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Social Anxiety and Introvertedness

So does anyone suffer any form of anxiety on these forums and are an introvert? Just curious who is, because I've been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I'm an introvert with some extrovert tendencies. My G.A.D., however, likes to be COMPLETELY RANDOM so while I'm not entirely anxious when grocery shopping by myself, I AM anxious if I'm talking on the phone or talking in front of a crowd. I won't know if I'd have an anxiety/panic attack until I have to face something and then I learn "Wow! I have anxiety with this." And my anxiety not only makes my body shake, but I get sick. OTL

So if you have anxiety and are an introvert, how do you deal with it besides "deal with it". I wanna improve myself, but "just doing it" doesn't help me because my anxiety (and Persistant Depressive Disorder) end up just locking me up LOL. I wanna go to some cons in the future and I'm thinking of joining smaller ones so I don't look like an ass and be made fun of because I act weird or I speak weird. :D I also suck at small talk and can't do it to save my life. :D

Also how do you network? I don't get the purpose of networking? I see it as useless talking to someone who probably doesn't care. I have a lot of misanthropy at times, so I don't trust people nor do I think they care for me, lol.

Wow this topic is weird. I hope you understand what I want to know.

I'mma lurk in this topic now. If I don't respond, I may just like your post if I agree or like it. >w>;
Hey bud I have been recently diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I'm waiting for some results coming through for autism (possibly Aspergers) and although I'm quite outgoing online, I'm a total introverted wall flower IRL. I thank my gifts of art that allow me to communicate with it, however, you're right with the networking thing, without some nice people on Twitter I've met, I wouldn't have known how to get about on the webcomic community at all.

I don't think it's a weird topic, I believe as a society we're beginning to acknowledge mental illness and learning ways to find avenues to overcome it, or learn to live with it. Talking about these things is the first step and thanks for taking that brave leap.


4-Stripe White Belt
Aww, it's okay. I have a bit of anxiety here and there, too. Mostly for phone calls, though. My experience working at retail made my face-to-face interactions stronger and I've been doing internet stuff for so long that a reminder that "Everyone is anonymous/hiding behind an avatar" online helps me push through any nervous moments I may have when, say, I want to post my latest comic hype post. Some people use their actual names - which is great, too - but in the end, I don't know EXACTLY where they live or anything and thus neither do you guys for me. No worries of getting hate mail in the mailbox or a strange phone call! The worst someone can say online is "no" and there are blocking mechanisms on a lot of sites now if someone wants to be a stupid bully. I just type like I'm talking to myself because the most interested person that wants to hear your thoughts - besides fans - is you. Treat posts like journal entries at first.

One of the techniques I do for when I DO get anxious is to prepare a short script, like with a phone call. Get that initial message plotted out (even if it's to say "I'd like to order a pizza") and practice it with a limited amount of times (that way, you can still push yourself to do it soon and not wallow in a new anxiety). I usually go for 3-5 minutes, depending on the phone call. Deep breath exercises help when I break down in general. My wife (who does have diagnosed depression and anxiety thus I've helped her out over the years as well) gives me one of those relaxing gifs and reminds me to breathe in through the nose....out through the mouth...watch the gif...and after a few moments I'm okay.
As someone who recently were diagnosed with the same thing, along with social phobia and performance anxiety, I can relate waaaaay too much to this. On top of this, I'm an introvert as well so yeah.

It comes in periods as well for me, I've had a MONTH with not being able to grocery shop or anything.

But I've learned that if I bring someone with me, I'm usually ok. Because that makes me able to talk to someone if I'm feeling anxious about something.
I'm still working on the phone call bit, sometimes it's ok, sometimes I lay on the floor crying for at least 3 hours before being able to make a phone call. And when I finally do that: Panic attack and I cry. Again. So I kind of avoid that and look for email options (which is something funny, BECAUSE I'VE GOTTEN SUDDEN PANIC ATTACKS OF THAT TOO).

One thing I've learned, is to do that when you're feeling dissociative (when you're feeling like you're outside of your body for some odd reason) because when I get like that, I find it easier to do things without overthinking.

Another thing that's helped me a lot is to understand your own motive (for like phone calling): Get into a role and play it. Figure out your character, what does it want and how will it get the thing they need? It's perfectly fine to give your "character" your own name.

