I Don’t Want to Slip into a Depression

Can you feel yourself slipping into a depression? How can you be so painfully aware of it and yet it still continues to happen? A question I am sure many people have dealt with long before me. I mean sure, experts are saying that right now, depression is not only anticipated, but expected. What else is going to happen when you’re locked up in your house all day?

But then you try to fight it off. You are an introvert, so going out has never been that important anyway. You have a video call here and there with friends and you call someone in the family every day. You read some light-hearted books and you think you’ve taken your mind off of things, but somewhere in the back of your mind you yearn even more for the light-heartedness exemplified in the book. You eat a salad, but fresh greens are not an everyday luxury anymore; not if you want to keep people safe. You go for a walk; when the weather permits it. You’re lucky enough to be able to work from home, and of course everything you are doing is not in your original job description. You have to be trained on completely new things, and you’re NOT a fast learner. You’re life is full of amplified stress and anxiety, and there’s nothing you can do about it, but just sit back and watch (maybe do a couple of breathing routines when you can remember). Sure, you try and keep up with some good news (😊), but it certainly doesn’t erase the reality around you.

I can only imagine, as I am feeling this way myself, that people are feeling more alone than ever. Its not fair for the people that are living alone. Its not fair for the people that are already struggling with depression. Its definitely not fair for those that are sick and suffering because of this thing!

Everyone keeps saying that there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and although we can’t necessarily see it just yet, it’s there. We just have to hang on. But just because the tunnel will end, doesn’t mean many of us are going to be off this long road. The world is not going to go back to how it was before. I’m not just talking economically. The way we interact with each other is changed. Mental health is probably at an all time low. And to be perfectly honest, I never really liked shaking people’s hand before all this happened. I’m super awkward!

But the more and more I try to stop it, the more inevitable it becomes. I am slipping into a depression, and I DON’T WANT IT! But this is just even more scary because I can feel myself getting angry. I am MAD I couldn’t see my little nephew on his birthday today! I am frustrated that I haven’t been able to go out and do my real job in over a month! I am extremely irritated that my friend is moving nine hours away in a few weeks, and I won’t get to see her before she goes! And I realize that anger leads to rash behavior, and I’m scared because I wonder how much longer I can take of this. How much longer can everyone take of this? We all have to be strong and stick this out for the well-being over the entire planet. A momentous and very daunting task, but we somehow have to make it work.

Look, I don’t have the answers. I just have a lot of questions, and emotions, and time on my hands to WAY overthink all of this…

But all this to say that I am determined! I am determined not to get sick or to get other people sick. And I am determined to not get depressed. I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll watch cute videos of babies and puppies if I have to!

 

All I really want to do is give my mom a hug.

 

…I’m going to go re-read Pride and Prejudice again.

If ONE More Person Tells Me I was Born for THIS…

Yes, I get it, I’m an introvert. Staying in my house is normal for me. I enjoy social distancing. I should be thriving right now!

Here’s the thing. We introverts need to be social at times too.  Many introverts have jobs that they need to go to. Many have errands that need running or engagements they’ve been mentally preparing to attend for months. (I had a friend getting married next weekend, now they’re eloping 😊). All introverts need food as well.

I get it.  It was funny the first time it was said…by me.  Then my brother said the exact same thing.  But hey, he’s my brother, he knows me pretty well, and then there’s the fact that he is also a bit of an introvert too.  Then my best friend said it, then another friend, and another, and then my co-worker, and then another co-worker that I don’t really ever talk to.  I mean yeah, I get it, I don’t really like being around people, this should be pretty cool for me.

And yeah, I’ve been operating pretty much as I usually do when it comes to being social, but weirdly, there is a big difference.

Two nights ago, I talked to a friend that I hadn’t heard from in months, for over an hour. Last night I played a game over Discord with my family (Discord must be booming right now). My co-workers and I have been messaging each other non-stop about work and worries. I’ve been hit up by multiple different people for book and movie recommendations. I’ve been texting a childhood friend, reminiscing about our youth. When I call my sister to check in, we talk for a very long time! Somehow, I’ve become more social than ever before.

