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Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

help-child-social-anxiety-coping-strategies-fears-afraid-quoteIt’s amazing how the human brain, well at least my human brain works.  Last night was my works auction.  For the last few years I have left the auction in a puddle of emotions.  Some bad, most good, all overwhelming.  So, here’s the thing for any newbies to reading my blog, not that anyone actually reads it – sorry that’s that that stupid brain of mine – I have anxiety.  Over the past four years or so I have become much more willing to talk about that…well in writing at least.  I am also an extreme introvert with some pretty gnarly social anxiety.  Once I get comfortable with people those issues greatly diminish and people forget that with new people, or busy environments I struggle a lot.  I don’t know how to interact in party situations, I literally don’t know how to make small talk, and I can’t get my brain to relax and stop second guessing myself and worrying about what all those people are thinking about me to just settle in,relax, and enjoy.

So, all of this leads to the realities of me in a room full of 90 people (or so I was told), mostly people I don’t know with the exception of my fellow teachers (whom I’m generally comfortable with) and a handful of parents (brain in overdrive to not say something utterly stupid or awkward).  As I wander the silent auction trying to find someone to interact with, without interrupting or intruding on another’s conversations; without trying to cling to my fellow teachers like the social looser I am, I am beyond uncomfortable and can feel the anxiety growing to insane levels. Thankfully it’s time to sit down, I go to my safe zone, a table full of my friends, the teachers I work with.  But I sit between two conversations, unable or unsure how to enter either, and smile at the person across from me, to far for a conversation and to new to my world for me to know what to say anyway.

It’s a great night in which we raise a remarkable amount of money for the school.  After standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, as the bidding for the item that I am contributing to, I am able to settle in and just enjoy the action and the laughter (our auctioneer is a riot).  Then the auction is over, and the families and church members begin to leave…but that means the hardest part of the evening is starting.  See, every year the auction ends with dancing, crazy wild, fun dancing by the teachers and sometimes a few of the crazier, more amazing parents.

For the last two years an amazing friend (if you read this I love you!), and this year a different one (love you too), has dragged me onto the floor and encouraged me to dance with everyone else, led me and tried so hard to help me be comfortable and have fun with my friends.  Shockingly enough (she says with utter sarcasm) I don’t dance, I haven’t got the foggiest idea how to dance with anyone other than my preschool students.  It’s not because I don’t have rhythm…I’m a musician I have rhythm, I just don’t know what to do with my body.  I 100% don’t want to be seen in that moment where I know I look like a big fat girl who has no clue and looks like an utter freak.

Now I know that these amazing ladies don’t care!  I just don’t know how to shut up that part of my brain, to not worry about what others are thinking, to not worry about how I look, to not worry worry worry…I don’t know how to shut off that anxiety part of my brain that says I look stupid, that everyone is laughing at you.  Even as I am being danced with (one of the event crew was dancing with us and seeing discomfort cane over with Ana I fly kind words and twirled me around the dance floor for a moment) and as am I laughing, and truly having fun, there’s still that niggling voice and those tears of unsurness and embarrassment in my eyes.

I have come a long way in the past four years at fighting all those years of shitty words, those mean and nasty comments, the bullying of my youth, but it’s still a process.  And those voices feed the anxiety, they feed the fear.

There is nothing like feeling overwhelmed, scared, loved, and extremely joyful all in the same moment.  There is nothing like trying to process all of that or trying to explain it all to someone else.

Every years a little easier who knows maybe next year I’ll find a way to just have fun.