But also: Remind yourself that it's a phase, it'll be over with soon and recognize the symptoms for when it's over. Don't blame yourself if you're not able to take care of things right away. It can wait, 5 minutes, 1 hour, 2 days et cetera.

Think about those situations where you got your anxiety attack, what triggered it? It'll make it easier for you to handle those situations, (it did for me, I never show anything until later!).

I kind of have as a rule to not NOT let my anxiety ruin my life. I push through, I get a mental block as well, but I fight against it, because I don't want to live like that. I shut myself down and let my body act for me, it's the easiest way.
And think about what to say and do and remind yourself: It's easy! Anyone can do it! Even me!
Be positive, try to think about how the the situation can go in the best direction.

You can also try to give yourself deadlines, like: This monday I need to the dishes, or something else. Give yourself breaks. Because one plate gone is one plate less to take care of.

And small talk: Never ever I'm able to do that. I go straight to the point, always. People kind of hate me due to this, but I don't care. They pretty much know I don't like smalltalking xD
However, when it's down to networking: Do be interested in other peoples work! It'll make them interested in yours as well, it's kind of like making friends in business that's very useful for both you AND them. It's a win/win situation.
(because someday a job opportunity will be there, and they're gonna think: Hey, this'll suit "NN" right up their alley, I'll recommend them!)
So that's basically the point of networking. :D
Grade A certifiable introvert. I do okay enough nowdays in public, but there are days where I just dont care to deal with people. I can spend hours/days being by myself and be perfectly okay.

@Chopythes DEF feel you on the small talk. I often almost lose it with co-workers at my day job, coz they want to beat around the bush about what they want than get to the point(the "uhhh" word drives me crazy to no end- especially if a grown person is using it 15 times in a 8 word sentence). I do well with being interested in others stuff- but it HAS TO interest me.


4-Stripe White Belt
Dude, Izagar, I feel ya. I LOVE talking to my readers, but I get horrible anxiety talking to other creators, and I generally have trouble keeping up with people on social media as a result. As for suggestions, I'm no expert, but basically when I'm not up to actually talking, I try to do supportive things for my comic friends that don't require any dialogue. Hitting the like button, reblogging their work (even if I'm not up to adding an endorsement), and I tip my mutuals on Tapas like crazy.

Sometimes, opening a line of non-verbal communication makes it easier to then say something to them. And sometimes it makes the other person feel more comfortable saying something to you, and at least in my opinion, replying (and telling someone how awesome you think they are in the process) is easier than approaching someone outright.

That said, I do still have to force myself to actually say stuff on occasion, because I feel the non-verbal stuff works better at maintaining relationships and preventing them from dissolving than it does at building them bigger.
I have nowhere near the same level of anxiety as others in this thread, but do have my moments. I think openly admitting, out loud, that I AM an anxious mess has helped a lot? It makes it much easier to ask for help when I need it. To be able to go "Hey this is a small and silly thing but it's making me REALLY anxious - could you hold my hand while I do it, please?" and have people close to me know what's up and get it is super helpful.

I think my two major problems are a.) the fear of making trouble for other people/being an inconvenience, and wrapped up in this a fear of failure, and b.) a fear of getting lost, as in, geographically, and with it, a fear of travel. They're kind of linked together, as getting lost is a kind of failure.

The fear of making trouble/being an inconvenience/failing to do something properly is fairly low-level? It's a kind of ever-present but fairly quiet thing that nags at me and turns me into a bit of a control-freak. I have to know what I'm doing, how I'm supposed to be doing it, and have at least one person I can go to in case anything goes wrong. Sometimes, this is a good thing; I usually have a very good grasp on planning ahead and being on time to things and this does tend to give people the impression that I'm on top of things (even when I'm really not) - but the downside is getting stressed out very easily, finding it really hard to delegate tasks, and perhaps most annoying of all - going along with and quietly accepting behaviour from other people that secretly annoys me, because I'm so scared of them being upset with me.

I'm getting better at dealing with it, though! As I said, being open and asking for help... helps!

The second fear - the one of getting lost, and the fear of travel.... It's kinda tied up in not wanting to inconvenience people, and this one is a bit more immediate than the above-mentioned. I'm fine going to the store, I'm fine going into town, I'm fine going any number of places I've been before, or things that are close to places I've been before. But if it's a new place, or a place somewhere far away that involves a route or mode of transport I haven't used before? Instant freaking panic.