It’s like I said in my very first post on this website, the world needs introverts for it to function properly. When faced with this situation, who are the extroverts turning to for help? Yes, we introverts have been preparing for this our whole lives.  Do as we do. You will get through this. And we’ll be here if you need help/advice. Be thankful for the internet, technology, social media, all of it. We may choose not to answer you right away, because we’ve currently got a lot of responsibility on our shoulders and a lot of people to help through this! 😊

But remember, I’ve been ordering things online for years.  I know how to read books and watch tv like a pro. I can work a drive thru like nobody’s business. I only ever do exercise in the comfort of my own home.  But we’re not that different really. Its times like this that really show how human we all are. I too haven’t given my mother a hug in WEEKS, and now I worry if/when I’ll be able to hug her again,

I Don’t Understand My Anxiety

When I was around 8 years old, I saw the 2003 movie Freaky Friday, and after doing so, I informed my mom that I wanted to be a Psychologist.  I liked the idea of asking people about their feelings for a living.  My mom, ever the realist, laughed, told me it was a good idea, but I would have to be prepared for a whole lot more of school.  Well, skipping through a whole bunch of social awkwardness, sibling rivalries, painful pubescence, several different college majors, and guiltily wasted money; I am now the tepid holder of a bachelor’s degree in psychology.   And mother knows best.  No more school for me.

My point is that I know very little about psychology, but I’ve always wanted to understand people’s feelings.  And I know that ultimately, I have always wanted to understand myself.  Just why?  I think that even though I am no professional, nor should any professional diagnose themselves, I know that I have A LOT of anxiety.  I also know enough about psychology to know that the best way to help is to go see an actual professional.  But how am I ever going to gain the courage to see a Therapist if I can’t even overcome my anxiety to go to a new dentist?

On my way back from work today, I knew that I would have to deal with a very minor situation that would cause slight embarrassment and I might be asked questions.  But even worse than not knowing answers to those questions, was not knowing what (if any) were those questions. And then of course my anxiety set in really quick.  My chest tightens a little, I visibly tense my shoulders, and I start expelling a lot of air from my lungs at random intervals.  And then there’s my non-physiological response.  This is something very difficult for me to put into words.  It’s like my anxiety is telling me “Noooooooo no noo noooooo nope no no don’t noooo no don’t do it nooooo nah nooooo” while my logic is telling me “Yeah, just do this thing real quick, it’ll take like two minutes.”  And well needless to say my brain gets tired real quick after all that juxtaposition.

And no matter how hard I try, I can’t get rid of the anxiety.  I try to turn up the volume of my logic, and that’s what’s gotten me this far in life.  But just like any constant loud noise, it creates chaos.  Constant chaos in my brain has led to me being overwhelmed, exhausted physically and mentally, and just an overall feeling of not being able to function.

I hate not being able to function.  I hate my stupid anxiety! I want more than anything to be able to overcome my anxiety.  But then I look at cases like my father, (I assume the genetic link to my anxiety) and I see how he gets trapped in his own head when he takes medication for his anxiety.  I don’t want that for me.  I want to have the will power to kick it out of my brain all on my own, and I want to know how to keep it out on my own.

I have always taken pride in how brave I’ve been, being able to cope with my anxieties in some manner or another.  I’ve always thought that people would never understand how courageous I am for standing up to my own anxiety.  But, how courageous can it be if I can’t even get help when I am fully aware that it would benefit me?  I’m not outsmarting my anxiety, I’m only adapting to it.  When I think about picking up the phone to make an appointment sure my anxiety is screaming, “NooOOOooooooOOooooooOOoOo,” but my logic is just saying, “Well, what are they going to help me with really that I don’t already know?  It’s too much of a hassle anyway because I’d have to ask off for work, which is a whole other anxious thing.  What if they give me things I need to work on? I’d have to do them or I’d be wasting my money.  Am I really prepared to deal with what I receive?”

I know, it doesn’t sound very brave to me.  Sounds more like a cop out.  Maybe pottermore was wrong.  Maybe I’m not a Gryffindor…

I will make a dentist appointment soon though.  Although it does cause me some anxiety, its more of a matter of laziness that I haven’t done it yet.  It’s on my to-do list for sure!

