Monday, March 14, 2011

Dealing With Anxiety, Pt. 2


Towards the end of January, I posted the first part of this series. Basically, I talked about the little things that were happening in my life that made me believe I was dealing with One Big Problem. Since then, I’ve been very hesitant to continue with this series. I’ve never been diagnosed and most of what I believe about myself regarding anxiety is from what I’m reading on websites. Some days, I feel as if I’m dealing with anxiety and need to seek help to conquer it…and other days, I feel as if I’m only dealing with a severe case of introvertedness. (<—not a word.)

But the fact remains that there’s something going on. And I need to figure out what it is before it consumes my entire life.

After searching for a while, I fell on this website. Every scenario outlined, I found myself nodding my head to and agreeing with. Yes, that’s me. Yes, exactly. Yes, I know that feeling. At that point, it seemed as if it was all coming together. I had a name: Social Anxiety Disorder. Better than a name, I had a reason for the way I was. This wasn’t something I needed to get over and grow up from. This was the way my mind is programmed. There is a reason behind my weirdness. But as much as I nodded my head and agreed, as I continued reading, my stomach began to churn. I began to question if this was really me. Is this the person I’ve become? So afraid of my environment, so fearful of being judged? This can’t be me! I lead a pretty full life of college and work and hanging out with my… mom.

I borrowed a book from the library last month about Social Anxiety. And while some parts made me tear up that finally, someone is talking about all those things I’ve dealt with, there were parts that didn’t seem to completely fit me. But then again, maybe they do.

Many Social Anxiety sufferers can’t hold a job. I can, but I struggle with taking initiative, fearful of stepping on toes or having someone tell me I’m doing it the wrong way.

Many Social Anxiety sufferers can’t go out to social scenes. I do, but I am very careful to create an environment where I am comfortable. I will take a friend or my mom along. If all else fails, I will sit in a corner, trying to look busy on my phone, making sure I send off enough danger vibes to keep everyone away.

Many Social Anxiety sufferers develop a fear of intimacy. I can agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I shy away from any guy who tries to show me attention. I’ve never had a typical guy-girl relationship. While I know so many people who are afraid to be alone, I worry I’m this strange girl who actually fears being with someone. There are days I long to have a partner in life and days when I think life is just easier solo.

Many Social Anxiety sufferers have a fear of public embarrassment. This is actually a pretty normal fear, especially stage fright, and it’s never been enough to take over my life. I’ve made speeches to classes and even did student teaching, where I was constantly judged by more experienced teachers. Maybe it’s completely normal, but I find myself start blushing, grow hot, and feel shaky whenever I’m put on the spot. I seem to forget my entire vocabulary and lose trains of thoughts justlikethat. Whenever I was student teaching, I was constantly stumbling over words and leaving long pauses when I knew my teachers were watching me. I feel like this is a normal reaction, though, so it’s never been something I’ve worried too much about. But maybe there’s more to this than I realized.

And there are other symptoms I deal with:

  • Avoiding plans with friends because I’m worried about how they will judge me or laugh at me, for silly things I might say.
  • Feeling as if my heart is going to beat out of my chest when I have to call someone, even if it’s just a simple call to my grandparents.
  • Not being able to successfully live on campus by myself. I came home every weekend, and ended up moving back after my freshman year. I didn’t like the social atmosphere and found it extremely hard to make friends.

While I don’t feel as if I have an extreme case of Social Anxiety, there is something going on. It could end up being an extreme case of being an introvert. I honestly don’t know. But as I read up on it, it becomes apparent that all these things I thought just added to my weirdness, are actually symptoms of Social Anxiety. It just feels nice to put a name to it all.


  1. I suffer from anxiety problems, too, recently diagnosed as plain old Generalized Anxiety Disorder. All of these things apply, to varying degrees, especially fear of intimacy & social scenes, "little" things like phone calls & having panic attacks about insignificant things that are not panic-attack-worthy. It's difficult, & it feels like there's no defined way to deal with it, but I'm working on it, with medication & therapy. I blogged about it awhile back, too. Hope you find something that works for you.

  2. Yikes. A lot of these are me. Not all of them... obviously I'm married so I've been able to maintain that relationship. And for some totally weird reason I love public speaking.

    But otherwise... these are all me. At least we're not alone.

  3. I think if it's affecting your life or what you WANT to be's def a problem! I hope you can get some help on it!

  4. p.s. at some point you just have to say 'screw it' and be yourself and do what you want ;)

  5. I totally relate to the turning red when I'm put on the spot. I blush and turn red SO EASILY it's awkward. Haha.

    I'm glad you're doing more research on this and figuring out what's going on with you! I think that will be the first step to getting past this anxiety. XO

  6. I honestly can relate to a few of those things myself, but like you, I feel like a lot of it is severe introvertedness (I'm using your made up word). I don't know if it's just because I am a creature of habit, but sometimes when I really don't want to do something (like say go out, or go to school because I can't bear to face the day) that's the push I need to actually do whatever it is I want to do. I use my negative feelings as fuel and try turning them into positive experiences.

    Anyways, it's definitely a good thing that you're doing research about it but if you feel like it's getting out of hand, you should absolutely see about getting properly diagnosed- that's not a bad thing and it may benefit you in the long run.


  7. I can relate to a few but I think it all has to do with growing into yourself.

  8. Well good for you for researching, reading up, and finding out more about how you feel, the causes, and similar cases. It's crazy how all sorts of different reasons cause different people anxiety. I'm a sufferer of General Anxiety, more from overwhelming myself with too many tasks, particularly socially, it just causes me to break down. Definitely try and find a professional to whom you can talk about these anxieties, it's really helpful to learn different ways to deal with these feelings and how to overcome them. Anxiety is a tough issue but an almost normal one, every person is so different but deals with the feelings at some point in time. Hang in there, don't let a silly disorder define who you are, there's always time to change things you don't like :)

  9. I'm so happy you found something that seems to "click" with you. I know what it's like - you want so badly to just say "okay, it's this" so you can move forward. But I always keep in mind that everyone's anxiety is different and so you might not necessarily fit neatly into one category or another.

    In general, I feel like the best solution is to talk to a professional because they understand that anxiety can vary amongst different people. (And yes, this is all advice I should be following too - I'm the worst at giving advice to others but not following it myself.)

  10. Reading absolutely everything you said is something I've identified with. I remember seeing a therapist for the first time I realised "something was up", and she pulled out a book called "Dying of Embarrassment" - basically talking about social anxiety disorders. There was a list pretty similar to everything you just mentioned, and I remember reading it, and promptly bursting into tears because every single one of them described me perfectly. The good news? Once what's going on has a label, you can choose to peel it off. And I know you can totally do it :)

  11. You definitely are not alone and these are things that many people struggle with - they just don't talk about it because there is still such a stigma around saying that you struggle w/ anxiety or depression or other things like that. I think it's so brave of you to share this with us! Keep on keeping on, my dear! I thikn the first step is being aware of it!

  12. that's one of the issues with the classification system, it can be very broad. luckily, you don't have to have every symptom to have a label and a proper treatment approach. i hope reading all that info helped more than it hindered *hugs*


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