If I'm going to go on a bus route I've never used before, I will Google-maps the heck out of it. If my reason for going is to do something big and specific - a booked appointment, a scheduled event, etc. - I will sometimes do a trial run beforehand if I can. As in, I will travel the route without the time-limit imposed by the event, just to familiarise myself with it. I can usually cope with buses and trains within regular commuting distance (though train and subway platforms exude some kind of magical forcefield that makes me INSTANTLY lose all sense of direction once I'm on them) by using these methods, but anything further and more complicated than that? I just can't handle it on my own.

I'm going on a cross-country train journey on the first weekend of April - I can't do it on my own. I have to have travel-company I feel safe with. Likewise, flying. I hate airports. I hate them. I can't handle flying on my own. Just thinking about it has me on the verge of tears.

... so yeah. That's not fun.

My vow for 2017 was to be just a little, little bit braver - and I'm working on it! I'm taking that cross-country train journey to attend a con I would otherwise have avoided because of the travel involved! Sure, I need company to be able to cope with it, but I'm doing it! Which is better than avoiding it altogether.

Baby steps.
@Anna Landin You're good. When people do stuff that irks the living hell out of me, I cant poker face it- my face twitches like on those anime cartoons. I'm a bit of a control freak myself, but it's more along the line for me that A) have a vision for how I want it to look in the end, or B) trust issues with others. If I go outside of these zones to enlist help, I really need the help and I trust the person that I'm getting the help from...other than that, I try to do it myself.
I've struggled with anxiety as long as I can remember, and only recently started getting better. What honestly helped me the most was getting on medication, but I recognize that a lot of people aren't able to afford this. If you can, though, I'd recommend at least trying it. It's not something to feel ashamed of, either.

If you can find a way to direct your anxious energy into your work (be that writing or art), it's one of the biggest things that's helped me. If I'm feeling really bad I can go work on my comics and that usually distracts me enough that I calm down a little. Other distractions such as video games and the like also are good for distraction.. Breathing exercises can help to, as well as being aware of what your anxiety makes you feel. (e.g. realizing I'm having a panic attack, while it doesn't make said panic attack stop or be any less bad, helps a little because I know it's a panic attack and I'm not dying. which is what I thought was going on the first few times I had a panic attack). As well, ambient noise sites such as rainymood have helped me calm down, too.

I have social anxiety but lucky for me, it's pretty much absent for online interactions, but out in public it's still pretty bad (it's pretty much impossible for me to start a conversation with anyone), so I can't be much help there, but, you're not alone at least.


White Belt
As someone who suffers from severe social anxiety and agoraphobia, I totally get where you (and other people in this thread) are coming from. I have difficulty interacting with strangers, I'm atrocious at getting things done in time, I'm quite shut-in, total introver. Talking in phone, small-talk? Oh hell no (if I HAVE to talk in phone, I write up what I'm going to say. I don't talk unless I'm asked something and afterwards I'll probably beat myself up mentally because whatever I said had to sound really stupid although I know it probably didn't. Eye contact? Not gonna happen. Really interesting that thing just past your right shoulder). Emails I can do!
Funnily enough anxiety affects my online presence as well: I can seem quite outgoing on Twitter, but it's a bit like shouting into the void and I don't have many followers so it doesn't give me much anxiety. And I don't use hashtags (on e.g. fanart I do) because I get ridiculously anxious if someone actually notices the tweet and the notifs start pouring in lmao. Not even mentioning ending up in some sort of confrontation or having to discuss something with strangers. I haven't much taken part in CBH activities on Twitter and probably won't be posting a lot to these forums because of anxiety either (made an account just to take part in this conversation, hehe). Even being anonymous gives me anxiety although I know that NO ONE knows it's me. I get palpitations, sweaty hands, nausea, the whole shebang, and then I want to hide in my bed for the rest of the day. Fun.

