Here I am almost 40yrs old and still dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder. I realize that finding the root cause of my anxiety is the first major step in overcoming it. My anxiety started when I was about 12 and started viewing myself differently. I didn’t like my smile or my voice and I felt I was too skinny. My self esteem became very low and I often compared myself to others. I was in honor classes but would never like to read in class because I felt people would see all my imperfections. Whenever they called on me, I struggled through darn-near severe panic attacks; voice cracking and all. It was humiliating and I started avoiding it any time I could. At the age of 14, my father disowned me. He was the only light in my dark low esteem world and I was always daddy's little girl up until then. But because he didn’t want to continue paying child support for, he actually told me "you are not mine." It devastated me to the core. It was the ultimate rejection that just added fuel to my already damaged esteem; I wasnt even good enough for my father to want. He spent the next few years of his life totally ignoring me. I started writing to express myself and hid how I felt to others. About 10 yrs ago I decided it was time to address it so I did small things to face my fears. Being a writer opened up many doors for me, I started a magazine that inspires others but when I was asked to come speak to people about it, I declined. Surely, I couldn’t let them see my struggles. I would do things to face my fears and my voice cracked a little so it would discourage me. I hold meetings at work with no problem but something as simple as introducing myself can set off anxiety. I've learned that doing self-talk helps. I never wanted to get on medication so I did/do a lot of reading on the subject and the biggest way to overcome this type of anxiety is to face your fears. You may have to take baby steps; each day try to do one thing that you normally wouldn’t do. I have come a LONG way from where I started but I have a ways to go. Just recently I decided to start openly talking about my battle with Social Anxiety to my friends and anyone who would listen. I noticed that being able to openly address your issues allows others to understand what you're going through and it also gives you an opportunity to help others. I want to one day be able to talk in front of an audience about my struggles to overcome Social Anxiety. But...I can’t do that until I actually overcome it... and I'm only halfway there! I'll keep you posted on my progress. Until then.... stay inspired. ~Cherokee Blues
"Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are too busy living our fears." Les Brown
Recently, I started blogging about my social anxiety disorder. I also started posting some original songs online.
My original thought - YIKES!
As someone who has suffered from severe social anxiety disorder since the age of 10, the idea of blogging about it seemed like an interesting dillemma. Yes - I would love to get my story out there, if only because I myself would have gained a lot from reading it when I was younger. But No - I can't put myself out there, everyone will judge me, and who am I to think that anyone will care, people will just think I'm full of it and be annoyed.
At the end of the day, probably very few people will even know that it's out there. Yes, a lot of my friends have been suddenly enlightened to the fact that this disorder even exists, but on the upside, they now understand why I usually have an excuse not to go to their parties, and maybe, just maybe one or two of them have recognised the same traits in themselves and may look at others in a new light.
I am a singer, and I love to sing and write music, but until this past month, I have NEVER let anyone hear what I write, let alone put it online for all to access. I guess though, that I've come to a point where I've managed to conquer the worst of the social part of my anxiety (through years of intensive CBT sessions), and am now using blogging as a tool to keep myself moving forward, to chase my dreams and to actually do things that make me happy, and (try) not to care what anyone else thinks. After all, we all have hobbies and weird things that make us happy, so why should I have to keep mine hidden when everyone else is out there doing what they do?
I'm certainly not saying that I intend to be famous - I actually dread that - I think I dread success from my music (and now the little voice in my head is saying - "you narcissistic arrogant girl to even be contemplating such an outcome).
So my blogs on this fabulous site, will be about how I'm coping on my journey to finally achieve my dreams in spite of anxiety and panic.
Would love to have feedback on wether anyone else out there is getting anything postive from what I write, but at the same time, that's not the reason I'm doing this.
I've known you for a really long time now and I have to tell you that I really hate the way you make me feel. I definitely respect the power that you hold but I'm here to tell you that I can't see you as much as I have in the past. It's really time for both of us to move on. Don't be sad, I'm sure that you'll still come and visit but it really has to be on a more limited basis from now on. You see, I've met someone named Happiness and I really like them and how they make me feel. I lose touch with Happiness here and there but I'm going to keep looking for them which means I have to spend less time with you. I've wanted to say this for a long time but finally had the courage to actually say something. Well, take care of yourself and I'm sure you'll be fine because there's more out there for you to see.
Best of luck and remember: Don't call me, I'll call you,
Ok so this is just a small example of what we can do but I honestly think it helps. If I have to write a thousand letters before I feel better, I will do that and I think you would too. It doesn't have to just be a letter to your issue. Write a letter to your family who may not understand the issues you are going through. You don't have to send it to them. Just the fact that you WROTE your feelings down can have a powerful impact. It's something that all of us can control so why not do it? I'll probably have to write this same letter tomorrow and I'll even have days when I don't want to write at all but just know that it is something that we can try to help make things better. Isn't that what we all want?
Fear is a major part of my life. I’m scared to get up, scared to go to work, scared to come home from work, scared to go to sleep and also scared to do everything in between. It’s this fear that causes anger and pain. I know the thoughts I have are irrational and that my mind is playing tricks but the helplessness causes me to mentally “beat myself up” over it.
what is anxiety to me:
It is a pretty standard list, if you search anxiety and depression symptoms you are likely to find all of them listed; except two. Strength and Hope. The reason I have included these will become clear by the end of this blog.
When I have a panic or anxiety attack I always get a pain down my left arm and a crushing feeling in my chest. After being on this site I have found that I am not alone in feeling this pain. However, I am always wary to dismiss it as just an attack as it’s always in my mind that this time it could be an actual heart attack!
One of the main reasons I decided to write this was to push myself. If it embarrasses me, then so be it. There have been many times I have avoided doing things because I was scared of being judged, failing and making an utter fool of myself; but recently I made a conscious choice to do the things I would have shied away from regardless of what anyone may think.
It’s easier said than done.
How will I ever know if I am good at something unless I try it? How will I find something to distract me from being anxious and depressed without giving it a go? I recently saw this quote that sums up what I mean. It is from a man called Fredrick Smith:
“Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try anything.”
I’m often perceived as lazy. This is a tag that annoys me because I do not choose to be, motivation is not something I can control…yet! As sufferers will know, the effort it takes to get up in the morning alone, let alone the strength it takes to make it through the day, is something that many people cannot understand.
This leads me nicely on to Strength and Hope.
If you think of all the energy, strength and effort you put into fighting your symptoms and living a normal life (whatever that is!) shows how amazing we really are and with just a little self-belief we can take control of our lives and not live dictated by the disorder. The strongest people I know are the people who live or have lived with mental health disorders, and that gives me hope for the future.
Dale (profile name Megalatron)
Please feel free to add me or inbox me with feedback or just a chat. No-one has to suffer alone! Also thanks to user kevin88 for drawing my avatar!