Panic? Me? Nah!

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~Leo Buscaglia

Anxiety has posed a problem for me for a long time.  I have felt anxiety for a lot longer than I have depression, but it has not always been to the point of rendering me useless.  I used to be able to use it to my advantage, now it interferes with my life.

After I got married in 2003, my husband and I packed up my stuff and we moved to the military base he was at in California.  We are both from Texas, our families are in Texas, so this was a big move for me.  I had not lived on my own until that point, so things were changing.  I knew a couple of his friends out here, but I did not have any of my own.  I wanted new friends, but I have always had a hard time making them.  I am kind of shy around people I do not know, and sometimes that comes off as being snobby.

After living there for a little while, I found myself avoiding places that would require me to be social.  Husband would ask me to go to his friends homes, and meet their wives and hang out.  I would agree, and then as time moved closer to us heading over, I would start to panic.  I felt anxious, and thought about things like whether or not they would like me, what if I came off as a dork, etc.  Silly things really, but I seem to care about what others think.  These feelings would get to the point of me crying about not wanting to go, which sounds like a tantrum a child would have, but it wasn’t like that.  I would sometimes pick a fight with my husband so I could have an excuse for not going.  It was overwhelming, and always ended in me not going, and staying home alone because I had convinced him to just go without me.  As time went on, I stopped getting so anxious about social situations, at least enough for me to be capable of going without freaking out.  I still get nervous and feel the anxiety, but it’s not overwhelming anymore.  I still cling to husband’s side in new situations, but I think having a buffer is better than just not being there.

At two different points in our time here, I had volunteered to be a “Key Volunteer,” or a KV.  These were spouses who volunteered to relay information passed down from the command about the goings on with our husband’s while deployed or training.  I often wonder why I agreed to this, seeing as how I have had a record of social anxiety.  As a KV, I was required to call the other wives within my husband’s company, and pass along information.  This was almost impossible, as I get anxiety when I have to talk on the phone.  I get hot and sweaty, uncomfortable, and my body hurts.  I would make the calls as fast as I could, and would have to sometimes take a shower after because of the sweat.  My body would hurt, and I would be so exhausted that I wouldn’t do much of anything for the rest of the day.  I eventually quit the KV thing.  It was too much for me to handle.  Even today, I avoid talking on the phone as much as possible.  I am not sure why I have such problems in social situations.  Maybe it’s a fear of rejection, or a fear of embarrassment.  I am not really sure why, but it’s not the only anxiety I have experienced.

Since kiddo was born, I have wanted to go back to school.  It’s really important to me to finish and get my degree, but I have had an incredibly hard time knowing what I want to do, and committing to something.  I sign up for something, and then as time gets closer to starting, the anxiety kicks in.  I start thinking of all the negatives that could happen, and then I start feeling pain, and then a feeling of no control.  Am I doing the right thing?  Am I studying the right thing?  What if I fail, or what if I pass but just barely?  It gets so bad that I just end up dropping out, which makes the feelings go away.  I have signed up to study medical billing and coding, sonography, psychology, social psychology, and now geography.  I know I am smart, I have always done well in school.  In high school I was in the top 10% of my class, a Texas Scholar, and in the Honor Society.  I know I can accomplish my goals, I just can’t get past the anxiety barrier.  This past spring I was enrolled to study Social Psychology.  I dropped because of my anxiety.  I got overwhelmed before it even started, and came up with several excuses for wanting to drop.  Now I am enrolled at the same university, but now I am studying Geography.

I just had an epiphany.  It’s weird how that happens when I am writing a blog entry, as it’s not the first time.  I have just realized why I switched my major to geography, and why I am not the least bit scared or worried about it.  I love geography, always have.  However, I have always found it easy to study.  Maybe it’s because of my enjoyment in it, or maybe it’s because it’s just an easier subject.  Either way, I have no anxiety about it.  Maybe the reason I dropped Social Psych, even though I wanted to help people with depression, was because I felt so strongly about wanting to help people,  I had a fear of failure and not being able to be awesome at something I really wanted to do.  Or maybe I just really like geography, and know I can be awesome at it, and the reason it’s easy for me is because I enjoy it so much.  Now I am confused.

Anxiety hurts, much like depression.  Anxiety can also go along with depression, which can make the pain hurt more.  It’s hard to deal with, and it’s definitely something I need to mention at my next doctor’s appointment.

If you feel anxiety, how do you deal with it?

 

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2 thoughts on “Panic? Me? Nah!

  1. I completely understand what you are saying. I suffer with anxiety and sometimes I could stand up and speak to a room full of a hundred people without batting an eyelid. Other days the thought of even picking up the phone fills me with dread. Keep posting and take care.

  2. How do I deal with anxiety? For years I didn’t — now I’m medicated :).

    I’m looking for blog posts where I talk about anxiety directly, but frankly pretty much everything I write has a hint of it in it.

    This one talks about ritual/OCD: http://jamesostafford.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/27-ive-been-trying-to-get-a-message-through-the-air-to-you/

    And this one does a bit: http://jamesostafford.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/19-who-can-go-the-distance/

    And some babble about depression: http://jamesostafford.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/loose-nut/

    Keep up what you’re doing. Sometimes the best cure for getting rid of the anxiety boogeyman is to expose him to the light of day.

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