And here's the actual tricky part: I run a somewhat popular webcomic. The comic updates twice a week so it's pretty much a day job for me so I have plenty of deadlines I HAVE to meet to get those pages up in time. I have to engage with the comic's readers (which I actually quite enjoy because our readers are darlings!) and even try to do some promoting, which means using those hashtags and trying to network. And I don't do it well at all. Talking to people I don't know is really really difficult, even if we there's a common subject we could be talking about (like comics). Going to someone and saying "Hey I have a comic as well" or anything of the sort is absolutely harrowing JUST AS A THOUGHT. So I don't really do it. And I have to reread any reply I write several times to over-analyze every aspect of it to minimize the chance that someone will misunderstand my point or think that I'm "stupid".
And the way that I manage the whole comic thing is that I have a partner I work with. We work on the comic together, she kicks my ass when I'm trying to put things off because of anxiety issues, and she takes care of the PR stuff and networking when I'm overwhelmed, or at least shares the burden with me. And she allows me the space I need when I really do need it (when I'm "out of spoons"). It's a balancing act I've eased off into in the three years I've been making the comic.

Of course that isn't an option to everyone. But if you want to go to conventions I STRONGLY recommend getting a friend to come with you! I can move outside, even in very crowded places when there is something that can draw my attention away from things I imagine are happening around me (that others are staring and judging me, which I know isn't true but try telling that to the irrational part of my brain who wants me to run and hide), and having another person, preferably a good friend I know I can trust with me is the best option. (What I do when I have to go outside for e.g. groceries I usually listen to music and concentrate on that, but in a setting like a convention that won't really work). Even better if the friend is someone who knows about your anxiety and understands you and can help you out if you feel overwhelmed or like you need space. They can then help you get you out of the crowds, or if you're manning an artist alley table, take over for you for a while so that you can e.g. go outside or find a quiet, peaceful place and have a breather.
Also if you're like me and get physical symptoms from anxiety (stuff like heart palpitations, sweating, blushing, shaky hands, nausea, etc.) and you go to a doctor, talk to them about possibly prescribing betablockers for you! They help me IMMENSELY because even in a highly stressful situation the physical symptoms just don't come, and although you feel embarrassed, at least you don't feel horrible physically. It's been a huge help to me!

Anxiety is an asshole and it won't go away, you'll just learn to manage it so that it won't take over your life completely. Rather than concentrating on all the things you can't do, figure out the things you CAN do, and if you need help at first, try to find that help somewhere, whether it's family or friends or professional help like therapy, or crutches like medicine.

This probably wasn't of much help, but it feels... empowering, somehow, to know that there are other people with anxiety managing their comics out there. So, uh, here's my two cents, and now I probably won't look at this thread for a couple of days, haha.
This is something that I've been combating my entire life. For me, anxiety has always sort of been two-fold:

- A fear of failure, of not meeting peoples' expectations of me. I think this sort of stems from having a lot expected of me by adult figures in my life at a very young age.

- A fear of being socially uninteresting. I like calm, thoughtful conversations. I like being a supportive person. I like challenging ideas. I love all things storytelling. And a big part of me has always been afraid that that just makes me a bit of a wash to other people with different priorities and different engines: your typical nice, but easy-to-forget about guy. Of course, that's a ridiculous anxiety driven by ego, not by logic. There are plenty of folks with the same priorities and interests as me that I've been able to develop amazing friendships with.

I think the single thing that's helped me most, in terms of social anxiety, is doing theater. I approach my roles and craft on stage from a cerebral place, but it's still cathartic -- I don't judge the characters that I play, or their actions, and I get to share my love for storytelling in a very personal way with the audience. It helps that they generally stand and clap at the end of the show, and it helps that it's an environment where I feel like I fit in pretty easily in a social way. So in that way, for me, it was all about finding like-minded people and a reason to spend time with them face-to-face. I still get anxious when I have to schmooze with business-types, but less so knowing that I have a home community to return to.

In terms of work anxiety ... I've been less successful on that front. Theater (and submitting comics to publishers) has made me pretty used to rejection, so that's good ... but my instinct to not trust peoples' positive words ("they're just saying that because I'm a nice guy") and my concern that maybe I'm really just not quite as good as I need to be -- those are always obstacles to push past. I do wish I'd developed better coping mechanisms for them.

When I was a teenager, my anxiety was crippling. Stomach ulcers, hospital visits, medicine, therapy. As an adult in my mid 30s, it can still be frustrating, but it never feels as heavy as it used to. I think that's something that just sort of happens as you get used to dealing with it, over time, with the benefit of life experience.

