the risk to ask for help. Consequently – in the process of taking these risks – I have grown in awareness. In the process, I have gained a whole new perspective about myself as I interacted with other individuals in various social settings. In the process, my perspective of myself changed; as I began to understand what I experienced as I interacted with other people. A friend helped me to give it a name. As my perspective changed, I began to grow in awareness. I began to realize that I am not the only one who has similar experiences. I am not the only one who feels out of place as I interact socially.
I am not the only one who feels like a “broken toy” in the “toy box”. I am not the only one who struggles with social anxiety whether I am living with or without the impact of a brain injury. I am not the only one who feels like I do not “fit in”, as I attempt to interact socially.
In the summer of 2010, I had the great fortune to be able to attend pool and lake parties almost every weekend during that summer. It was like a summer that I had never experienced and may never experience again. Unique in that I was able to interact with a large group of individuals who got together to grill out, hang out and spend with one another at a friends house on the lake. As the summer turned to fall I began to realize that I was not the only one who struggled to interact socially. I began to realize that everyone struggles with social anxiety. I began to realize that each individual copes with social anxiety in different ways. Some healthy and some not so healthy way to overcome their social anxiety.
With my awareness, I realized that I was not the only one who felt alone.
In my awareness, I began to experience hope in the midst of feeling “broken”. I began to experience hope because I realized that I could now do something about my social anxiety. I could take the risk to reach out and ask for help. I could practice skills to reduce my social anxiety through interacting with individuals and groups of individuals. I could learn from my interactions by discovering what worked and what did not work for me. In the process, I could begin to celebrate the successes that I made in my interactions with individuals and groups of individuals. I began to realize that I could learn new skills that would help me to overcome my social anxiety, a little at a time; without placing a judgment on my efforts as I learned.
I began to realize that I could feel my social anxiety, but not judge myself for having social anxiety. I began to realize that I could feel alone, but not abandon myself in the process. I began to realize that I could feel my social anxiety, but still feel connected to myself. By feeling connected to myself, I could make the decision to learn, instead of being intimidated by my social anxiety.
My spiritual awakening helped me to realize that I live among other individuals who feel broken. Other individuals, who are doing the best that they know how to overcome their social anxiety. With my awareness, I am discovering that I can relax in social settings. I can remember that I no longer have to feel judged or less than for having social anxiety. I don’t have to strive to fit in. I can observe, realizing that I am not the only one with social anxiety. With my awareness, I am able to work on new social skills, without placing a judgment on my efforts. With my awareness, I am able to remember that I am not the only one who feels broken and that my feeling broken does not make me different. With my awareness, I am able to relax and be myself among other unique toys.
Relax and learn to be myself, as I learn new skills. New skills and skill sets, that will help me to overcome my anxiety. Overcome my anxiety in social situations.
I have also created a video presentation of the article that you can watch and listen to bey clicking on this link: Living with a Brain Injury and Overcoming Social Anxiety Video Presentation
As you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions and all questions are welcomed. Please leave your questions in a comment below. I will respond to you in a timely way. You have my permission to share the articles that I present here on Second Chance to Live, however, please attribute me as being the author of the article (s) and provide a link back to the article (s) on Second Chance to Live. Thank you. Copyright 2016.