My arm and my husband's arm. He did the writing / drawing.
For TWLOHA Day and Project Love
My mother calls me painfully shy.
In fourth grade, I had no friends because I couldn't work up the courage to talk to other kids.
In high school, I was so shy
I couldn't attend half my classes freshman year.
In college I paid more than a thousand dollar for classes. I attended the first day and went home feeling sick and trembling. For the rest of the semester I stayed in bed every day the classes were scheduled. I never went back.
Online classes were hit or miss. The last class I took, I completed the 'introduce yourself' assignment posted to a message board. I never logged back in.
I couldn't communicate with people, not even online. I couldn't function no matter how hard I tried. My mind blanked. My heart felt like it was going to explode. My face turned so red people laughed. My ears burned. I felt sick and couldn't focus for days at a time. If I stuck around long enough, I was sure to cry, even if nothing bad happened.
I couldn't go to school. I couldn't make friends. I couldn't work. I felt like I couldn't do anything.
My family thinks I'm snubbing them when I don't answer the phone.
My husband had no idea I wanted to pursue writing until we were married more than a year.
My sister thinks it's funny that my face turns beet red when someone talks to me.
I was reluctant share any personal aspirations. I was careful not to share my opinions. I felt guilty about wasted money and wasted opportunities because I couldn't communicate with people. I felt humiliated
when I couldn't function with another person in the same room.
I didn't know what was wrong with me.
I wish I could say someone helped me out and gave me all the answers. It was google that shed light on social anxiety for me. Once I understood the problem, it was no longer undefinable or insurmountable.
I toy with the idea of seeking 'professional help' but the thought gives me anxiety still.
Now that I know what's wrong with me, and that I'm not alone, it is easier. I was able to discuss my anxiety with my husband (who didn't laugh). After taking about a million baby steps over the last few years, I've made serious progress. Today, I can participate on DeviantArt and share about my anxiety.
I can tell my husband when I'm having a bad anxiety day and not try to hide it. I can discuss my writing
with my husband, which I hadn't even dreamed of five years ago.
I struggle with social anxiety, but now I feel like I have a future. All it took was a little awareness and a lot of baby steps.
Maybe it's not a great triumph story, but it's a vast improvement from where I've been. That means something to me.