Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Me & My Anxiety
There is a common misconception floating around out there in the world that people with anxiety (me) are just naturally nervous people. That could not be more wrong! For 22 years of my life I was incredibly outgoing, social, daring, and full of life. I liked performing in front of huge crowds (I even pranced around in a bikini on a stage in front of hundreds of people, not once, but twice!) and making friends out of total strangers but that all changed when I developed anxiety.
I'm not sure exactly how it happened, if it turned into an issue overnight or if something small festered until it became a huge problem in my life. It's embarrassing to say but I could easily, and very happily, never leave my home again. Being a recluse is not a healthy way of life though so I make every effort I can to talk to smile at strangers in public and answer the door when the mailman brings me a package instead of running and hiding in my closet (okay, so I don't do that with the mailman since he has become part of my routine thanks to all of the deliveries I get, but I do run and hide when it's someone I'm not expecting). It's tough to make the right, healthy choices when you're so tempted to tune out the rest of the world.
My doctor has an interesting theory that my anxiety was formed because my childhood was so wonderful and then I grew up and got out into the real world and realized how imperfect, often terrible, and scary it can be. I'm not sure if I agree with him or not though. Sure, my childhood was amazing and yes, the short time I spent as an adult wasn't ideal but I'm not sure if it was bad enough to make me so scared of so much.
Now I can't go anywhere alone. I'm too scared to be alone in public because I don't want to be forced to interact with someone I don't know or be put in an uncomfortable situation. I don't socialize much as is, so going out to the store is all I have in terms of getting out – do you have ANY idea how hard it is to make friends as an adult who has no job or hobbies outside of the home? I have no clue how to meet people, and even if I did I'm not sure I would want to. I do, though, have a desire for friendship but I'm too scared to do anything about it.
Am I sounding totally insane? I hope not. More often than not I end up feeling ashamed by the things that I write in this blog. I guess ashamed is too strong a word, but I do feel uncomfortable. I'm a strong believer that getting things out and saying them aloud (or typing them out?) is the best way to grow stronger and move on from things that may be holding you back so this is my attempt at becoming less anxious.
I'm going to leave with you one final piece of information: Don't ever crowd someone. You never know who may or may not suffer from anxiety disorder because you can't normally tell just by looking someone. Like all of my illnesses, you cannot see that I have GAD. My Mom and I were out the other day and I started to have a panic attack because a woman was standing a mere inch or two away from me talking loudly into my ear to her friend. I like to call these people space invaders. I have a bubble and I can't tolerate people in my bubble. I moved several times to get away from her and each time she moved with me. I have no clue why this happened but it wasn't a fun experience for me.
Please, for me and all of the estimated 40 million others who suffer from anxiety, do not be a space invader.