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I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of years considering writing this and due to the realities of our world I don’t. I feel the fear that comes with the stigmatization of mental health. I started fighting that fear a few years ago. I finally accepted my own anxiety issues and began admitting them not only to the outside world but more importantly to myself.
You see for a large part of my life as I was growing up my dad tried to get me to admit and seek help. This always caused a battle between us, as my words often offended him as his offended and scared me. He’d label me as depressed, or manic, or he didn’t know what but he saw the struggles. He saw his child who hid from people in a large setting, saw his child who was up and down emotionally, who had a temper that was explosive and got her in trouble. I don’t think he saw the child who was just hurting because of the words she heard from the people in her world.
He didn’t see the child who was effected negatively by always being the new kid. By being the one who didn’t fit in and who was teased mercilessly by the other kids. Whose own friends occasionally got in on the action because that’s the life of a teenager.
As I was growing I heard, accepted, and internalized the wicked and hurtful things that were said to and about me. Those voices, those words became my internal voice. Nearly two decades after those evil words have mostly stopped I still hear them. I hear them in every unanswered text or message. I hear them in the seemingly ignored posts. I hear them when spending time with friends…thinking thinking thinking, second guessing everything I say and do. Wondering if they really want me around or if they’re just pitying me.
Even when being told that I am amazing, that I am loved…I hear the voices telling me this can’t be true. That those saying that just want something from me. A part knows that’s not true but the voices from the past can be so much louder than the ones in the present.
Those voice cause me to be anxious in a crowd. They cause me to be anxious whenever doing anything new. They make me afraid of new people, and old friends, afraid of what they are truly thinking.
They cause issues of depression. They cause me to think that I am worthless and unloved. They cause me to feel like everyone would be better off with out me (a piece of my brain always kicks in right here screaming that the voices lie, it’s quite a battle between the heart and the head). When I make mistakes it’s like I’ve ruined everything and made things 100 times worse than even humanly possible.
I am learning to love myself, I am learning to ignore the voices of my past, the voices that LIE to me. I know that in the moments that the voices are screaming myself doubt becomes trying, but know that I am trying. I am fighting it with all that I have and am and I will win.

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The following started as an e-mail explaining ‘Always Keep Fighting’ to someone I love and in reviewing it I realized that it’s a good explanation to all who’ve asked the question of me as well.  So as a step in helping to remove some of my own fear of the stigma surrounding my own mental health issues and to educate those in my life here goes.  Some of me open to the world…be kind!

I’m writing this in hopes of helping you understand the ‘Always Keep Fighting’ stuff and why it’s so important to me. First, I know that many of my friends and family don’t understand my enjoyment and fascination with the show Supernatural and that’s ok but my interest in “Always Keep Fighting” has nothing to do with my interest in Supernatural. AKF just happens to have been started by one of the stars of the show and was therefore put in my purview. I do find it interesting that my resurgence of interest in the show and entrance into Fandom happened just as the campaign started, I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. But again, the two have nothing to do with each other, other than SPN bringing AKF to light for me.

So what is ‘Always Keep Fighting’ really about? It’s about bringing awareness, and acceptance to the reality of mental health issues, removing the stigma that makes people hide in the corner and not seek help. It’s also become about creating a support network for people who live each day with these battles. Where the campaign started to raise awareness and funding for charity it has turned into a support group and a family of sorts.

As for why it’s important to me… all my life I’ve been told that I was depressed, or manic, or whatever and all my life I’ve fought the people who’ve told me that for so many reasons that I can’t really explain anymore. Long about the time that this campaign began I began to realize that Yes, I do have some issues. At this time I also started to do some true soul searching as to who I am. I am, at my worst, an anxiety ridden mess who can see the worst in any situation. An introvert, who’s shy and extremely unsure of herself, and who has severe social anxiety just to round out the ‘I don’t like people” (not literally) trifecta. Meeting others in this crazy fandom and through the Always Keep Fighting campaign, the AKF Family as it’s lovingly referred, has helped me to accept my own issues and realize that I need to fight through them. It’s also helped me to realize that I am far from alone in these struggles.  And for me that’s not only fighting with the anxiety and mild depression that comes with the Meniere’s, but the Meniere’s itself, and all my other quirks. I’m worth fighting for! When I was little my Dad would strive to comfort my self-hatred by telling me that ‘God don’t make Junk’ and this ‘thing’, this support network, this family had helped me to start believing those words for myself.  They’re there when I’m scared, sad, or panicing necessarily  and unnecessarily.  They help me to remember that I am not alone, I am enough, and to always keep fighting.

If you’re part of my family or my friends and you really don’t understand it that’s fine but please don’t poke fun and please try to accept the AKF idea, because for me as it’s something that is helping me to accept myself, faults and all.  I would also encourage you to ask me more about it, this ‘campaign’ has quickly become and important and formative part of who I am and my work to become a better and more confident version of me.

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