May 9, 2017

Why Anxiety Sucks So Bad

This weekend I was faced with a situation that really got me thinking about others and how others perceive those with mental disorders. Now, I've mentioned my anxiety plenty. And I will admit, my anxiety is self-diagnosed...mostly because (joke's on me) the thought of going to see a doctor about it gives me panic attacks.

But anyway, this weekend I was at a bridal shower, where I sat at a table with some girls I mostly knew, some better than others, some not at all. It was fine. I've learned to be able to handle these types of situations fairly well. But for some reason, Sunday was just not my day and I could feel my anxiety creeping up my spine. I was fully aware of how stand-offish I was being. How little I wanted to talk to anyone, and how I tried to avoid eye contact with almost everyone. The more I became aware of it, the more stressed out it made me trying to not doing it, and it became a vicious cycle. Now, I wouldn't put it past any of those women to have felt like I was being a total bitch or just weird, because the awkwardness I was giving off was severe. And I can't say I would blame them for feeling that way. If I didn't know what I know about anxiety from experiencing it, I would think someone acting that way was a snob, too. But it also has opened up to my eyes to how little people A) probably know about me personally and the reasons why I've never been very open to making new friends, and B) how little people know about social anxiety and other mental disorders.

So I'm here to educate from my personal experience only. You may have felt similar things, and I am: 1. Not a doctor nor trying to make a medical diagnosis.
2. Not making a definitive list of what anxiety is.
3. hoping this doesn't alienate me from anyone. I am not shaming anyone, just explaining my behavior if you happened to be one of those people present at the bridal shower.

Anxiety to me is like this:

  • Know that feeling when you saw a spider on your bed and you didn't catch it before it ran away, so now you know it's crawling around your bed somewhere and you can't sleep until you find it. That's how I feel on a daily basis. That skin crawling anxious feeling like something bad is about to happen.
  • When I am in a crowded room, concert, fair, etc. Anywhere there are big crowds, I get the same feeling except heightened. It becomes unbearable when I feel like I can't hear my own thoughts, my breathing gets heavier and I start to feel dizzy. Large crowds where people are standing on top of me and all I can hear are other people's conversations make me want to run outside or away from the area just to breathe.
  • On the same token, if there are too many conversations going on at one time, I feel completely overwhelmed and can't focus. 
  • Coming home every day is like a weight off of my shoulders. Sitting down on the couch or my bed is how I am able to recharge and breath. I would rather stay home every night than have a million friends and go out all the time.
  • I trust few people because I feel like explaining these things to others is overwhelming and like people won't understand. 
  • Running late for anything makes me panic, so I am 10-15 mins early for almost everything in which I panic inside for being so early and looking stupid.
  • Not having an appropriate outfit picked out ahead of time for an event or for work is impossible because if I show up wearing something that makes me stick out like a sore thumb, I can feel myself getting anxious and wanting to leave.
  • Any and all small talk is painful to me. I can't make eye contact and I run out of things to talk about after 30 seconds. I end up sounding self-centered for not asking questions about the person I'm talking to and only talking about myself. I just honestly freeze up and don't know what to say.
  • For those that I make true connections with, they are all the more meaningful to me. If I can find a friend that I feel truly comfortable around, I will be loyal to a fault with them. It's rare that I find that.
Those are just a few examples. And you may turn around and say I'm a total weirdo. And that's okay. I get it, not everyone will understand what it is like. But if you think I'm a flake, am awkward, am a bitch, am snobby...please know, I'm not. Awkward might be the most relevant of those. But I'm just overwhelmed. I'm lucky enough that I'm OK laughing at myself. It's how I personally cope with it.

Do you have any awkward traits that you feel like make others perceive you differently? 

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