Opening Up About Mental Health to Co-Workers

I once had this really low paying part-time job. It was the type of job occupied by either struggling college students or older mothers that don’t really need the job. But my favorite co-worker was a sweet older woman in her low to mid sixties, let’s call her Mrs. Sheryl.

Mrs. Sheryl worked three mornings a week, and one only needed to look at her expensive fingernails to know she was not here because she was desperate for money. But I found that my co-workers that did just look at her and then brush her off, were sorely missing out.

Mrs. Sheryl and her husband had recently taken in their grandson and her own son was no longer in the picture. She would only casually mention the large amount of charity work she does for the homeless. She was excellent with little babies. She absolutely loved sharing her coupons with anyone who expressed interest in a store or restaurant that she had a coupon to use.

All of these are wonderful qualities, but I wouldn’t have stuck around to learn any of it, if she had not been so open with me when I first met her.

She had asked about my other activities outside our job because being only a part-time one, usually everyone else had something going on. I returned the question and right away this was her response, “Oh I have this job because of my depression. Without knowing that I have to be at work here, I never would make it out of bed in the mornings.”

I could barely restrain my mouth from dropping, but it was after this statement that I knew I wanted to be her friend! It had not occurred to me then that the reason I was so shocked, yet impressed, was because not many people in the world open up to strangers about their mental illnesses. And this thought, of course, led me down a whole path.

There are many people in my life that I think should speak to a professional about their problems, myself included. But we always have an excuse as to why we can’t do it. We’re too busy, too poor, too prideful, or (if your me) straight up too scared.

Mrs. Sheryl had no excuse, Mrs. Sheryl owned her depression.

Why can’t we all be like that? I mean, yes, I fully admit I have anxiety, but I wouldn’t say I own it. It’s something I have to squash down every day of my life to be considered a functioning member of society. It’s something I have to pretend doesn’t plague me for fear that people will not treat me equally or judge me based on stereotypes of anxiety.

Why can’t we complain to our co-workers about a particularly difficult morning of not wanting to get out of bed due to depression or how we were feeling anxious all morning because we had to give a group presentation in five hours? How different is that then two co-workers complaining about migraines and how tired they are all the time? We’re all here, we’re all working the same job, and wouldn’t you believe, Mrs. Sheryl is the one that has the biggest smile on her face?

I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that dialogue about mental illnesses has definitely increased (how else would I be writing this post right now), but I find myself wishing for a day when a casual acquaintance can ask me how my day was, and I can answer with complete honesty, and without having to seem overbearing, “Riddled with anxiety, but you know good.”

When My Only Work Experience Is Babysitting

Some people know who they are when they are younger. For some, it takes many years. I think that for myself, I fall somewhere in the middle. I think I know who am, but I could be wrong. I’m not quite ready to rule out that possibility. So, in my struggle to keep afloat in life, I have made certain choices that do not make sense to me, and I’ve made choices that make sense to me, but to no one else. This is a confusing, and very vague statement, but it is the only way I know how to articulate my feelings of how I’m doing in life.

I am twenty-four years old. I still live with my parents. I have no romantic relationship of any kind, and only one friend that lives two and a half hours away. It took me five years to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology. I work at a daycare. No, I do not get paid what my BA in psychology should warrant, but then neither do many millennials in similar situations as myself. And one last thing that I feel necessary to explain my life is something that a discerning person would have gathered already, I have A LOT of anxiety and pretty much zero self-confidence!

But I know that all of the above is who I am, and I accept that about myself. That does not mean that I don’t have a large desire to improve myself. My life could get better, and I could do something about it! But how? I keep going back in my life and wishing I had done things differently. There will always be something further and further back, but I want to focus on from when I was about ten years old.

I come from a pretty large family, with two older sisters, a younger brother, and just a whole bunch of cousins. The majority of the time, I am grateful for this much family, but growing up, I didn’t always see it that way. When my whole family got together, I was typically the youngest girl, someone that was too little (and scared) to play with my older guy cousins and someone that was too uncool to play with my sisters or older girl cousins. Eventually, there came girl cousins that were younger than me, and in an effort to make sure they never felt excluded like I did, I would play with them and hang around them at gatherings. (This is something I think many “middle kids” end up doing.) Then, without really intending to, or realizing it, I became the best babysitter ever.