It seems cliche to say, "Don't worry kid, it gets better."

... but it's true. It does. That doesn't mean it'll ever be perfect -- but who wants perfect, anyways?


4-Stripe White Belt
Introvert? Check. Anxiety? Check.

I'm not sure how I would grade myself as far as the anxiety goes. I've never been formally diagnosed with anything, but I have had a few people suggest that perhaps I should talk to someone about getting some medication to help with it. I can usually function though, so I just continue to "deal with it" through other means.

Being aware that you have anxiety is a huge step. It helps you spot those moments when you might be overreacting a bit so that you can try and bring yourself down although it's not always easy.

Having someone that you trust enough to talk to about it is a huge help. If they're aware of it they can spot the signs that you're having trouble with something and try to help you get it under control. Just having someone else physically present can help a lot depending on the issue.

Trying to keep your general stress level down might also help you. You're probably more likely to become anxious about a given situation if something else is stressing you out. It can become a big snowball where one anxiety leads to another, which leads to another and so on, but if you can find a way to calm yourself a bit before that first anxiety gets rolling you can keep it from getting too out of control. Try some meditation, going for a walk, or just some activity to take your mind off the anxiety for a while.

I'm not sure how old you are, but I've also found that just age/experience has helped a lot. I think this is a combination of learning how to deal with it and just not really caring what other people think so much.

As Funari also said, I think being forced to work retail has helped a lot, but I wouldn't recommend it. I'd rather quit the retail "day job" and just focus on Pacifica and other art. :D

Your idea of going to a small con sounds really good. Start small. Push your boundaries a little at a time and see what you can handle. Don't overwhelm yourself all at once with big things.
As you can see, you are not alone. My whole life has been a cesspool of depression, anxiety, guilt, and embarrassment.

The best thing I've done for my problems is to ask for help. That's was six years ago. Man was that difficult. But I was done trying to fake smiles and pretending to be ok when I wasn't.

Unfortunately, I'll be on medication for the rest of my life. It took awhile to find something that worked. But meds are never a total fix, they just calm your brain so you can make good choices. What really helped me with the anxiety was group Therepy. Once a week. I realized I wasn't alone and that there are people who have walked many miles on my shoes.

Listening, and then talking and asking questions in my group opened up a world I thought was forever locked to me. The change came when I realized that talking about my own experiences and how I felt with them successfully helped everyone around me and gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

If you need to talk my door is always open. I can just listen, or I can share with you how I got through some really rough times.

Just remember there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. But don't alienate yourself from those who love you and can help you.

This goes for anyone reading this.
I have been diagnosed with depression and while I don't have a diagnosis for social anxiety disorder, I know the symptoms enough to recognize I have it. I also have ADHD, so all three combined make a certain kind of mess that can be really hard to manage sometimes. I don't experience panic attacks, but I'm very good at talking myself out of doing things or postponing things out of a fear of what other people might think of me. Out of a fear that I'm bothering people. Out of a fear that I'll look stupid or silly. Out of fear that I'm going to do it wrong and going to get in some kind of trouble. Out of fear of failing (I take failure way too hard). Some things are easier for me than others, but somewhere along the line I've been programmed to defeat myself before I even start. I face impostor syndrome pretty regularly.

I freely admit I'm a mess and I've let my anxiety hold me back from doing a lot of things that I really want. I still let it get in my way a lot. I am still really good at talking myself out of doing anything that I feel might make other people laugh at me if they saw it. I signed up for a gym for the first time recently and the first couple weeks were tough because I expected everyone to judge me and mentally critique everything I do. Turns out, people at the gym tend to not care what you're doing. Everyone's pretty focused on themselves and unless you get in the way, you're free to do your own stuff. It isn't as bad as I thought.

Hands down, the best thing I've ever done for it is get medication. If you can afford to do this, you really should see your doctor about it. It has made a huge difference in both my ability to cope with anxiety, but also deal with all those horrible, negative, self-defeating thoughts that depression encourages. I rarely face impostor syndrome while I'm taking the medication, I feel better about my life, and I don't spiral into that pit of dark, depressive thoughts as much anymore. It's also helped with my ADHD issues some and helps me deal with stress better because depression always makes things seem much, much worse than they really are. It's not a cure-all. I still deal with anxiety pretty regularly, but it's easier to convince myself things aren't as bad as I'm making them out to be. Anti-depression medication is relatively cheap in the US and there are many different medications out there so if one's not working, your doctor can probably find another that works. I'm currently taking Effexor, which hits both depression and anxiety, and it's done wonders for me.

