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WorthofaSoul

Introvert Anxiety

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So I know I've written a lot, if it's TL;DR, that's ok here's the main question.

For people with anxiety over being the center-of-attention, what are good ways to get over it? (My farewell's coming up in 2-3 weeks, I don't really have time for therapy and certainly no meds, etc. So what's a good way to naturally deal with having to talk with people about me, about my mission, the whole crying about "Oh I remember just yesterday, you were just a baby and now you're going on a mission..." etc?)

I'm not usually a big center-of-attention person. In fact, I hate it. I mean, I'm all excited for other people having the spotlight and even love playing it up for them, but for me I hate it.

There are certain times when it's kind of ok, like giving talks or testimony meeting I don't mind so much, but making something special about me kind of makes me want to throw up (having my parents invite all of the family to my mission call opening was hard enough)

So when I was preparing to get my endowments out for my mission, my parents and I ended up getting into a discussion about family. I brought up the fact I really wasn't looking to have my aunts and uncles there and even requested that my grandma and Great-grandma be there (because of course what do grandma's do? Throw a big fuss and love putting a lot of attention on their grandchildren) I ended up having an emotional breakdown on the phone with my parents and eventually over time I did concede to at least have my grandmas there with rules that if I was overwhelmed by the whole experience and by everyone I could be left to sit alone in a corner of the Celestial Room, etc.

So fast-forward to the present. I have my endowments out now and the trip to the temple was fine. But I have come to find out that my grandma, even though my parents told her that I was feeling anxious and didn't want a crowd, actually invited all of my family to the temple that day. (Due to various reasons such as sickness, the death of an in-law, etc. they couldn't make it) And said to my dad in regards to me "Well, it's a public place, if everyone just happens to show up for a session at the exact same time it can't be helped, can it?"

I am hurt that she did this, even if she might not have know the severity of my anxieties. I'm also grateful of how things did turn out, but I'm upset over what could have happened. If my relatives had shown up, I would have been so much more stressed out and I also probably would've been angry at my parents, especially my dad (he was a big pusher for trying to invite family to events) and in that case, when I had gone with him to participate in the prayer I would have had to withdrawn because I would've had ill-feelings towards him and then I would've been humiliated having to sit down in front of everyone and then having everyone wonder and maybe ask why I did that. And what would the explanation be? "Oh, I'm sorry, I was upset because I didn't really want any of you to be here..."

So I feel like I have two problems:

  • How should I talk to my grandma about this?
  • Is there a way to get over some of this center-of-attention anxiety?

I know we're usually more self-conscious of ourselves and notice more that we do than others, but I can get anxious over happy things as well. Like thoughts of getting married and having my extended family watch me get sealed and have a reception makes me want to throw up.

But more urgently, what am I'm going to do for my farewell? The talk will be fine, but I don't do the whole partying/talking to people, especially not if I'm in anyway part of the focus. But that's the whole point of a farewell, and there's really no way of not having a gathering with my family, so what am I to do?

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For people with anxiety over being the center-of-attention, what are good ways to get over it? (My farewell's coming up in 2-3 weeks, I don't really have time for therapy and certainly no meds, etc. So what's a good way to naturally deal with having to talk with people about me, about my mission, the whole crying about "Oh I remember just yesterday, you were just a baby and now you're going on a mission..." etc?)

There really isn't a quick solution. The natural way to deal with such things is exposure. Therapy can help you learn to cope, medications can help reduce the anxiety, but true comfort comes from exposure . At least in my experience.

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Oh, and ignore Dravin's advice. You should NOT expose yourself to others. While it may make some laugh, it is illegal in many public places to go around naked. You simply do not need that kind of exposure on your mission....

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So I feel like I have two problems:

  • How should I talk to my grandma about this?
  • Is there a way to get over some of this center-of-attention anxiety?

But more urgently, what am I'm going to do for my farewell? The talk will be fine, but I don't do the whole partying/talking to people, especially not if I'm in anyway part of the focus. But that's the whole point of a farewell, and there's really no way of not having a gathering with my family, so what am I to do?

Heavenly Father knows what you need more than anyone else. Ask him for help. Be specific. And get a priesthood blessing. Maybe asking your Dad for a blessing specifically for the anxiety he will begin to understand the severity.

As for talking to your grandmother. She loves you! I think if its possible for anyone on this earth to love us more than our parents do its our grandparents. Its a different love than our parents, but its just as strong. So..... tell her what you've told us. Explain your feelings. She might just surprise you.

Then remember, that there are some people in the world who are just so wrapped up in what they want that they can't put themselves in someone else's shoes. If your grandmother fits in this group, still talk with her but keep in the back of your mind that she might not get it. At the very least she should respect your feelings. But if you never explain it to her she won't have a chance and she will continue to disappoint you.

Finally... back to the beginning. Heavenly Father can and will heal all things and can do it in a short time. Ask Him. At the very least He can help you cope with the anxiety for specific situations. But personally, in the short term, I would just ask him to remove the anxiety. Then... BELIEVE that He can and will help you.

I wish you all the best, especially on your mission.

Edited by applepansy

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I was lucky. My missionary farewel was superbowl sunday and my city was playing, so we had the game one, nobody really talked too much. But I know what you mean. I hated the idea of a big wedding, baby showers and such. nothing where I had to be the center. I would just tell someone close to me that I felt that and had them kinda stick by be so I didn't get overwhelmed. Just someone that can start the conversation or help with the weird moments when I got nervous. They could "fill in the blanks" when I didn't want to talk about myself. Works well. If you think that would be too much for one person, have two people take turns. You can smile and nod, make a few comments here and there....ya know, not get over whelmed.

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"Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain."

Our confidence blossoms as we exercise courage in the face of our fears, not in the absence of fear.

Trust in Ether 12: 27, knowing that through the grace of God, his enabling power, you can overcome all things.

Do your best. Don't worry what others think of you, and remember when you are giving a talk it is to please God, not them. It is to glorify God and his beloved son.

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You cannot go through life avoiding people paying attention to you. My short answer is to take some Pepto and do what you have to do. The long answer is if this is truly debilitating for you, then get some therapy and meds and then keep exposing yourself to these situations so that eventually you will feel less stressed and can get through them without meds.

Note I didn't say you won't feel any stress, but at some point, you should be able to handle most of life's normal moments where the focus is on you, without meds.

I have to speak in public twice a week, for 3 hours at a time (I teach). I find it exceedingly strange that I can get up in front of a class and do my thing with no problem. I can give a conference presentation with just a bit of nerves, but generally okay. And yet, at the beginning of the school year, when we have faculty orientation, I am so nervous I can get a stomach ache - and all I'm doing is talking about myself! So, I get the nerves, but you have to find a way to do it and get through it. I'm not lying about the Pepto. : )

Also, when people say nice things to you, it is always appropriate to say, 'thank you.' You don't need to give a soliloquy, just smile and say 'thank you.'

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