My Experience With Anxiety

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So life's been extremely busy, things have happened, and in the end it makes me want to rant a little about life and my experiences with anxiety and how I struggle with it.  This may turn out to be a lengthy post, and I apologize if it is, but I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

First, I want to start by talking about the surface, or the exterior impression I give.  Obviously, I put myself out there.  I make videos for some 200+ people to watch on the internet.  I'm very comfortable online as I feel like, even if there are people out there judging me, I can't necessarily see their un-supportive looks while they're doing so.  On the internet, I feel as if I'm free to be who I want to be without having to make awkward chit chat, or misinterpret situations.

I know that every once in a while, everyone suffers from anxiety.  It's something that everyone deals with in their own special ways.  I mean, I have normal anxieties just like anyone else.  Tests, projects, jobs, things like that.  But the main focus of my writing today would be the social kind.  The kind that, when I mention it to people, no one seems to understand.

I'm not sure exactly when it started, but for as long as I can remember I've been unable to deal with social situations in which I'm unfamiliar with more than a few people in attendance.  I guess I'm going to start with a few examples and try to explain how I feel when put into those situations.  Let's start with something easy, like getting on public transportation, walking into a classroom late, entering a full establishment.  No matter how unrealistic it is, I get this unrealistic feeling as if everyone is looking at me.  I'm the center of attention, and people are staring (even when that's not the case) which causes me to become extremely uncomfortable and like there's this ball of anxiety in my chest.

Anyway, when I started school back in September, and even now, I find myself walking around campus with my eyes focused on the ground in front of me.  When I enter a class, I choose the closest seat I possibly can to the exit, I feel that once I've sat down there's no longer any focus on me.  I recall that incredibly anxious pit in my chest my first month of school.  Hell, even writing about these experiences has my anxiety levels extremely high.

Now, when it comes to meeting people new.  Whether I want to be friends with them, or even if I'm romantically interested in them, things get one hundred times more difficult.  Due to my lack of experience with social communication, I'm unsure how to act with others or even how to read social cues that most feel are extremely obvious.

Another very important part to this story is my need to plan.  When something is sprung onto me, I simply can't just accept it.  Like if someone tries to plan something with me for the following day, generally the anxiety I experience from this is really high.  I like the security of planning days in advance and having a solid plan.  

I have had people tell me, they'll help me work on this.  And it's extremely frustrating, while I know that they mean well and all they want to do is help, it's not necessarily that easy.  I mean, I know that I have to work on the issue to improve the situation, but it's really just not that easy.  I can't just pick up and change the way that I look at things.  I can't simply acquire all these social experiences and gain courage to go out and be ok.

I know that to acquire these experiences, I need to step out of the box I've created for myself and push my limits.  Now, I've tried doing just that, but even one experience is enough to exhaust me for days on end, leaving me unable to try again for some time.  Even thinking about these situations, past and possible, I'm getting extremely uncomfortable.

I guess I just want to end this by saying, these situations are different for everyone.  Everyone deals with anxiety in a different manner.  Telling them that they can simply work on it to make it better isn't helping.  Maybe offer to help them, ease them through it, ask them how you can do that while still keeping them comfortable.  When people don't understand these things about me, they tend to just leave.  I know it's not the norm, but it's the life I live and I'm making the best of it.  I'm working with what I've got.

I've acknowledged the situation and I WANT to change that, I'm just stuck in this vicious cycle of not knowing how to fix it, not having the courage to try and fix it, and just having no one willing to help me through this difficult time.

Sorry this was crazy long.  Thank you for reading <3

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7 February 2015 at 19:36 delete

As someone who has had anxiety issues for most of my life, I recognize these experiences. This post wasn't all encompassing by any means, but I know so many people who have similar issues, and it's so frustrating to try to deal with. I appreciate the candor and sheer honesty that has been presented, and I hope that many more people get to see this. It's a dirty look into what life is for some people, and it's nice to see it typed out for everyone to see.

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