Beyond that, I think it helps to learn how to recognize when anxiety is blowing things out of proportion. Learn to talk yourself out of the anxiety. For example, I get anxiety about talking on the phone. It helps me to just say, "Look, Micah, if you just dial the number, you can get this taken care of. The person on the other end deals with people like you every day and the second you're off the phone they'll forget you exist. There's nothing to worry about. They don't even know you and even if you do something dumb, they can't bring it back to haunt you." It doesn't always work, but it helps.

To go back to the gym example, sometimes the best thing to do is just force yourself to take the plunge. It was really easy for me to talk myself out of signing up for a gym for the longest time because I didn't want to go there and be judged. Once I got there and did it, I found out the staff was cool, the entire experience isn't as bad as I feared, and all my anxieties were completely unfounded. Again, this doesn't apply to every situation but sometimes you just need to tell yourself you're being unreasonable.

Sometimes you just have to remind yourself you can't please everyone. People will think what they think and you can't control it, so just do the best you can and let them have their opinions.

I also found this list of self-talk quotes that help quell anxiety and depression. When you recognize your mind is being irrational, often times arguing with it out loud helps put that nonsense back in its box. You really have to say it out loud, though. It's more powerful that way. A thought can get easily lost, but you have to consciously speak.

Beyond all this, physical health and self-care is connected to mental health. I'm not saying go sign up for a gym or learn to run a marathon or anything. Rather, just take care of yourself, physically. I know it's hard for us because we're busy creatures, but make sure you get enough sleep. My depression, anxiety, and ADHD are always much, much worse when I've not slept enough. MUCH worse. I notice. Make sure you're feeding yourself regularly, that you take a shower/bath and keep yourself cleaned up. Get out of the house for leisure a couple times a week. It doesn't have to be a long time. Just take a short walk or go to a coffee shop to draw or find a park to sit at for a while. Depression and anxiety seem to get worse when you don't actively combat them and just the act of getting out of your home can change your mood dramatically.

Also it helps to make some time off mandatory. When you overwork yourself, you get stressed and when you get stressed, it makes everything worse. Make it a point to take some "you" time once a week or so. Take a nice hot bath or read a book you've always meant to read. Play a video game you really want to try or fix yourself a nice meal. It doesn't have to cost money, you just need to find something that you can do that's just for your own selfish pleasurable reasons for a while.

That got much longer than I intended but I hope it helps!
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4-Stripe White Belt
I struggle with anxiety as well, so I know how frustrating it can be. One of the best things I did for my anxiety was starting running, yoga and mindfulness meditation. (I actually started yoga for my neck/back pain but it has definitely help with my nerves too.)
I also start aromatherapy in 2016, but I can't say if it really helped with my anxiety. It did however help with my headaches!

Hands down, the best thing I've ever done for it is get medication. If you can afford to do this, you really should see your doctor about it.
Yes, 100% this. If you can get your anxiety under control with exercise, diet, etc, that's awesome but sometimes all those options are not enough and at that point you should look into medication. It's important to see a doctor if you're going that route! Even if you're just thinking of getting herbal supplements for anxiety or depressions, because they can interfere with other medications.

I LOVE talking to my readers, but I get horrible anxiety talking to other creators, and I generally have trouble keeping up with people on social media as a result
Same, I find it very hard to carry on conversations with both my readers and other creators as well, and the result is my replies always take a long time. ^^;
But at the same time I don't want my anxiety or shy nature to stop me from being approachable. It's always a balancing act... ^^;

