Social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that is much more than just being shy, it’s an intense fear that when you are in a social situation you will be judged, humiliated or embarrassed which provides lots of challenges for many of us.
February is full of pride events, many of which I wanted to go to. ‘(I am super excited for next year, but the closer we get to them my anxiety gets more and more intense.)’ There are probably lots of people who are in a similar situation as me and I want to share some things that will hopefully get all of us into the pride spirit or at least ways that could better support you.
Go with a friend (or friends)
Big crowds aren’t our friends. They can be overwhelming. There is going to be a lot of people at Pride, a lot of noise. Find some friends who will go with there, who can help put you at ease, who can make it seem less scary than your mind makes it out to be.
Find ways to meet new people
As an attachment to “go with a friend” – and I know it isn’t easy – but maybe try to connect with some new people, make some new friends. Look on Instagram – I’d looked at mutual followers. It’s great to see even more familiar faces there.
Ease yourself into it
In the lead-up to Pride, try to find smaller scale events to attend – still a bit daunting, I know, but in my experience, easing into things has helped me – such in the case of dating – and it may just be a thing that works for you too.
Take breaks to recharge
Being at Pride itself is going to drain a whole lot of your energy. During the event, try to step away for a bit, give yourself a breather, a little break from it all. Especially if you’re an introvert, you need some time to yourself to recharge before you can go back out there.
To challenge that negative self-talk, you might think that something bad will happen, but know that there are measures in place to keep you and everyone else safe at Pride events. (insert those measures.) And, like I said, having a friend there, and people you know, will help make you feel safer and more comfortable.
It’s a relatable feeling, wanting to celebrate your individuality, the progress we’ve made as a community, yet being anxious at going to a large event. It’s okay if you decide to miss next month’s celebrations and instead wait until next time. Perhaps you can make it your goal: go to a pride event, and work towards getting yourself more comfortable at going.