Ask Dr. Harley Quinn: How Do I Deal with My Social Anxiety?

Harleen Quinzel

Harleen Quinzel

May 7, 2020


Hey there, puddins! Ever wonder how ta get that crush a’yers ta notice ya? Or how ta get yer folks off yer back? Or how ta make the best breakfast sammich ever?! Harley Quinn here to give you all the AMAZIN’ advice y’been searchin’ for all yer dumbass lives – with the help of my good pals (and the writers of my bestselling comic book) Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti! So go ahead an’ spill all a’ yer troubles in my ongoing Community thread, and maybe I’ll answer YOUR question next in this weekly column. Now let’s see what folks are askin’ this week…




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Rupe, no problem’s ever dumb if it’s something that is givin’ you stress an’ you’re having trouble processing it. The trick with dealing with this is to slow things down and look at what is really happening in the moment. We both know your father’s no longer with us, and sorry for your loss, so the chance he will actually be in any cab is slim to none. I know you know this already, but it has to be said out loud each time. When we stay present with this thought, it makes us easier to face it head on. You’re associating the cab with your father’s anger, so let’s try to dissociate as a way to cope and avoid those negative feelings. By marrying these two things, father and vehicle, it is causing trauma, fear, and anxiety…and at some level there might be an association of shame as well.  As always, I tell people to see a professional, but let’s start with what you can do today. When this is happening to you, when you are triggered, I want you to self –soothe through breathing. This will help calm your nervous system and signal to your brain you are safe. Remember, the feelings you have are a protective response to some kind of trauma on some level. Slowing down and taking a look at what’s really happening helps, as does talking to someone that will listen and understand what you are feeling. It’s why I can only give you quick recommendations, but in the end, if it keeps happening, seek out professional help- and remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Hang in there.






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I’ll tell ya, with my past, the Joker, the stuff I have done, my friends and family and everyone’s constant need to involve me in their problems, it’s not easy, and that’s the truth. Here is what I do and maybe it’ll make some sense to you. I stay present, live in the moment, try not to look back too much at the things I can no longer change, and understand I do have the power to control what I’m doing right now and to plan for my own future. By staying present and in the moment, it helps my concentration and focus, improves my listening and memory skills and sharpens my conflict resolution skills. It’s like when you’re driving, you have to pay attention to not only yourself, but your surroundings and in doing so you can’t afford to have your mind wander on other things. I’ve learned to stay sharp and focused on the things at hand. The other thing that helps is if I have unresolved issues, when I can, I try to drag them out of the darkness and examine them in the light. Take apart what it is that is bothering me and deal with it head on. It’s not easy, but each time I do this, I feel lighter and more positive. Give it a try.






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Time management is a problem for almost everyone. It’s the things we want to do vs. the things we gotta do. What I’ve learned is both things are equally important, which some people might not agree with. My mind needs to play, so I balance it all out by making lists and prioritizing things. I find that less complication and not having 300 things swirling around in my beautiful brain is easier when I make lists. This, and being realistic and acknowledging how longs things take can give you a better blueprint to your day and what you can fit in. Be aware, learn from past mistakes and understand that you are only human [ I think] and there are only so many hours in a day. I will add to that a good diet and getting enough sleep are also keys to making all this happen. And pillows…lots of pillows help.


Now you know my secrets.






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Sean, first off, if this is you talking about yourself, I ‘m sorry for whatever tragedy you are suffering through. I can’t even imagine how that feels for you, but I’ll try my best to give you some ideas on how to deal with it and see if any can make sense for you. Since I do not know the specific tragedy, it’s really difficult to give you specific advice here, so I will give You a general answer and will ask you if this is about you, please seek professional advice and talk with those about what you are feeling with people you trust around you.  If this is about a friend you would like to help, then let’s look at a couple of simple things we can do. Let’s start with treating them with kindness, help the person with something they are having difficulty doing, spend time together by getting them out of the house and moving, listen to them rather than talking at them and maybe looking to see if they have a hobby or enjoy a distraction and do it together. In the end, just make sure they know you care and can be contacted at any time to talk to and listen and really, that’s the best you can do. This is not something that has a quick fix, but something that over time can be slowed down, looked at and eventually it will take a less imperative place in their lives.






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When I was younger, I had the same problem. I was always nervous, second guessing what I should say and when I did say something, immediately felt like what I said was not what I really wanted to say. We all go through this and a lot has to do with dealing with fear and building confidence. These things take a bit of work and time but can be done, so let’s break it down, shall we? First, you have to face the situations, not avoid them. Putting things off has a price. Get in there and try your best to engage, be present and be yourself. Be mindful of what you are saying, do your best to listen to what the other person is saying and not line up your response while they are speaking and last, be vulnerable.  It’s all about interaction and becoming familiar and finding out the things we all have in common. Recognize like you did here that you face more challenges than others and make sure you congratulate yourself as you take small steps to becoming better in these situations. Like everything, it takes a bit of work , but I know you can do it!






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I find the murderous voices in my head are from being Hangry- hungry and angry at the same time, so I calm them down by having a nice meal of my favorite goodies and letting what bothers me sink in as I examine the situation that caused me to get that way in the first place. Time does help in these kinds of situations, so maybe just THINK about the crazy thing you want to do, but react in a kind and loving way. It really does seem to squash others anger pretty quickly and it opens up things to a safer middle ground that features conversation, relating to each other and maybe stronger bonds between you.


I would just envision what you want to be and figure out a clear path to get there that is full of integrity and calm. Sounds easy, right? Remember, these are just words till you get off yer ass and try them, so do me a solid and give it a shot!





Note: The opinions expressed by Harley Quinn are published for entertainment purposes only, and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified professional for your specific needs or concerns.