When you were young, did you worry about fitting in?  Or were you one of the popular kids?  Did you wear the right clothes, listen to the right music, and have cool parents?  Did you get bullied but were unable to defend yourself?

As an adult, have you ever offered someone encouragement only to be left wondering whether they appreciated your sincerity?  Have you ever disclosed something personal to someone only to feel a sense of panic afterwards?  Have you felt uncomfortable around others because you weren’t sure about fitting in?

I was so painfully shy growing up.  I still suffer from social anxiety.  Logically, I know I shouldn’t feel this way but I can’t help it.  It’s the emotions I can’t control sometimes.  It’s the worry and fear.  It’s a feeling of insecurity.  Everyone else is more qualified.  Everyone is more experienced.  Everyone is more intelligent.  And everyone is more deserving.  Any second everyone will see through me as if they have faker-vision (x-ray vision for phonies).

When the anxiety takes hold, it starts out as a strong feeling that something bad is going to happen.  I can’t tell you what I think will happen but it feels like impending doom.  The fight or flight instinct wants to take over and make me run far, far away from the danger.  Goodness knows, I am not a fighter so that isn’t an option.  Nowhere is safe from anxiety; the panic takes over and the physical feelings intensify even more.  Breathe deeply.  Close your eyes for a few minutes.  Relax your body.  It’ll go away… it’ll go away.  It may subside but it never goes away.  I’m always on alert.  Always ready for that doom to actually take place.  It takes every bit of energy from me.  It sucks out the life from my body and leaves me exhausted.  You’d think sleep would offer a reprieve… but my brain cannot slow down.  It races with worry and won’t stop.  It takes hours to finally fall asleep.  Waking doesn’t offer any sense of renewal.  After so much deprivation, I’m a walking zombie.  Each of my senses is on overdrive.  Noise is overwhelming and physically painful.  Light is too intense.  My body aches and no touch is soothing.  Even taste and smell are often too pungent and bitter.  I long for solitude and quiet.  If only I could cry and release some of the pressure but experience tells me that crying is too painful and doesn’t offer relief.  My tolerance is non-existent and I distrust everyone and everything.  Life this way is not fun at all.  I am too tired to concentrate and I worry that my work is suffering. 

And the cycle repeats itself.

One Response

  1. But of course everyone is better, prettier, thinner, more educated, better dressed, of course. Look at the world around us, how many people are identical or even look alike? And what about those who think that we are the ones above?

    Denise, when the world was created there were Saint Bernards and Chihuahuas on the list, and guess what? they are still here. When you feel anxiety such as this stop yourself, and I mean this literally. Get up if you are in bed and do something else, go stamp, make a charm, create your art, don’t let the fear control you. You are in charge of your emotions. They may get away from you here and there, but believe me, you have the power to make that anxiety if not to go away, at the very least to keep it at bay.

    The secret is to have a good memory. As in only remembering the good things about yourself. You are a good mother, a good wife and a good friend. You have a garden you care for and that depends on you for nourishment. As do your pets. You are the only Denise like you in the whole wide Universe. Think about that. How can you compare yourself to anyone else giving that you are the only one of your kind? Make a list of the things that move you away from that feeling. And work on those one at a time. Volunteer your time – if you have any left after those classes -to St. Vincent’s or to Our House, any place where people may need help and where your time and your presence would always be an appreciated gift.

    You will be surprised what an effective tool giving of your time can be to fight anxiety. We all have moments where that “certain, imminent doom” is hovering about us and above our heads. Get your mind’s windows open and out with it. You can do it. I know you can. Ask for a hug at home, maybe five minutes away from your desk at work, go to the bathroom and wash your face, anything that will take your attention away from that feeling.

    And think of a good thing, just one that you have done for someone else. But above all remember there is only one of you, no one in this world can be fairly compared to anyone else. And fairness is what this is all about. If you don’t fit in with one group, likelihood is that you will with another. If one dress doesn’t fit another will, make it all a matter of
    “worth”. Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing, Oscar Wilde said. You be the one who knows the value of everything about Denise and let Ms. Anxiety figured the price.

    Hugs from someone who thinks you are tops, who hopes you can make it for the high Tea for Kecia April 6th here at home, and please remember that we are important to some people and completely unknown to the rest. Same as they are with us. Butterflies do not fly with bold eagles but bold eagles don’t fly with butterflies either. It is a matter of choice as each has the power to fly. Be a butterfly. I know you can do it.


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