For the first time in my life, I felt like I was being praised for something actually difficult for many people to accomplish; being a compassionate human being. And I really enjoyed being a positive influence and role model to my little cousins. So, word spread, and I became THE babysitter. And this continued through high school. When most of my friends were getting their first jobs as cashiers, photocopiers, or lab interns; I didn’t feel the necessity to get a “real” job because I had an abundance of babysitting jobs lined up already. This was a thing I was comfortable doing. The kids did whatever I said for the most part, and the whole point of babysitting was to have no one superior to you constantly looking over your shoulder. Yes, I have and inferiority problem… So, maybe I took the easy way out. I mean, I enjoyed it for the most part. Children are funny. They are surprising. They are fascinating to watch grow and learn. I was never bored.

Fast forward a few years and suddenly, I have a lot of experience in child care. But the responsibilities start to get more advanced. Now, I have to make sure children know rules and don’t stand on chairs. I have to tell them to be quiet because there’s too many of them in one room for everyone to talk at a normal level. I have to tell the little ones to stop laughing when they eat, for fear of choking. I have to know exactly with whom the children come and go. I have to get them to walk places instead of run. I have to stop them from hurting each other. I have to know CPR!

At this point in my life, my anxiety has soared through the roof to a point where everyday at work is a stressful day, no matter what. I try to convince myself that this anxiety is easily overcome because parents do it all the time. But do most parents have to deal with seven two-year-olds at once, all by themselves? Have I bitten off more than I can chew in my chosen career path? Did I even really choose this career path, or did I just sort of fall into it? I have so many questions, but there is one that has been pressing on me greatly as of late. Why the heck did I get this stupid, useless Bachelor’s Degree? What good is a degree when I have no relevant experience? What good is having a lot of experience if I keep having to get more education to even attempt to rise up in a career?

Bottom line: the degree that I ended up getting (there were a few bumps and turns in attaining it) is one that I am truly interested. Psychology is a very fascinating and good field of study. But I sort of wish I had experiences in other things related to Psychology, just so I can escape child development.

Not that I dislike child development. It’s a subject that I can actually boast about not only knowing, but understanding. But there is more than just the straight hands on approach to child development that I’m doing right now. Is there a different approach that I could practice that wouldn’t give me so much stress and anxiety? Do I even really want to try a different approach?

I have made a lot of fuss over the stress of my job, but there are indescribable benefits of it as well. When I’m feeling extra lonely for whatever reason and a young child runs up to me, yelling my name and giving me a hug, my heart warms. When my head’s about to explode from all the babies crying and children start laughing and singing a song with me, I feel proud of myself. When I successfully complete small talk with a parent, I feel like an intelligent adult. When a child actually learns something I teach them, I feel accomplished.

But I haven’t felt completely fulfilled yet. Is that too much to ask?

Caring for Someone that is an Alcoholic

My father is an alcoholic.  It’s not diagnosed, but I’m very sure that he is one.  He comes from a long line of alcoholics, and as it is a genetic ‘disease’, I fear that I may become prone to the addiction.  So, naturally, due to my anxieties, I don’t drink much.

I see what relying on alcohol has done to my father, and no he has never been physically abusive or anything that could harm anyone but himself.  He has many health issues and he has been brought up to believe the delusion that alcohol is a cure all for his pain.

He lost his job because of his reliance on drink, although he would argue any other reason (all of them being of no fault of his own).  He lost his best friend because of a political argument they had when they were both several beers into it.  He didn’t go to his granddaughter’s seventh birthday party because he wanted to stay in bed, resting his hurt back that he had knowingly injured just the day before, thinking he could drink the pain away in time.  And perhaps most tragically, he absolutely refuses to call or visit his father, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and would rather sleep in a pain-reliever induced sleep and drink a six-pack.

I know all of these facts, and yet there is nothing I can do to convince him, help him, or even stop him.

