The holidays are rapidly approaching and while that means we’ll get a few days off to spend time with family and friends, for anyone that suffers from social anxiety (or any other mental health issues) this time of year can be torturous and cause an immense amount of suffering.
Seeing family and friends we haven’t had a chance to see for a few months can be lovely, but everyone has those family members or frienemies that are no good for our minds, and it’s important to recognize those moments so that you can cope with them and stop worrying what they think of you.
Learning To Cope With Stress
A big part of mental health recovery is learning coping methods to move forward with your life. The professionals at Eden Treatment treat people with eating disorders and they know how important it is to get the family’s buy-in when a new patient comes to them.
It’s just as important for you to get your family’s buy-in. Tell them what’s going on, how you feel and how they can help you to cope with it. Talking about it will make it easier to deal with.
You’re Not Psychic
Or maybe you are, who knows? Actually, you know. You can’t read people’s minds and you cannot claim to know what they are thinking. Assume that they know something that you don’t instead.
This is empowering knowledge for two reasons: you don’t know what they think about you for sure and you don’t know what they’re going through.
If someone says a comment that you take personally, consider they may have their own issues and it may have come out wrong. Most people don’t intend to be rude or horrible, especially to family.
If the person you’re speaking with says something you could take, either way, remember that you don’t know for sure how they feel about you. If they say “you’re looking well” that doesn’t mean you looked awful last time they saw you, it just means they’ve noticed you look well.
You Are Not The Center Of Their World
This is a really hard concept for anyone to get their head around, but it’s even more pertinent for someone suffering from mental health problems.
A key thing to know about all humans: they are the center of their OWN universe, just as you are the center of yours. This is powerful information because it can stop the voices in your head that say things like “she’s talking about you” or “they’re plotting against you”. They’re not – instead they’re more likely thinking about what they’re going to have for dinner or if they remembered to pay that bill.
On this note, if someone you haven’t seen for a while or don’t know very well says something that can be taken either way, take a step back and think about how well they know you and your situation. If the answer is ‘not very well’ then can you be sure that what they said was a specifically barbed comment?
Stand Up For Yourself
If all else fails and you are sure the person you’re speaking with is being particularly unkind, don’t be afraid to say something.
A simple “hey, this conversation isn’t good for me, can we change the topic” is enough, or simply walk away.