Is Social Anxiety Wearing You Down? This Story's for You.

Standing up against socially anxiety, and how the yellow conference taught one woman to step out.

I went to school with the same kids from kindergarten to graduation.

I never had to make friends because everyone was kind of already thrown together from school. When I went to college, I quickly joined a sorority and immediately had a close-knit group of friends and endless events to attend. I never really had to try because everything was built in.

And then I moved to a city where I didn’t know a soul.

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I began to realize how terrible I was at making friends. And meeting people. And just getting myself out of the house. With no plans on the horizon with friends or activities, I quickly fell in to the trap of binging Netflix in my pajamas instead of leaving the house. When I had to go out and was forced in to social situations, I was awkward and shy. I vividly remember going to an event in Los Angeles where I didn’t know anyone. I had met the host once but had convinced myself she wouldn’t remember me. I walked in, walked around the room, and walked out. I drove an hour each way and I didn’t even open my mouth to a single person.

social anxiety wearing you down? read this story of how volunteering at the Yellow Conference changed everything for one woman. social anxiety wearing you down? read this story of how volunteering at the Yellow Conference changed everything for one woman.

I came home and cried to my husband because I was so disappointed in myself. My social anxiety had reached an all-time high and I just wanted to wallow in self-pity and never try again. That summer I sank into a depression. I had just given birth to my second child and was living 3,000 miles away from anyone I knew and was just having the worst time of my life. I started thinking of ways to pull myself out; how to be less terrified of social situations and I remembered back to my high school and college days. Sure, I actually had friends there, I knew people, but the way I was meeting them and befriending them and actually comfortable in my own skin was being involved in a plethora of activities. From the debate team to the cheerleading squad, to organizing events on campus and my sorority, I was INVOLVED in the most extreme sense of the word. So when I read on Twitter that the first Yellow Conference was happening and they were looking for volunteers, I jumped at the opportunity.


social anxiety wearing you down? read this story of how volunteering at the Yellow Conference changed everything for one woman.

Thankfully, I was invited to help out at the first conference.

And being involved in the behind-the-scenes of an event like that, with so many amazingly confident women, made a complete difference in the way I now approach my social anxiety.

I now aim to be the first person at a party instead of the 10th. Fashionably late, for me, means standing awkwardly in the corner waiting for someone to talk to me. But being the first to arrive means I get to chat up the host, make a connection with the other couple of early birds and help with any last-minute setup that may be needed. Am I still terrified to leave the house and actually go? Yes. Absolutely. I don’t think that fear will ever go away. But I have this trick up my sleeve that has made living with my social anxiety much easier to deal with and has opened me up to so many incredible opportunities and lead me to amazing connections.

Fashionably late, for me, means standing awkwardly in the corner waiting for someone to talk to me. But being the first to arrive means I get to chat up the host, make a connection with the other couple of early birds and help with any last-minute setup that may be needed. Am I still terrified to leave the house and actually go? Yes. Absolutely. I don’t think that fear will ever go away. But I have this trick up my sleeve that has made living with my social anxiety much easier to deal with and has opened me up to so many incredible opportunities and lead me to amazing connections.

I know social anxiety is not a subject that’s talked about often. Obviously someone isn’t going to walk up to you and say “gosh, I just hate social situations, they make me stress sweat like crazy and honestly I just want to cry.” But that’s the truth. Since finding a way to deal with my social anxiety, I am so much more confident in every aspect of my life. From my business to my blog to just meeting some friends for coffee, I know that I can walk in to a room, make friendly conversation with a complete stranger, and not stress sweat like crazy. I can now leave an event or a meeting feeling comfortable and confident instead of breaking down crying in my car rushing to get back to the comfort of my own bed. I think about that event often, the one that left me in tears and helped trigger my depression. Whenever an invitation pops up, I look back on that experience and promise myself not to be that Bri, but to be the confident, comfortable Bri I know is within me.

Photos by Haley George

Brianna Towne

Bri is a nutrition educator and yoga instructor helping mamas and mamas-to-be repair their relationships with food, get clear on the healthiest path to nurturing their unique bodies, and eating and moving without fear, shame, or deprivation. Bri is a wife and mama of 3 little ones and one big doggie. She lives in Los Angeles by the beach and never gets tired of seeing the sunset over the ocean every night. Bri’s favorite food is popcorn, she can’t stand balloons, and is pretty terrified of birds.