I’ve tried everything I know.  I tried getting him to seek outside help, but his pride (and also probably his anxiety) won’t allow it.  I’ve tried tell him the facts such as what I wrote above, but as he is my senior, he believes he knows better than me, and is convinced his addiction is helping him.  I’ve even tried playing the sympathy card.  I thought perhaps he would consider how tough this whole situation has been on my mother, having to take care of him, as well as four children and herself.  I thought I could appeal to his desire to be a good father by explaining to him the example he is providing my recently turned 21-year-old brother.  I even tried describing to him a future in which he was not around and he never would be able to see his grandchildren grow.  But, nothing I do is helping at all.  It’s pretty much just making it worse.

But the more I read about these type of situations, the more I see what I think I’ve known from the beginning.  There’s nothing I can do.  I’m too close to the situation.  He needs to realize he needs help, and seek it, all on his own.  I have to step back and let him fall even harder before he will want to get back up.  And I can’t even help him get back up, at least not at first.  He has to do that all on his own.

But I’m scared he will be too weak to do it.  And then what?  I want my father to live a happy, healthy life, but I don’t think he’s ever really known what is a happy, healthy life.  I mean he is largely responsible for my happy, healthy life, so is it too much to ask for him to have one?

Look, I have a lot of anxieties, and my father will continue to be one of them.  But I am determined, if not fully resolved, to no longer try to fix him.  Instead maybe I should focus on fixing those around him that he’s hurt.

I go to my niece and nephew’s birthday parties.  I protect my sisters from the ill-mannered opinions my father has about their lives.  I remind my brother that he is not our father, and that my brother is capable of making his own decisions.  I’ll write my Grandpa a card, and maybe dance with him when we visit for Christmas.  And mostly, I give my mother tight, warm, loving hugs!

I just wish I could do more.

That Weird Gray Area Between Gens Y and Z: The Middle Child Area

I was born in 1994, which depending on who you ask, places me either at the very bottom of the Millennial Generation or the at very top of Generation Z.  I remember a time when the latest technologies involved those little portable music players that only played like 30 seconds of a song, and that ever popular phrase, “You’ve got mail!” coming out of the 20-pound desktop computer that my parents let me use in our basement.  But on the other hand, I’ve never really had to check out a book from the library for research purposes, as search engines have been very close by for most of my advanced school career.

So, although my name has mostly been attached to that of the millennial era, I’m not so sure I fully belong there.  It feels like a weird gray area.  But, then, I have a lot of practice in a similar sort of area, as I am a middle child!

Middle children of the world know what its like to live in this weird gray area.  Not just for pop cultural references, but the history, technology, and life lessons that you learn are filtered in a way unlike your other siblings.

Example 1: Curfews

Oldest child will break the curfew, as oldest children like to do, and get grounded for a month.  Then the middle child comes along, sees that the consequences do not outweigh the actions, and doesn’t break the curfew.  Middle child doesn’t get in trouble but is forced into a behavior that may not accurately portray his or her personality.  Then the youngest child, seeing that there were no consequences for the middle, breaks the curfew.  But by then the parents have changed their minds and have either extended the curfew or abolished it entirely.

(Disclaimer: Although I know they exist, I don’t have time, nor do I care, about the repercussions of the behaviors displayed by the oldest and youngest children.)

Example 2: Student Debt

Millennials, due to a demanding economy, are persuaded to take out thousands of dollars of debt in their college education.  They are rewarded with average degrees and an unforgiving job market.  The space between Generations Y and Z (heretofore known as Gray Area) sees the debt that their slightly older pupils are in and realize that the consequences are not worth the actions, and the people of the gray area re-evaluate their life plans accordingly.  This possibly leads them to an overly cautious path that slows them down to an unhealthy level.  Generation Z is a little too soon to evaluate for this example of student debt.  But early observations have seen them throw caution to the wind, and just hope that when they come out of it, the economy will have changed their minds.

So, what does this mean for these weird gray area-ers?  What does it mean for the people that remember 9/11, but were too young fully comprehend the gravity of the situation?  What does it mean for the people that can sing along with every single song on the only five CDs that they owned, but get annoyed when someone adds a song to their carefully selected playlist that doesn’t match?

