Anxiety

Social Anxiety During the Holidays

Social Anxiety During the Holidays | Libero Magazine

Before you start reading...

Support us for #GivingTuesday!

$2,151 of $2,500 raised

Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving, it is also our biggest fundraiser of the year. Support our nonprofit magazine by donating -- every little bit helps!

$2,151 of $2,500 raised
$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $25 One Time


Every year as the holidays approach, I am forced to face the crowded shopping malls and the over-packed parties of my family and friends. For me, while the weeks leading up to Christmas are probably my favorite time of the year, they are also when my social anxiety and agoraphobia seem to get the better of me.

As you’ll know from reading some of my past articles, shopping malls are one of my biggest—if not the biggest—anxiety triggers.

There are too many people together in tight spaces, people I don’t know and don’t trust. While rationality tells me  most of these people are surely just shopping for themselves or their loved ones, enjoying a day off and looking for something to do, my mind never stops making the imaginary leap to worst-case scenarios.

I worry about bombs. Gunmen. Agitated former employees of department stores seeking vengeance against shoppers and their old co-workers.

It’s like a bad thriller-horror movie that’s been written a hundred times already.

I don’t like sharing space with other people, and my husband will tell you my biggest pet-peeve is having a sales associate ask me what I need.


Are you enjoying this article? We are a nonprofit and depend on donations to keep running. If you are enjoying this article, would you consider making a $2 donation?
$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $2


Please, don’t talk to me while I’m out here in the world–just let me do my thing.

Social Anxiety During the Holidays | Libero

Now, with the onset of Christmas, malls become absolutely insane. For the next month, you’ll spend an hour driving around just trying to find a place to park your car. People will burst out of every store, as check-out lines grow longer and more impatient.

If it were up to my anxiety, I would just avoid the mall completely until spring. Winter turns me into a pretty big homebody to begin with, and I’d have no issue remaining in my apartment with my dog and a pile of books to keep me company.

As much as I would love this, I don’t give into myself too much, as I know the only way to beat these worries is to push myself out into places where everyone else is.

Usually, I count on my husband or a friend to take shopping trips with me during the holidays. I try not to go on days when every store will be the busiest, so Saturday evenings are out. I take it one store at a time, and when the crowds start to overwhelm me, I remind myself of two things:

  1. No one cares or notices what you’re doing as much as you think they do.
  2. These are all people just like you, shopping for their mom or their boyfriend or their sister.

I’ll be honest, you won’t catch me in a mall or store any time after the week before Christmas, until after New Year’s.

Now while places like the mall and local Walmart can be avoided easily enough during the holidays, it’s a lot harder to escape the social anxiety that comes with family parties.

I love my family, but Christmas is the only time I see some relatives all year long. It can put a lot of pressure on your conversations, and it definitely makes me more nervous to discuss my life with people I’m not overly familiar with.

Part of social anxiety, at least as I’ve experienced, is the fear whoever you’re speaking to is judging everything you say. Again, this is for the most part, probably never true. I’d like to think most people, especially family and friends, want the best for us and are happy about our successes and empathize during our failures. So it doesn’t make sense for our relatives to spend get-togethers silently condemning us for our choices since the last time we’ve met.

When I am with family and friends during the holidays, I really try to use those moments as an opportunity for renewal, forgiveness, and continued love.

Christmas is a time for clean slates and letting go of past offences and hurt. My favorite part of the holiday season is coming together with my loved ones and looking forward to the New Year and our shared hopes as a family.

As anxiety sufferers, we spend most of our lives giving in or trying to fight against our fears and worries. We live around what scares us and are constantly conscious of what others might be thinking.

I believe that especially during the holidays we deserve the chance to live free from anxiety and instead feel full of hope, optimism, and the chance for new opportunities.

No one should feel excluded or separate from the joy that is present this time of year. Holidays are a time to lean on family and friends and look for the good in all people, including ourselves.

Tweet this post:

Lindsay Abraham was first diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder when she was twelve years old. Now more than twelve years later, she is passionate about her own recovery journey and supporting others who struggle with mental health issues. She has a job in the healthcare industry that she loves, and spends her free time reading and collecting oddities. She's also active in the pagan community, and currently has 14 tattoos. Lindsay is an avid animal lover, with two pet birds and a dog. She's a vegetarian, and is grateful every day for a husband that loves her unconditionally.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate $2

As a nonprofit, we rely on donations to keep our magazine and community running. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating:

$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $25 One Time


Report ad as harmful | Ad Policy
Don't Like Seeing Ads? We are a nonprofit and ads are one way we raise money to keep our site and projects going. If you don't like to see ads on our site, signup for monthly donations and help us fully fund ourselves through donations!

Subscribe


Support Libero for #GivingTuesday and help us raise $5,000!

Giving Tuesday 2018

We are a nonprofit. Support our magazine through our #GivingTuesday campaign!

$2,151 of $2,500 raised
$2,151 of $2,500 raised

We will be accepting donations for this campaign until the end of the year, but we hope to reach our goal by Giving Tuesday! Learn more

If you have any troubles donating, please email donations@liberonetwork.com
$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $25 One Time

What are you ‘Free from’?

Micaela: Free from Shame | Libero Magazine 1

Report ad as harmful | Ad Policy


Support Libero Monthly

We are a nonprofit. Support our magazine by signing up for monthly donations!

0% funded
0% funded

Though other online publications are starting to charge monthly subscriptions for their content, as a nonprofit, we want our articles to be available free of charge. This means we rely on ongoing donations to keep our magazine running and our website growing.

If you enjoy our content, please sign up to support us monthly! (you can change your mind at any time)

$

You have chosen to donate $5 monthly.

Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $5 Monthly

Do you blog about mental health?


Report ad as harmful | Ad Policy


Don’t Like Seeing Ads? We are a nonprofit and ads are one way we raise money to keep our site and projects going. If you don’t like to see ads on our site, signup for monthly donations and help us fully fund ourselves through donations!
Micaela: Free from Shame | Libero Magazine 1 Send us your story! [click here] or post your “Free from___” photo on Instagram and tag us: @liberomagazine!