On Mental Health

Dress The Part. #HowICopeWithSocialAnxieties

Donnie’s company has their Christmas gathering tonight and I really didn’t have anything to wear. My “nice” clothes have dwindled over the years of having more and more casual-clothing type jobs. I’m down to a few dresses but this is “Holiday Casual” and I felt like a dress would be too “dressy” and I’d be uncomfortable and then I’d behave even more ridiculously than I normally do in social situations. So, I decided I needed a pair of “slacks” and a top that would also work with jeans for the rest of my life. I also didn’t want to spend much more. Nor did I want to shop. So, since I needed groceries? BAM! Target it was.

Luckily they had a bunch of stuff on their 70% off rack so I found a few tops that would work both tonight and just in general. The one top I thought would be best for tonight definitely needed some jewelry – which is actually how I would spend my money if I had money to spend on my wardrobe. I’d buy a bunch of simply clothing pieces and TONS of insane jewelry.

But I found this necklace for $5! Woo!


All of this effort is to basically keep me from humiliating myself. I have found over decades of being a social invalid that I do less embarrassing things if I feel more comfortable AND well-dressed. This is why I no longer even pretend like I’m going to wear heals or even flats. It’s boots in the cool/cold weather and sandals in the warm/hot weather. It’s going for comfort over style. It’s going for things I like and that I feel good about myself wearing. Because the better I feel about myself? The less likely I’m going to discussing taking a pregnancy test in a public bathroom when I was 18.

No. Seriously. I threw that gem out in a conversation with some relatively new friends recently. Because that’s not TMI or anything.

Since this is a party with Donnie’s coworkers I’d really like to walk away without any regrets about oversharing. Because that’s what I do when I’m uncomfortable and/or nervous. I overshare. There are really private things I don’t even talk about to close friends or family and BAM! I’ll just toss it out to people I don’t know like I’m discussing my favorite appetizer.

I had 5 miscarriages! Yeah! Crazy, huh? Also! My Dad is dead! Woo!

I have no idea WHY I do that – but it’s like when I’m nervous I just feel the need to make everyone else uncomfortable to level the playing field.

Ex husbands! Family members who are addicts! Gay Rights!

Yep. Those are some of my favorite topics to discuss when I’m nervous. It’s no wonder my husband takes me anywhere.

So! I’m trying to look fancy but feel comfortable. I’m actually scheduling this post to go live in the morning since this party is late and I may not get up as early as usual. If you want to come back over the weekend to see if I documented any horrible conversations I started to cope with my nerves, feel free. But let’s hope I’ve got nothing embarrassing to regale you with, okay?

*fingers crossed*

8 thoughts on “Dress The Part. #HowICopeWithSocialAnxieties”

  1. I hope you’re sleeping in and not replaying every conversation in your head!

    In October I went on a trip to FL with my husband. The first four days of the trip were to celebrate my birthday. The last four was a 20th anniversary bash for my husband’s company. Four days of looking presentable (sometimes on the beach!) in front of my husband’s co-workers. I dreaded it like there was no tomorrow. I badgered my husband about the dress code, and about three days before we left he forwarded an e-mail outlining all of the activities, and I breathed a sigh of relief. It was mostly casual.

    Then his secretary sent me an e-mail saying “despite the e-mail saying everything is casual, most of the women are dressing up. Well, not dressing up, but I have a long dress that I bought for $20 and a strapless sundress and” blah blah blah.

    I packed what I had (I did lose ten pounds before we left!) and decided that I would be one of a hundred women, and if people wanted to talk about me, go ahead.

    I ended up looking perfectly appropriate. There were women dressed to the nines (heels on the beach!) and others who were way more casual (jeans). I fell completely in the middle, which was fine to me. And I was comfortable!

    Hope you had fun.

  2. I’ve been reading you for close to a year now and have never commented, but it was time for me to tell you how much I appreciate you for posting all of this. I struggle with social anxiety which I feel like no one in my life “gets” or understands. This post about what you say when you are nervous especially spoke to me! Thank you! I am eternally grateful to know that I’m not alone and that you are so willing to talk about it. (And now I going to obsess about posting this and everything I don’t think I said correctly…)

  3. It’s funny – I ended up at a table with some spouses and we basically sat there discussing how awful we are in social situations and how introverted we are by nature. It was really funny! One of my husband’s coworkers actually said, “We had to come out here because I was about to have a panic attack in there.” HA! Maybe there are MORE OF US THAN WE KNOW!

  4. Lol. I love these posts of yours, because yes, I think there are MORE OF US THAN WE KNOW and it makes me feel better to know I’m not alone! I’m an artist, so part of my job is having to go to fancy show openings at galleries and make small talk with people I don’t know for hours on end and it’s awful. One of the things that puts me at ease is to make sure I’m dressed comfortably and in something that makes me feel confident, so this is so me. That, and the replaying of things in my head. 🙂

  5. So, I have been replaying this birthday party I took the kids to yesterday like all night and still now . For some reason I decided to wear my sweats ! First mistake ! I managed to keep my mouth shut some of the time but still found myself most likely looking like a crazy person 🙂

  6. I appreciate these posts because I have social anxieties too. Sometimes I over share too, especially after a few drinks. Usually what happens to me though is that after a night when I think I’ve done especially well and was especially talkative, someone says to me as I’m leaving “You were so quiet, I barely knew you were here.” Then I agonize over why they said that.

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