Thursday, June 10, 2010

On My Own

I've talked about my anxiety pretty openly here before. I have an extremely hard time doing a lot of the everyday things that a normal person would take for granted. If I'm feeling lazy and want to order a pizza for the family for dinner, my husband has to make the call. If I've somehow forgotten to pay a bill and am in a time pinch when it comes to avoiding late fees either Mike calls the payment in or I pay it online. If I need to run into Wal-Mart or the grocery store for milk or other daily necessities Mike will either stop on his way home from work and pick the item up or I'll uproot my entire family and we'll all go to the store together because I can't be alone in such a populated place. I have very few real life friends because I physically cannot put myself out there in order to make more and I avoid social situations where there will be people that I don't know like the plague. There's more, but I think that maybe you get the idea. This sucks.

My husband is so incredibly supportive, and I'm thankful each and every day for it, because each and every day this anxiety affects me and in turn affects the daily habits of my family. Brayden is starting to get to the age where he'll whine about having to leave behind his toys and video games to make a family trip to the store, something that he really shouldn't have to be subjected to in the first place. Gage is just happy to be where I am. Everyday this is what it's like, seeing how I'm crippling myself and causing others around be to format to my idiosyncrasies.

Believe it or not though, I used to be an outspoken social butterfly. I'm not sure what happened to change that, but I desperately miss that girl. I need to get some part of her back into my life. I think that's what I was originally attempting to do when I started this blog. I found myself a somewhat self means of self expression, which has truly been like therapy to me, and while I do have to find myself accountable here and as much as I try to convey the person that I am, am I not just once again hiding, this time behind a computer? The pressure of physical connection isn't there. There are no reactions in blog-land, no uncertainty, no awkward first impressions. If you don't like what I'm saying, you simply click right on through. And up until now, this was suiting me just fine.

I don't feel as if I'm hiding myself from any of you anymore, because what I put here on my blog is real. It's me. And 156 people have decided that they find what I have to say as relevant, and it's because of that love and acceptance that I feel empowered to post these personal posts here. I may not know most of you all in person, but you are all most defiantly my friends, those that comment, those that lurk, those that follow, those that subscribe, and those that come back for more. I love you all, truly I do.

Lately I've been making a very real and very honest attempt to step outside of my comfort zone integrate myself into a world that I've been viewing from the outside for far too long now. I've joined my church contemporary choir, which sings at the weekend services once a month and rehearses in between. And my church is by no means small. It's a populated place that also shows it's services on public cable television. So I'm quite literally singing to thousands of people. It was terrifying. Now it's normal. I've also been trying to be more active in terms of associating with my friends. Where as before I would politely decline invites that included being around a lot of people I'm now accepting, and having so much fun as a result. I know that my steps are small, but to me they are mighty.

I'm still socially awkward, and will probably always be so, but now I'm starting to function on my own in situations where I would normally hide behind someone else. It's a steep hill and I'm climbing it slowly, but at least I'm headed in the right direction. And I'm doing it all on my own.


Stunning said...

Good for you for being so very open about your anxiety.

Have you ever thought about counseling? Or seeing a therapist? There is no shame in seeking help for yourself.

ElegantSnobbery said...

Oh Amanda, you are so brave for sharing your story!! You know I relate SO MUCH!! But I'm not half as brave as you when it comes to sharing!!

Thanks for this post! Such a wonderful reminder that I'm not alone in my disorder. And you are SOOO brave (I know I said that, but its true)

Chana said...

Okay, so we ARE more alike than I realized. I too, suffer from anxiety! And I too, came to the land of the bloggers searching for connections I wasn't able to create in the real world due to my issues. THANK YOU for sharing this! I don't know if you realize how many of us will relate and totally understand!

AlyGatr said...

You are so brave Amanda. It's hard to share these feelings and you really put it on the line. I wouldn't say I'm the kind of person who is socially anxious, but I'm more of one of those weirdo loners who desperately wants to be accepted and have friends :) I'm glad you are pushing your comfort zone...and that you are singing in your choir. How awesome!!

Christopher And Tia said...

Anxiety is such a hard thing to deal with. I have a mild case of it as well, but nothing to that extent. I can relate to you. In a different way, but- what you wrote speaks to me.

Its so nice, that you've made this a comfortable place for yourself. Its nice that what you write is real.

kelli g. { bug miscellany } said...

Thank you for sharing this. I know it couldn't have been easy, but it's very inspiring to read.
I developed some pretty serious anxiety issues while living abroad, which I'm still working on to this day. It was very difficult, and I felt very embarrassed. I've come a long way, but I wonder if I'll ever be the carefree person I was before. Anyway, it's always nice to know you're not completely alone. And bravo for taking those steps -- I found the first one so very, very hard to take. I'm so glad I did, and I hope you feel the same.

The Paper Mama said...

I had some very hard anxiety issues in College. With time... and some drugs... it got better. :)

Now I'm dealing with some postpartum. I'd love to be brave like Dooce or You to talk about it. But, I haven't yet. Maybe I will. I'm sure there's a ton of support out here.

Good job on your little baby steps. It's a process.

Nen said...

I don't mean to sound like a fanatic... but the devil has a hold on you. And the more you try to step out in confidence, the more he is going to try to pull you back down (hence the anxiety attack at choir practice). It may be a big step... but perhaps there is a prayer group at your church who would be willing to get in there and lay hands on you in prayer. You don't have to deal with it on your own! I will be praying for you!!!

Alicia said...

I can relate...and can feel for you. You are brave and strong though for sharing this weakness. I have a hard time being this open on blog.

P.S one night my hubby was out late, I wanted to order pizza. I actually called my mom who was in Canada...I was living in Pennsylvania. I asked my Mom if she would order the pizza for me from her home up there. I was to nervous to do it myself. :)