Where is our place in the world?  I mean I know that sounds like a very general question that everyone should ask.  But for these people in the gray area, we’ve been looking for a label for a long time.

What TV show defines us?

I mean, personally, I was present for the finales of Sabrina the Teenaged Witch and Boy Meets World, as well as the premiers of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and iCarly.  I loved them all almost equally (except Boy Meets World, that show will always reign supreme!), and I connected with them all in different ways.

But, maybe I’m thinking about this too pessimistically.  I mean I got to experience being a kid during a time when technology was really taking off!  I get to be an adult in an unforgiving job market, fully unprepared, but fully aware that I’m not the only one.

And I think that my comparison to middle children still holds true when I tell you what my middle children’s group in my freshmen year’s Sociology class described as the best and worst things about being a middle child.

The WORST thing about being in the Gray Area: Nobody cares about you.

The BEST thing about being in the Gray Area: Nobody cares about you.

 

We, the people of the Gray Area, are going to change the world. And nobody’s going to see it coming!

Nobody Can be an Introvert Forever

How nice life must be for extroverts, for the outgoing individuals that are comfortable in any social situation.  I envy their capacity to achieve their desires with relative ease. I cannot so much as speak to someone new without getting sweaty palms. But recently I’ve started to discover something that gives me more anxiety than I’m willing to even think about. Unless you’re insanely brilliant, introverts don’t succeed in this world.  If you want to be successful, you have to force yourself to be extroverted.

I was recently talking to my sister about what it takes to lead a fulfilling life (as defined by Western Culture), and we juggled with the idea of narcissism.  In general, narcissism is considered a bad thing.  If you cannot look away from the mirror then you will miss out on the beauty that the rest of the world has to offer.  But resent research has been done that stipulates in this day and age, a healthy dose of narcissism can actually be of benefit! Simply put; confidence is key!  Those who have success do more than just convince others of their superiority; they believe it themselves.  If you ever want to get a good job, or even start a family of your own, you have to believe that you are 100% capable of achieving these things.  This is not an easy task for us introverts.  Our brains have been created and coded to “look away from the mirror” and to see the good in others before we recognize it in ourselves.  But if we are ever to truly succeed, we have to but on an air of selfishness.

That is not to say that extroverts are selfish!  I know of many extroverts that would give away all their money just to see a loved one smile.  But there is a certain mindset of self-worth that extroverts typically have and introverts do not.  Could it be that self-worth is what introverts are lacking that are keeping them from pursuing their dreams?

Personally, I’ve always been an introvert.  My self-esteem is not great, and it has kept me from doing things that I’ve always wanted to do. I am starting to realize that I cannot stay true to myself and still achieve my goals in life.  But how is it right that I have to compromise who I truly am in order to get by in life? Why is it not perfectly acceptable to be introverted? I’ve never asked to be in the spotlight, I just want to achieve something good with my life, and the world seems to be built in a way that makes it difficult for the true me to do so.

So yes when I am interviewing for a job my humility will go out the window. Whenever I become a mother my hesitancy to ask questions will go out the window.  If I want to make a difference in the world I have to shout!  The world just won’t let my actions speak for themselves. I have to speak up for my actions.

So, society has told us to be humble, compassionate, and autonomous.  But at the same time proud, self-assured, and dependent.  I’m sure there’s a happy medium, I just haven’t found it yet!  Is that part of growing up, or should I’ve already figured that one out?

But as the old saying goes, “Fake it, till you make it!” You don’t have to let anyone know you’re really an introvert.  Just say you’re an extrovert and smile at them really big.  They’ll believe you. And then when you become comfortable around them you can let your introverted flag fly!

I find that the sad truth is, extroverts rule the world and decide how introverts get to live.  The only way to achieve your goals is to infiltrate their population. But once you’re in, you can be whomever you want to be.  But that means that you cannot be an introvert forever!

