Social Media and Social Anxiety

Did you know I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder? Yeah it is true, about 6 years ago my doctor at the time diagnosed me with it, read on to learn more about how social media has worked to help me overcome my anxiety disorder.

Travel back to December 2008, I was determined to make money from home and had been doing direct sales for a while without making enough in commissions to pay all my bills. I wanted more, but knew that money had to be made from home due to the fact that daycare is so darn expensive it makes working near impossible without assistance. I was at a point in my life where my anxiety was so bad I couldn’t walk into a local grocery store alone without having a panic attack. If someone asked me to go run an errand that involved anything other than a drive up window, I would lose it, tears would well up and my heart raced, I was indeed in panic mode.

My panic attacks were always set off by social situations, ones in which involved me being alone in a store or a room filled with people I don’t know. My body’s automatic response was a bright red face, tears in eyes and choked up voice, my heart would race and my left arm would get tingly. I hated that I was like this, I couldn’t find a way to overcome it other than medication. The medication I used to take made me so relaxed that I could have done anything and been fine, it was way too much for me and at the lowest dose possible I knew I had to get off it.

Eventually I weaned myself off of medication and found myself back to square one, a scared girl who couldn’t do anything without having a child with her or another adult. Then one day I happened upon Twitter and I started sharing my day at 140 characters at a time, eventually I met other Mom Bloggers, Dad Bloggers, business owners and more. Today my Twitter following has gone to over 9,800 in a short year and I interact daily with my tweet friends.

As MySpace started to be a place for only family, I knew I wanted to network through a similar site and was introduced to Facebook. I set up a Facebook account, starting adding friends, family, twitter friends and other bloggers as I visited their sites. Eventually I grew my Facebook friends up beyond 1,600 and to this day it’s still growing.

I am online daily, networking is my business. If I don’t have visitors to my site to read and comment then I don’t have a business. If I don’t have someone knowing who I am and that my site is out there … I don’t have business. It finally dawned on me that networking was a vital part of being a successful blogger and so I dove right into social media and never turned back.  I spend a lot of time networking, and will talk to just about anyone virtually. Facebook and Twitter have not only allowed my blog and virtual assistant business to grow but they have allowed me to grow as a person.

I still get anxiety in social situations, but social media has allowed me to open up my heart and mind to become a more outgoing, talkative person.  A couple Saturday’s ago I went to a conference or seminar you may call it, and when I walked in my heart started beating fast, but there was an improvement in me and only I would be able to realize what that was. I didn’t get tears in my eyes, my face didn’t turn bright red. I was comfortable sitting in a huge room filled with a lot of people and I was okay with this, I was truly okay with being in a room filled with strangers and listening to presenters without wondering what others were thinking about my clothing, about my hair or about my make up, none of that! I am happy to say that this past weekend proved to me who I have become and proved to me that I am now a happier, more confident person than I ever was growing up and I am a firm believer that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have allowed me to overcome my anxiety disorder.

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  1. That is really amazing Brandy and so true. I feel uncomfortable around people I don’t know too, and social media has made me a lot more outgoing. I’m really glad I started doing this before I start craft fairs, because I think it will make it a lot easier on me and my sales will be better because of it.

    Keep up the positive attitude and don’t worry at all what anyone thinks of what you look like. No one’s perfect and it’s no one’s right to judge. Just be comfortable with yourself and know that you are a beautiful person inside and out!
    .-= Mel´s last blog ..Review & Giveaway – Nerf Armor for DSi =-.

  2. Your singing my song girl!! Only it was about a year ago and a horrible one at that. I’m on the .5mg lorazapam yes HALF a MG!! Knocks me out. I never leave home without it. If I do it’s an instant panic attack! Tears hyperventillating the works! It seems to get worse with my cycle time. I like hearing of others with this, it helps especially when I hear they cope without any meds. ANyway i friended you on FB and follow your blog now♥♥
    .-= THeChickenista´s last blog ..Countdown To Kidding! =-.

  3. I know that panicked feeling. I used to have that happen in similar situations – once we were on vacation and bar hopping and just being in this huge crazy busy place with a ton of tourists I didn’t know completely set me off – tears flowing. It sucked!

    I think you have a great point here, social media can definitely help overcome that.

  4. We are so much alike hun! I have the same exact thing! I am finally getting out and doing things again thanks to Angie (@pricousins) but I was the same way. I wasn’t like that until a few years ago because I was attacked in a mall parking garage. The police were absolutely no help in the matter and it made me feel so scared I couldn’t function. If the people that were supposed to protect me couldn’t then I worried I had no hope. I was even mad because Dave wasn’t with me to protect me. I couldn’t understand how my own love and protector, can be in law enforcement and NOT do his job by protecting me. Obviously he had no control over the situation but it made me have such bad social anxiety I couldnt leave the house for weeks. When i finally did I could only go with Dave. Now I am slowly able to go by myself, but still not much. You mentioned you can go with the kids. I can’t even go alone with Elijah and I because I am afraid of how I would protect him if I can’t protect myself. It’s really sad but I am working through it. Slowly but surely (and using social media too) I will get back to normal. I want to be back to normal.

    I hope we can both overcome this and I hope to be able to meet you one day face and face. Minus the anxiety! 🙂
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – I heart this face. =-.

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