Friday, May 23, 2014

The monster living in my closet...ANXIETY DISORDER!

To most people I meet I may look like a confident young woman,  yes I said young shhhhh don't tell I'm actually almost 40!  Forty is the new twenty right!?  Now that we got that cleared up, back to the monster in my closet!  Most people who meet me may think I am a confident woman, who is friendly, has a successful marriage, and family, and has everything going for her!  As a young girl my parents were good at making me say Hi to people, tell them my name, show good manners and just be an overall giver and friendly person.  My parents put me in every extracurricular activity possible!  I hated them all!  I was in brownies, 4H sewing, we had to sew complete outfits then model them on a runway in front of hundreds of people.  I was also in 4H cooking class, FFA (raising and showing animals), t-ball, volleyball.  You get the point!  I never understood why they made me do these activities.  until now!

     My entire life I have struggled with an intense fear of society!  Call it what you want, Introvert, shy, social phobic.  I constantly feel like all eyes are on me and I am clearly doing everything wrong or awkward.  I believe my parents were trying to (without knowing it was actually a thing) do Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on me!  They thought if they put me out there to do all these activities, I would find out nothing was actually going to happen to me and I would get over it.  What happened is I learned to live with it.  I learned I would be scared to death, I would cry and act hysterical, I would do it, I would survive, and it would be over....until next time. The only way I got through any of it was knowing it would be over!   During school I was always known as the quiet "shy" student.  The teachers loved me! HaHa!  I had friends, because I was always nice.  When you don't talk a lot your other senses become heightened and you grow a very big emotional heart!  I was friends with the popular kids, the athletes, the awkward kids, and the kids everyone teased and made fun of.  Deep inside I was a little of all of them, and understood what each person was going through.  I have always been a good listener and observer.  I was happy as a lark getting ready for school in the morning, come time to get on the bus I dreaded walking down the bus aisle looking for a seat.  Arriving at school stepping off the bus I felt like I was stepping on a big stage.  I would smile at all and push my secret monster as deep down in my soul as I could get it, and focus on being friendly and normal.  people always just said I was shy, and I liked that!  Shy seemed like a nice cover up to the actual terror I was going through.

     I have went through life this way.  This monster I have hidden in my closet affects my daily life constantly, but I have found a way to work around him!  I cannot do things that involve one on one interaction.  Going inside the bank, I might as well be thrown into a snake pit!  I visit the drive up ATM!  walking up to a counter to order food, No way!!  Again I go to the the drive through or have my dear husband pick it up for me.  Another thing I can not do Is talk to people on the phone.  Thank goodness for text messaging!!  I have missed out on parties, events, and even quit a job, because I literally felt like I was dying inside from such overwhelming fear!

What is Anxiety disorder?  Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can actually be beneficial in some situations.  For some people like myself Anxiety can become excessive.  The person who is experiencing the anxiety might realize it is too much and know deep down they are over reacting, but have no way to control it.  It may affect their day-to-day living.  Social anxiety or Social phobia is not caused by a traumatic event like PTSD.  Several parts of the brain are key actors in the production of fear and anxiety.  The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts of the brain  that interpret these signals.  It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response.

     Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults  in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty.  Women are 60% more likely then men to experience anxiety disorder over their lifetime.  A large national survey of adolescent mental health reported that about 8% of teens 13-18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms commonly emerging at around age 6.  Only 18% of these teen have received treatment.

I have chosen to live my life with no treatment.  I am not a fan of taking pills everyday.  I know I'm strong and I will not let this monster bully me!  Never been a fan of bullies either!  In a few weeks I am going to attend my first ever Blogging conference! I am honored and humbled to have been selected to attend The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Orlando, Florida.  I will meet other women and have to interact. I am really excited, but  nervous as all get out!  But I will survive, I will Rock it, and I will live to tell you all about it...I hope :)  This monster will not define me!  Have a brave day everyone!!

Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts on The Disney Social Media moms celebration!!  I can't wait to share with all of you everything I've learned and experienced during this once in a lifetime opportunity!!

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