My Social Anxiety Problem is a Bigger Deal than I Thought

So there is something wrong with me. I don’t think I have ever thought otherwise (cue the pity party). I have always felt a little out of step with everyone else, but have always found comfort in the knowledge that I am not the only one that feels this way. I still firmly believe this, but I have recently come to the conclusion that just because I am not the only different feeling (or dare I say unique) person out there, doesn’t make my life any less of a problem. I have stated before and will reiterate; I have social anxiety! Thus of course is a self-diagnosis, but I don’t think anyone that knows me would refute it. I have also stated before in a previous blog that I believe social anxiety, or shy introvertedness, has an annoyingly negative social stigma that allows others to treat us poorly. Again, I still believe this statement, but I find the need to make yet another amendment. I need to work hard at curing my social anxiety, and not just complain about not being accepted. Because although there may be some things that I want to do that others won’t allow me to do them, it is even more a reality that there are many more things that I want to do that I won’t allow myself to accomplish.

I wouldn’t call these new thoughts a ‘change of heart,’ exactly, merely an alteration. I understand myself a little better now, and it’s largely due to my willingness to educate myself on this subject. Of course, I don’t think I have ever had all the answers. But knowing what I know now, I can admit that I was in the wrong. Bottom line: I do have problems, and I cannot function properly.

Now I know I am not a psychologist, but I have done a lot of research, and I believe I meet criteria for avoidant personality disorder. If there ever was a stigma for social anxiety, you better believe there is one for this disorder. It’s basically a disorder in which people have social anxiety but it’s made worse by the person’s need to avoid any potentially aversive/embarrassing situation. This person will go to great lengths to ‘not sound dumb,’ and appear more confident than they actually are inside. I feel inferior in a lot of social situations, and am often reluctant to go to new places and try new things. Ok, I am pretty confident that I have this disorder, maybe I should seek help? Obviously! But even though it is easy for me to admit I have this problem on here, it is insanely difficult for me to admit to anyone in real life.

I mean even the possibility that I could have this PERSONALITY disorder makes me feel sick. I don’t want to think that there is something wrong with my personality, and I definitely don’t want to let other people think there is something wrong with my personality! I mean how will I ever get a job then? I have noted this as well in a previous blog, but shy people have a difficult enough time finding a career that suits them, without the label of personality disorder on them. And then of course there is the problem of relationships, that’s a little too real and a little too painful for me to discuss at this time.

But then, of course, perhaps things have to get worse before they can get better. Maybe it’ll be worth it in the end. I habe been avoiding my true dreams for too long. Perhaps someone can help me actually reach them! Things that i have always wanted but have been too scared to ever go after. Maybe, after some time and therapy, I can achieve them! Or simply, maybe I can make my life a little happier.

My Anxiety Signals

I do a lot of things in my life just because I know that I have to do them.  Most of the time, these are things that I don’t like to do because they make me feel uncomfortable or I just don’t want to do them.  Anything that triggers my anxiety is automatically put on the list of things that I don’t want to do.  Sadly, a lot of things trigger my anxiety.  A lot of basic, normal, everyday expectations are tangled with threads of anxiety in every aspect of my life!  But here’s the thing; I know that I am expected to do these things!  So, in most situations I force myself to work through my anxieties and two thirds of the time, it ends up being something simple and easy to handle.

I sometimes feel like my brain is sending me two signals.  The first one is telling me to stay far away from something, and the second is telling me not to listen to the first one.  I try to listen to the second signal more than the first, but sometimes the first signal is SHOUTING, with alarms going off, and flashing lights.  Kind of hard to ignore.

I have learned to identify most of my anxieties, so that I am prepared to send that second signal when the first one alarms.  But I have not identified every one of them yet, I am still learning.  In the heat of a moment, if an anxiety arises without my expectation, I tend to panic.  It’s not fun, at all!

My panic can take on different forms.  I have had legitimate panic attacks before, and those were some terrifying moments in my life.  But I have also been known to sob into my mother’s shoulder, break something belonging to my brother, or yell and take out frustration on any close family member (bless them)!

So, I do understand my anxiety, I just have no clue how to fix it.  Doesn’t this mean I should see a therapist? ANXIETY ALERT! ANXIETY ALERT! ANXIETY ALERT!

Hhhmmmmmmm.