De-Isolation: Overcoming Social Anxiety – Bill Bernat Video



Social Anxiety


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I spent most of my life terrified of interacting with people especially ones I didn’t know social anxiety might seem odd to those of you here tonight who are social superstars who are like totally at ease around strangers you would never cut a conversation short just because it’s going well where’s I’ve often thought hey this conversation is going great if I end it now I can leave without them thinking I’m weird I would see a graph in my head plotting time against catastrophe my mind is a Hubble telescopes constantly scanning for reasons to freak out like um should I make small talk be deep make a joke am I talking too much too little am I making an of eye contact am i making too much eye contact my eye contact is really intense maybe I shouldn’t make any eye contact at all but then is weird but I’m not making any eye contact and they’re like 16 ounce soy latte for bill I explained all this to a therapist in the 90s I was seeing for addiction and he said wow if I had to go through all that every time I left the house I news drugs too so about sick about six years ago I hit a wall of emotional pain and I decided to break out of that isolation I started getting out to meetups the first thing was a meet up for fans of a firefly I found other meetups to go to talk to people after 12 step meetings did kirtan Sanskrit devotional singing I even did okay Cupid so lesson find ways to be around people who share your interests or demographic and show up regularly I tried to mimic my idea of how popular people acted like talk slowly smile for no reason laugh at my own jokes so but I found that it was more helpful to keep a calm happy energy on the inside with mindfulness techniques so lesson focus on your inner energy first and your outer interaction second I could say one thing that was uncool or accidently offensive and then cringe for days playing it over and over in my head like god I’m such an idiot I can’t believe I tried to show them pictures of my cats but I told myself let it go you got out and interacted with people even if you did screw it up it’s a win lesson failure is progress and rejection is the means to finding your people all my life I felt so much pressure in conversation to prove that I was witty or smart or something turns out I didn’t need to be interesting to make friends I needed to find them interesting so I would ask people about themselves listen and imagine myself in their life lesson it’s fine to impress people but it’s more important to be impressed I learned that it’s best not to argue unless I can do it with a smile visceral anger rarely attracts people I kind of treated it like Facebook you know like the stuff I like ignore the other stuff and occasionally defriend people lesson when somebody is wrong about something God is okay with you not pointing it out so I went from being nearly homebound to getting out most nights of the week for years now very comfortable around people I have my own made up so if you suffer from social anxiety you’re not alone and you’re not doomed you can change patterns of thought and behavior that have ruled your life for years or decades so if you want to learn more if you want to learn more I do a one man show called becoming more less crazy it’s ridiculously dark comedy about how I stopped wanting to kill myself quit drugs lost 117 pounds and overcame social anxiety you can buy tickets there’s a show Saturday at more or less crazy calm or find out about the next ones or come talk to me I promise I won’t try to show you pictures of my cats.

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Tagged As: social anxiety

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