Also how do you network? I don't get the purpose of networking? I see it as useless talking to someone who probably doesn't care
I Network by participating in hashtag events, like #ComicBookHour and #webcomicchat. By posting update alerts on my social media accounts, ex. Twitter. And sharing extras for my comic, like sneak peeks of the next page, WIP's, doodles, notes, character sheets, etc. Basically anytime you're talking about your comic you're networking. Networking is also about meeting/ interacting with other comic creators and readers, exchanging ideas and building up of rapport. Doing this can help you learn ways of how to handle your anxiety, teach you better communication skills and build your confidence.
Viewing networking as talking to people that "probably don't care" won't help make it any easier or any more enjoyable.
Automatically assuming people won't care about your comic sort of makes it sound like you don't place any value on your work. If you put time and effort into your comic it has value and you have the right to talk about it all you want. And sure some people won't care but as far as my experience goes the majority of people you communicate with will be positive. The comic community on Twitter and on this forum are overall very kind and receptive! Finally networking is important because if you don't tell people you're comic exists, how else will they know it's there.
i don't really have a problem on the net apart from the skill i seem to have of upsetting people without even trying . out in the real world i have grown to have crowds and noisy places , but this is mostly due to events that have happened in my personal life. I do have my dark days when i get down and hate the world as much as it hates me that day. from the looks of things here all us cartoonist are depressed anti socials hiding in artwork lol


4-Stripe White Belt
I was diagnosed with a comorbid anxiety disorder when I was diagnosed with ADHD, and while my adhd medications helped a lot, I was still having a lot of panic attatcks and intrusive thinking. I'm doing much better now, and I suspect that my gender issues were feeding into my anxiety in a way that treating my ADHD meds wasn't alleviating. Now that I'm entirely socially transitioned and am currently medically transitioning, things are a lot better--I can leave my house, talk to clerks at the store, answer my phone when it rings and actually talk to strangers on the other end to set up appointments.

It's a lot better now, but before it was better, especially where cons are concerned, I basically let my husband do all the talking. It was an easy setup to accept since he does all of our writing, but if you could get someone familiar with your work to take the reins at a table if it starts to get majorly overwhelming, it really, really helps.

In regards to networking, it's a good way to meet other people who do what you do and who sometimes have the same issues you do. You're actually technically networking right now in this thread, if that's not too scary a concept. :p
I'm a very anxious introvert with some extroverted behavior, probably some undiagnosed shit as well that I haven't gotten diagnosed because doing things I'm not used to doing, aka contacting doctors etc etc makes me VERY anxious. I talk about crying and heavy breathing anxious. Some nights I can't sleep due to anxiety and hyperfocusing on things that make me feel terrible and even more anxious.
What has helped me so far has been to try to detect a wave of anxiety early, and start treating that in my personal ways: Do something else, take a walk, watch something, ignore social media, take a nap, shower. Anything that breaks whatever I'm doing at the moment.
And if that doesn't work, I tell a friend I'm having trouble, and usually that also helps.

On "networking". It can be as simple as just excitedly talk to people about the things you care about, like on this very forum. I'm notoriously BAD at networking and forum talk, but I'm working to get better.


4-Stripe White Belt
I don't want to push you to see a doctor if you don't want to, because I remember how panic-attack inducing that was for me personally, but if you can manage it at all or have someone you trust talk you through setting some appointments up, it might really help.

I've found that it helps to write yourself a script in notepad before you make any phone call at all. I put the phone number at the top of the document, and even go as far as writing down the "Hi, I'm _______, my general practitioner is __________ and I'm calling because I need to speak to him/her about getting a referral to a specialist about _________." I also make a note before I even call about what days of the week and what times I am available so that when they ask me, I have an answer and I don't have to fumble around with my phone calendar getting increasingly more anxious the longer it takes to get my shit together. I find that even if they ask you questions that you weren't prepared for and didn't write any notes for end up being easier to answer than I imagined them to be because you're in the moment the kind of questions they tend to ask on the phone are very straight-forward, one-answer type deals.

I put off seeing someone for a formal ADHD diagnosis for years because I was terrified of it, and the only thing that spurred me into taking that leap was having a kid and suddenly realizing that if I didn't get my shit together for her we'd all be living in an endless pile of dirty laundry and dishes. Seeing someone for a formal diagnosis so i could begin my medical transition was similar, in that my husband convinced me that a transitioned parent who was happy was better for our kid than a closeted one who is miserable all the time. I know it feels like a lot of pressure when you think you HAVE to do something for someone else, but framing it as 'i deserve to be the best me I can, and advocating for myself and my health is important' can make a difference if you want it to. :)