Amazing that Thanksgiving is already over and Christmas is on its way. Thanksgiving went pretty well for me–I got through moments of social anxiety and enjoyed the day to the best of my ability. The social anxiety bothers me, though. I spend days and days thinking about how great Thanksgiving (or any other major event for that matter) will be and then when the day comes I feel like hiding. One of my mistakes, of course, is blowing up the holiday to be something grand that it can never end up being. However, on the flip side of that, I am glad that I have such positive feelings and emotions as of late. The thing I can’t seem to control is the anxiety that I feel around even close friends and family members.
I have brought up this issue with my therapist and doctor before but it hasn’t been resolved. I have a therapy appointment tomorrow and I’m feeling desperate. This is a time to bring all of this up.
I remember a time when I didn’t have bothersome social anxiety; this changed into the 2nd year of my Bachelor’s degree. All of a sudden it seemed that the negative social interactions and negative feelings I had about myself meshed together and turned into a vicious social anxiety beast.
Most of my life I have been considered pretty outgoing, but the stressful social situations that have helped shape my anxiety actually started when I was young. I was often embarrassed by my stepdad and/or his friends for amusement. I had a lot of negative interactions with my parents and some family members. Throughout school, I had a lot of “haters” too. I had girls spread countless rumors around about me in middle school. Once my depression set in about a year later, I started to think everyone was talking about me. I was a very paranoid 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grader. The haters continued in high school—I was accused of being a slut, of lying, of manipulating, you name it. When I started dating my now husband back in 2007, a girlfriend of one of his fellow band members told me that because I had broken up with and “hurt” one of her friends in high school, that I “better not hurt anyone this time or else”. This girlfriend terrorized me the entire time my husband was in the band. She watched my every move, criticized me if I didn’t behave as she wanted me to, and I was made to feel “small” in her presence. To make it worse, during that period I was quite manic. I felt like I was in a whirlwind and I don’t know what kind of affect that had on me in addition. All I know is that my self-esteem and sense of social anxiety hit an all-time low after that time in my life.
I hate living like this. I am pretty good about putting a smile on my face and making everyone think that I feel and am normal as can be, but I don’t feel it inside me. I live with stomach aches and sweating and nervousness and hot flashes and unintentional avoidance every single day in some capacity. I don’t want to be around anyone half the time, but at the same time I realize how vital it is. I think that if maybe I would allow myself to get out a little more and put me in some anxiety provoking situations that maybe I would feel better in the long run. However when you’re mostly depressed or anxious all of the time it is easy to just want to escape from those feelings any moment that you can. I just try to run away from my feelings when I’m not at work. I think it’s becoming a problem but I have no idea how to fix it and I don’t talk about it because I fear that no one will be able to help. It is quite a crappy feeling to be afraid to call your friends, to be afraid to have family dinners, to be afraid to go to work every day. I feel like I’m just getting by in life, and yes, I have mentioned that I have had a lot of positive feelings lately, but I have a long way to go. The anxiety gives me depression and I have got to minimize the anxiety provoking thoughts I have in order to get better. I really need to get serious at my therapy appointment tomorrow and try to nip the strong effects of anxiety I’m experiencing in the bud.
What do you think about the anxiety that I am experiencing? Do you think it’s something that can be fixed? What treatment plans have worked for you?
Hope you all had a nice holiday.