When Social Anxiety Gets The Best Of You

September 15, 2017

This Summer I declined 3 wedding invitations, 2 of which I was actually excited to go to. Social anxiety got the best of me once again and even though I'm relieved I didn't go, because I don't think I would have been able to practise the amount of appropriate self care, I'm also a bit sad. When I first got the invitations I was very nervous but as time passed that slowly turned into a tiny little bit of excitement. About 2 months before the 'save the dates' I received an Instagram DM from one of the other guests, and my brain decided to go completely haywire - I wasn't going to go anymore.

Dramatic I know, but it was obvious that I was triggered by something I hadn't let go of yet. Overall, the message wasn't anything special and when I talked about it with my therapist she didn't really know what to say. Going to those weddings meant I was going to see my boyfriend's friends again, most of whom are very nice people, but I've always had trouble being myself in their presence. Some people I just feel comfortable with straight off the bat and with others I simply don't and never do. I'm not exactly sure why, I think I feel intimidated somehow and often times it just translates into me behaving a little weird, being very quiet and feeling uncomfortable. I've always been somewhat of an insecure person and it really shows when my anxiety kicks in.

I was DMed by some girl in the group whom I've never really liked and what bothered me the most about it is that it felt so incredibly fake. Other than being in each other's presence a lot when I still lived in Milan (Italy) where I met my boyfriend, I don't remember us ever having a decent conversation. It's weird how one simple message made me cancel all my plans for travelling to Italy in September, but it did. I don't blame her but I do wish she'd never DMed me in the first place. I felt like something was asked from me that I couldn't comply with: being a confident person, a person who is sure of herself and about what she does. I am that person sometimes, but not with her. Unfortunately she falls in the category of people whom I find mentally and emotionally draining.

Getting older I realised that I didn't have to be or hang out with people that I didn't like so now that I'm 27 I avoid people like that at all cost. Sometimes a little too much. In my head they're just not worth my time or energy, ever. I'm aware that she'd only be one guest out of probably 100 if not 150, but it was too much for me to bare considering I was already going to be a shy mess with the other guests. When my social anxiety is bad I have a really hard time enjoying myself. All I do is freak out about pretty much everything and, me being me, I always try not to show that I'm actually panicking, which makes the whole situation even more exhausting.

Facing my fears isn't something that comes easy. I'm often told that I'd feel better if I'd face my fears but I've had the opposite happen a lot. That I feel worse and in some cases even become absolutely terrified. I wish I could tap into my confident self in every situation but I guess my journey to finding my self confidence is still many challenges away and that's okay. I'll do better next time.


  1. You have to trust your gut feelings. Your instinctive self will protect you. It is strange that this acquaintance would contact you out of the blue. Unless perhaps she didn't know many people that were going to be there and recognized your name on the list of guests?

    I am sadly not myself either. I am silent as a tomb, or hell motor mouth from hell. I can hear myself, I just can't find the off switch. It is horrible. Never feel bad for saying no. You've taken big steps forward. Its normal to sometimes stop at the door somedays. The next day is a new day to try again.
    Have you considered actting classes? Every performer deals with self doubt and fear. But the moment the curtains rise. You step into the role and the fear leaves. I thought it could help you with learning techniques that may help you?

    1. Thank you, you're so sweet and always so supportive. I've never thought about acting classes, that is actually quite a different and creative approach, I like it :) I'm sorry to hear you're not doing so well, I think September is really tough for a lot of us, lots of new beginnings, the change of season etc. I'm sure you'll be back to your old self again soon once everything has calmed down <3 XXx

  2. What a heartfelt piece of writing, Jolien! I think it came straight from your heart, like all of your other blogposts, beauty or non-beauty, but how amazing of you to share this information with us, and opening up in such an intimate and personal way! Your words reasonated with me, in an unexpected way; I knew about your anxiety from a past video I had watched on your Youtube channel (I found your blog searching for Catrice and Essence, yay!) but this blogpost of yours reasonated so much with me! While reading your first paragraph about you not going to that wedding, I was thinking about my own anxiety creeping up at the worst time last year, when I decided not to go to my nephew's christening at the last minute (which is so unheard of, right? at least to a "normal" person) Like you wrote, the anxiety got the best of me; it kinda won. But everything is a choice and I think I chose to stay at home, I chose to let it win. And I was not strong enough in that moment and like you said, we'll do better next time, I agree! :)

    As far as those mentally draining people you mentioned, I, too, realized I don't have to be friends with such people, and I agree with you saying they are not worth the energy, even if some people think this way of thinking is selfish and self-serving. I stopped having contact with some people in my life because of this reason. It's the same with letting go of anything in your life so you shouldn't be judged for that. :)

    1. Sorry that it's taken me a while to respond, I took a little blogging break. Thank you so much for your beautiful message, I really appreciate it <3 :)