Anxiety: The Silent Struggle

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Anxiety: The Silent Struggle

I will admit. Depression sucks. I deal with it just like all of us in the Bipolar/mental illness struggle. It’s true, I hate depression. It’s been my oldest companion and worse tormentor. It can feel like the end of the world, and three times in my life it almost killed me.

I always tend to hide my struggles, but with depression I am still more open to talking about because I understand it. Anxiety— and by extension, my social anxiety— it is the silent struggle.

It’s true, I have talked about my social anxiety here on my blog. But, for the most part, I struggle with it in silence. I think most people struggle with it in silence because it’s tough to understand— at least in my own experiences.

When I sit at a coffee shop, it is all alone. Don’t get me wrong, but I do like it that way. At the same time, I struggle. People make me nervous. I tend to look for the tables that I can be alone. When I have to sit at the “big table” with others, my natural instinct is to put my headphones on and drown out the world.

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I do it because it because every second alone in this world outside my safe places I am struggling. I struggle to be around people because I have never felt normal. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. I have spent the majority of my time isolating myself because it is easier than trying to live.

Why do I write this blog post? I realize that my biggest issue with my social anxiety is me. I am my worst enemy. I have doubted so much that I can really change. I am so set in my ways, but I honestly feel that I am missing out on something. Life is not about isolation and being alone.

I am not going to change overnight. I have a long road ahead, but I set out to make 2018 the year that I conquer my social anxiety. For the most part, I failed in that regard or at least hit some major speed bumps. Still, my point is that it is only May. At the same time, we are five months into 2018, and I am so much better than letting my silent struggle win.

I have not entirely conquered my depression, but I have more control over it (granted I have struggled through so much more depression, at least at this point in my life.) It took me years to get to a place where I could be comfortable talking about depression. Even talking about my mental health is really new.

I just started opening up the last two years now. It took the right therapist to get me to my blog. Now eight months of blogging has changed me, but it’s been a long process. I have to be willing to grow. That’s how I started to understand my depression. Can it be the same with my social anxiety?

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Time will tell. In the meantime, I am going to start working on getting better. As cliche as it sounds one day at a time is all you have in this struggle. May has always been the month where things turn. I am hoping that is what happens with my social anxiety.

Stay tuned. Always keep fighting.

Please Help me Publish my Memoir

I am almost done editing my memoir “The Bipolar Writer,” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. I am still working towards enough to pay an artist for a good cover. Those that donate will get a special mention in my memoir on a page dedicated to those that made my memoir possible. Thank you in advance!

$2.00

James

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoEmiliano Cicero

unsplash-logoPaul Volkmer

unsplash-logoIsmail Hamzah

unsplash-logoJeremy Cai

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19 Replies to “Anxiety: The Silent Struggle”

  1. Social anxiety is definitely a difficult subject to talk about. In my case, I don’t understand it at all and I’ve suffered with it my whole life. I don’t know how to explain it and no one would guess that I even have problems with it. I think the scariest revelation was accepting that I was never going to blend in because I was meant to stand out. God has a lovely sense of humor. Give leadership qualities to the girl with social anxiety…great! Thanks, God! Will be looking forward to reading about your progress. Keep the faith!
    ~ fullcircle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing. It is very difficult to discuss. When I try to figure out my triggers more triggers seem to find it’s way into my life. It’s frustrating. It feels lonely to silently deal with my social anxiety as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pointing out my triggers is simple… people. Any more than 3 people in a setting and I’m nervous as hell. Speaking to a group bigger than 3 where all the attention is directed to me and I literally forget to breathe. That’s probably why I get light-headed and feel like I’m gonna pass out. I can’t think straight when everyone is literally staring at me. Sometimes my body will react by turning my skin blotchy red all over my body, kinda like hives. I can’t stop it from happening and everyone can see it which makes me embarrassed and that makes my “hyper color skin reaction” worse. I just wish I knew how to prevent my anxiety from getting that bad.

