social interaction

Anxiety: living with it

(this is something I feel is too stigmatized and written off too quickly as attention seeking or overdramatic… mental illnesses suck. Everyone deals with it in their own way, but not many people dare to come out and tell people that they’re not alone. This is something I’ve talked about a bit discreetly but not to the fullest extent because for me it’s a very personal topic… I don’t want 40 messages asking if I’m ok, or a billion comments about how I’m either asking for pity or how “strong” I am. I want people to feel that they are understood by someone and for those who lack knowledge on Anxiety Disorder, to understand what it means so people will stop self diagnosing because they think its “cool or edgy” or people who are generally interested what its like. If you’re annoyed by it, please save your self time and keep scrolling.)

My whole life I’ve been considered a shy, insecure and lazy child. My first memories of what was considered ”shyness” was in daycare, hiding behind my mothers legs, trembling in fear every day because I simply didn’t want to talk to other kids. The kids would laugh of course. I had 1 friend, named Katie, besides my daycare teacher who I became very attached to. If Katie wasn’t there, I would totally recluse my self, and avoid all contact with other kids. That’s basically sums up my miserable existence “I don’t want to talk”, “please don’t make me make a decision”, “why are you looking at me like that?, “please don’t force me to make eye contact”. I’m scared to death, that they can see I’m scared.

My whole life is like a horror movie, but the thing I’m running from is totally invisible, it lives inside of my head, 24 fucking 7 and it disguises its self as my own voice. Constantly telling me how much of a piece of shit I am. according to it, none of my friends actually care, they only tolerate me because they pity me. it has destroyed friendships, relationships, it traps me in a cage so it can have me all to its self. it consumes me in my own dark thoughts of insecurity and endless self loathing, it’s a void. I find my self pondering and beating my self up over things I said or did YEARS ago, something as simple as dropping the wrong comment, or sending a job application to the same company twice, fearing people still remember it.

If it fucking exist I thought of it 10 times, I think, and I think, and I think, my mind never stops. I wake up in the morning, totally exhausted because I was up till 3 am again, thinking - Of things that could go wrong, even if everything is perfect in my life at the moment, something must be wrong because its too perfect. I pick apart every situation, and every conversation to the very thread. I run through situations over and over and over again, obsessively trying to find the problem when there is no problem, its just me trying to find the flaw, so I can start picking at that. Its like I’m playing a “Where’s Waldo” of problems, with every aspect of every situation in life. Unhealthy? yes, but this is unfortunately the reality I live in.

Then the anxiety attacks…. the constant fear they could come at any time. Imagine at least 3 times a day, you have the chance to be struck by lighting, living with the stress knowing at any time it could come, but you don’t know when. Then, out of nowhere, you get an overwhelming feeling that something is choking every bit of air out of your body. You can hardly breathe; only short skipping breathes. Your heart rate goes so fast; you think you’re having a heart attack. You get tunnel vision, you feel dizzy and your ears are ringing so insanely loud, the only voices you can hear, are your own thoughts telling you that you’re dying. You’re paralyzed, but you feel every little movement around you. can’t speak, the words just can’t leave your mouth. if you could, you wouldn’t ask for help, everyone hates you. you’re overreacting, remember? Its comparable to the split second when you skip a stair step, only much, much longer. I remember my first panic attack, it lasted for 6 agonizing hours. At the end you’re so exhausted, you can barley stand. The only thing running though your mind is “I never wanna go there again”.

I can’t count all the opportunities I’ve lost in life, because of my fear. The voices in my head telling me that I’m not good enough. That people hate me. That I can’t do anything right, so why even try? I’ve been fired from jobs because I can’t communicate properly, I’ve failed classes because I’m too scared to speak, or got kicked out, because I stopped going all together. I’ve spent so much time avoiding speaking in class… things people see as “laziness”, but they couldn’t know I was lying in my bed crying, because I was too scared to show up. I often find my self making excuses and canceling plans, because I can’t cope being around anyone else or big crowds of people, even though I really wanted to go. Over time, people naturally get sick of it, and just stop asking.

That’s when simple everyday tasks become so dreadfully overwhelming that you want to avoid even considering leaving your bed.

