Posts Tagged ‘social phobia’

There’s not really a reason I keep this blog alive. Well, that’s not entirely true.

It’s not for the popularity (obviously because I don’t have any), it’s not for the money or the fame or anything else. For me, this blog is important for two reasons.

The first is that I have a select friend who cares enough about me to read this stuff anyway. It’s kind of like by writing this, I’m talking to him, and whenever I talk to him, my real raw emotions tend to come out. By posting them here, anybody else can have access to and hopefully identify with some of what I feel. It’s a bold statement but I’d just about guarantee that whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. I’m hoping somebody will see this and realize that we’re all suffering to some extent. Some of us may have it better off but the truth is we’re all locked into our own minds, and we’re all just trying to survive.

You are not alone in the world having panic attacks, or agoraphobia, or social phobia, or OCD, or anything else. There really are people out there who understand and are willing to help. I hope you can do that and don’t have to suffer with what I’ve dealt with lately.

Don’t be ashamed to need help. Being mentally healthy can make or break your life more than a physical illness can. Even if you’re the most capable at whatever you do physically, you’ll never be able to achieve anything if you’re too scared to try. It’s important to get help for these kinds of things. And I hope that people can realize that poor mental health is not necessarily an impossible hurdle to overcome. It only becomes impossible when you let it take hold of you.

Don’t let the fear eat you like it’s eaten me. Please. You can do this. You are a capable, amazing, kind-hearted person. That applies to anyone reading this.

You can make it.

The second (selfish) reason is simply that sharing my experience helps me “deal”. I don’t know why I don’t just keep a paper journal instead of blogging. After all, this kind of thing isn’t really public material, is it? Probably not, but it should be, because too many people suffer in silence with disorders that can be handled more readily than people may think.

I’m trying to encourage people to talk about their problems because it really helps “get things off your chest”. And you may not be nearly as far out as you think. See the Children Full of Life documentary, for example. Fourth grade children are learning empathy and compassion. They’re learning how to identify with other people’s problems. More people need to teach that. More people need to be like that. In a room full of people, chances are you have something in common with at least one of them, You may even become a closer group by virtue of you being less afraid to demonstrate how you really feel. I teared up watching that documentary. It’s a beautiful sign of maturity on the part of the children and the teacher.

If there’s no other listening ear in your life, there’s always a pen and paper. Or sand and a stick, or your voice in an empty room, or a blog (or even skywriting). It’s hard to do, but accept how you feel at the moment and roll with it. Take some deep breaths, maybe close your eyes, and really get to know who you are.

Sorry for that sounding so cheesy, but as one of my favorite high school English teachers wrote in one of my journal entries we had to keep, “it always is when you talk about stuff like this”.


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Ever since I started more actively pursuing and attacking my anxiety, I’ve read a lot of advice, one piece of which stuck with me. I was just too demotivated to follow it.

That advice, which comes from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, was to keep a journal. Or rather, to log thoughts and feelings of anxiety over a period of weeks and months and keep track of patterns of feelings and behavior. Patterns which may otherwise go unnoticed because they’re never viewed in a big span at once, but only acted out day by day.

But my problem was that I felt these patterns were blindingly obvious. I never wanted to start writing because I had the audacity about myself to assume I knew who I was very well. I knew my weak points. I knew how I would act in certain situations. I knew I’d be happy one day and sad the next. It’s just nature’s natural ebb and flow.

The funny thing about all this though is that once I did start writing, I did see patterns I’d never noticed before. I tend to use the word “impossible” a lot in the entries. I tend to write about positive things in one entry with the next being completely focused on how my positive thoughts were misdirected (I knew this, but it’s interesting to see it played out).

For a few weeks now–since mid-November–I’ve been keeping this journal on an almost steady basis of two times a week. And I plan on keeping it for quite a while.

Essentially, whenever I catch myself with a moment of free time, especially at school (which is an environment I find much easier to write in), I just start writing. How my day was, what people said to me, what I think I’m feeling.

No matter how much difficulty I find in putting that first word down to start the first sentence of an entry, I rarely hold myself back. I try to find a suitable starting point quickly so as not to lose my entire train of thought. Once I’m able to run with my feelings, I write pages. Every sentence becomes less viscous. Every paragraph becomes more in-depth. Every page sheds more light on my inner demons I can’t seem to settle with.

The first time I wrote an entry it was purely out of spite. Spite for the world, spite for other people, and spite from my inner self who couldn’t seem to have his selfish desires satisfied no matter what he did. I was exceedingly mad when I first started writing; the beginning of that first entry is rife with anger. I quickly grew more passive, though, which shows my short-term tolerance for staying angry.

Most of my entries since then have been relatively free of spite, but they’re still almost completely full of remorse. Remorse, and more painfully, longing.

Keeping a journal is much different from keeping a blog. You may well wonder why I just don’t slap what I write up here. Truthfully, it’s not so much that I don’t want to. I’m not afraid to share a lot of things with people. I just find it much easier to physically interact with my words via a pencil and paper. I can’t stand to write on the computer, especially whenever I feel like I do when I write these journal entries. I end up feeling disconnected from my head and losing motivation.

The more I write in this journal, the more I find myself trying to turn what I write into a piece of art. I am relatively unrestrained in what I write about, but I get a fair amount of joy from trying to maintain standards of writing and reading the entries back to myself. I am, pretty much, indirectly writing an autobiography.

I find it to be a successful therapy as well. I always thought I wouldn’t ever be able to express my problems and feelings to nothing but a piece of paper. I felt like I needed other people at the other end to hear me. I needed other people to respond to me and to validate me. A friend told me once that he relieved anger by writing it out, and I distinctly remember telling him that I’d never be able to release any of my feelings without someone to listen.

But truthfully, that feeling largely has gone away. When I realized how intimate I could get with my thoughts with just a pencil, paper, and a conducive environment to writing I felt a certain relief.

I can be a lot more comfortable with myself in writing than I could be with people responding to what I said. I suppose I always felt guilty about wasting someone else’s time when it was my problem to handle. At least with myself, I’m only consuming my own time.

This journal has pushed me forward by leaps and bounds in dealing with my emotional issues. It, combined with supportive and loving friends and the unshaking resolve of my parents to understand this problem, has given me insight recently and made me realize what an amazing life lies before me right now.

And right now, I feel the best I’ve ever felt.

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