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  2. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, every little bit you do that you feel has helped you to move you forward in the direction you want to be, helps. Life is a learning curve and a journey and you will learn the things that will help you that stage further down your path and learning more about you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing. When I was in therapy, one thing that always stuck with me was the phrase, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The therapist used this to help me understand that conquering anxiety takes baby steps. With that being said, I would recommend you keep your big goal of conquering social anxiety; however, I worry that giving yourself such a definite time frame may result in further anxiety. Try to remember how many years it took to develop the social anxiety as you work to conquer it (likely much longer than one calendar year). Doing so will allow you to show yourself some grace in the recovery process versus assessing your overall progress as failure. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be so annoying with the baby steps but your point is valid. I am might making a mistake giving myself such a definable timetable. It’s true, some of my anxiety over the past few months has been hard. It might be directly related to my need to overcome. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. I understand how you feel James. The most I can handle socially is my very meek group of friends only because they all suffer from the same thing. I think I isolate more so as a protection mechanism, I’m better when I’m with me, myself, I alone on most occasions. However, I feel that if I continue this route I fear of dying alone. That scares me the most.

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    1. I know what you mean. I fear that a lot lately as well. I am so comfortable with being alone at times. It one of the reasons why I feel as if I need to get out more and be active. Can I? I don’t know sometimes.

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  5. The most effective thing I’ve found for this is bringing a trusted friend along and letting them run the show. I have GAD in addition to social so sometimes stuff like dealing with tickets etc has my hands shaking. Letting someone else be in charge of everything is so freeing. It’s like having a protector.

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    1. That’s not a bad idea. I am not as flush with friends because one a lot of friends live everywhere but here and the other is that I have isolated so much my friends here never like to make plans with me because I always cancel. It’s a lot of things that are my issues.

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      1. Yeah I know what that’s like, initially you have to push through it but once they are trusted its like having family and they don’t cause anxiety but prevent it.

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  6. Small steps has been the easiest for me. If I pushed myself too hard to get better I would have major set backs and wind up worse than before. Small steps and when you do something outside your comfort zone praise yourself for being brave. It might seem silly but you need to have good self talk and when you do something good acknowledge it. Wishing you well.

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      1. Don’t see it as a failure but see it as you tried to do something and it simply didn’t work. Be proud for trying because I know some people who won’t even do that. Failing is not the end of the world but those who never try will never succeed. Just think about how you can do it differently next time and try again. I really hate to quote Edison because let’s face it he was a hack next to Tesla but you probably heard the saying. He didn’t fail a thousand times but learned a thousand different ways that it won’t work.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I understand that opening up about such a scary and ever present topic is far from easy and you have my respect for doing so nevertheless. Personally, I’ve suffered from social anxiety in my early teenage-years, but luckily it has gotten better over time and has, as of yet, disappeard. Nonetheless, I still remember how scared and uncomfortable I was in midst of big crowds or with people in general. But as I started to conquer my depression, I gained so much self-confidence and kind of found my innerself, that I’ve never had any issue with social anxiety since. I do very much wish for you, and all of you who are reading this who struggle with the same issue that it will get better soon, and someday be a scary thing of the past.
    Best
    LivingInsideABook

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  8. You’re going to be just fine in life James. You are reaching out and connecting through your talents.

    Isolation isn’t healthy for anyone. Being aware of the problem, puts us into the solution. One of my favorite people, Clinical Researcher and author Brene Brown, says “We are neurobiologically wired for connection”. Check out her TED Talk – The Power of Vulnerability. An all time TED Talk favorite with 33 million views.

    I have Bipolar 1. I didn’t say that I am Bipolar 1. Big distinction between the two. Just like someone who’s living with a lifelong condition like diabetes doesn’t say “I’m diabetes”. Those that have diabetes go through the process of educating themselves, putting together a plan, and then managing that plan so that they can lead a normal and productive life. It’s our responsibility to do the same.

    The disorder dimension of Bipolar is preventable. I have Bipolar and enjoy it’s gifts – intelligence, creativity, empathy and resilience…and more! I stick to my plan so that I can share my gifts with the world and do good things. Just as others do with the talents they’ve been given.

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