List of every day things that take every iota of strength :

• Getting out of bed
• Making any phone calls (I put it off for as long as I can)
• Going to social gatherings
• Walking the dog
• Going to the supermarket
• Even considering asking for help when shopping
• Going to the pharmacy (I would rather cough until I puke or bleed)
• Going to work
• Answering text messages
• Taking the public transit busses, metro, especially planes (if possible I walk or bike)

Because, what if I get an anxiety attack in public? What will people think? Its happened once before when I was in collage and my teacher forced me to speak in front of the class, I cried in front of 25 people, and I didn’t show up for nearly a month.

So, how can one live life in constant fear of being scared? Short answer, most people don’t. it completely consumes every aspect of who you are as a person. Some times I feel death is the only escape, because simply existing is too overwhelmingly painful. I’ve tried going to a therapist, it didn’t help. I’m too embarrassed to call the doctor to find a new one, because I haven’t showed up to any of my appointments in nearly 2 years.

It’s hard to talk to anyone about this, because people see it as totally overdramatic, or attention seeking. People have a hard time grasping the idea that not all pain is physical. That people who look totally normal, can be smiling and laughing on the outside, but be in crippling agony on the inside.

I’m still hesitant on ever letting anyone see this because I’m scared of what people might think, however I feel its important to let other people know, that if they feel this way, they’re not alone. Therefore, I can only share my own personal story. If someone comes to you, with their story, and their mental illness, don’t make them feel as if they’re a burden, or write them off as dramatic. Listen to them and feel special that they trusted you with such a sensitive topic. It takes a lot of courage for someone to ask for help. No one should suffer in silence and the stigma needs to be broken, and talked about. Statistically, only 1/3rd of people with Anxiety Disorder seek professional help, and one of the leading causes of depression and suicide.

Please don’t be scared to seek help.

SHARING: The Key To Social Success.

Due to social media outreach and consumerization, we are now exposed to more information than we were ever before. And sifting through this massive load of information and reaching out to the target audience is not a child’s play for the brands.  The brands yearning for engagement on different social media channels can tell how rigorous social media can be for them at times. It gets dirtier as you delve more and more into the social catharsis.  But as rightly said: if there’s a will, there’s a way.

The key to social media success is ‘Sharing’

Sharing or content curation is an essential part of social networking.  It is one of the pillars of social media. It helps promote and disseminate marketing marketing message to the target audience, while increasing the reach and recognition of the brand. With that said, if you are not sharing your content effectively on social media or if you are not creating content that people would want to share, you’re doing it wrong and you’re doing it in vain.

Don’t worry if content sharing sounds tricky for you, below are some tactics that will help you gain more exposure and garner more engagement by making your content more shareable.  

1. Keep Your Content ‘Simple’

 Simple content is easier to read and comprehend. Thus, it grabs people’s attention more quickly and makes it more likely to engage them in sharing.

  2. Strike Visual Appeal

Visual is viral. Visual information not just gets processed more quickly but visuals are also loved and appreciated by social media algorithms. For instance, Facebook recently announced a shift towards videos. 

3. Invoke Sentiments

This is perhaps the most important aspect of a social interaction. Not just keep your content relevant to your target audience but also make sure you built a emotional connection between the brand and reader.

4. Use Hasshags, Get Searchable

Social Media thrives due to real time content. It is about being found by people, and frequently, and inspiring them to connect within a short attention span. The more easily people are able to find you, the more engagement you’ll get. Therefore, hashtags are must. Follow relevant hashtags and post content under hashtags that are being searched often.

5. Tell Stories

Tell stories that people can relate to. Storytelling is the newest popular phenomenon on social media. It is said to have more engagement because people love to hear and share human side of brand and their stories.

6. Create Your Own Story 

Real brands build a connection with their consumers, both emotional and behavioral. And to build that connection, there’s nothing better than telling them your own brand story. Tell them what you believe in, let them buy your vision and win their trust through human interactions.

7. Understand Social

Understand the latest happenings on social media. Know who your target audience is, where they are and how they prefer to connect. Reflect these findings into your social content.

8. Evaluate and Grow

Once you have found a formula that works for you, implement it. But since social media is continuously evolving, it is important to evaluate and learn from different interactions. Evaluate your marketing strategy at least once in a quarter, know your strengths and weaknesses, and adapt to improve.

Do checkout original on SlideShare.

Want to know more?

Caption: “Talks to a new person/Avoids them for months because you’re afraid of coming on too strong”

Bonus points if they have the same reaction so you’re constantly awkwardly avoiding each other because you get along unexpectedly well.