I’ve been reflecting on the past lately, thinking about the days when I had unbearable anxiety in social situations. Sitting in a classroom listening to the teacher, my heart would pound intensely, my palms slick with sweat, my stomach tight as the dreaded ball of heat formed and crept from my stomach, up through my chest, neck and face turning my skin fire engine red. Thoughts like “Everyone is looking at me” or “The teacher is going to call on me and I won’t know the answer” or “Why can’t I just be normal?” ran through my mind. Desperate prayers, “Please help me God!” left unanswered.
All the while these feelings and thoughts took over, I was simply sitting in the classroom like every other student acting like I was listening to the teacher. What the other students and my teachers didn’t know, was that I sat in misery in the classroom. Uncertain why I felt the way I did. Finding it difficult to comprehend what the teacher was saying. Feeling sad and frustrated.
I felt helpless, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t get up and leave because that would draw too much attention to me. I couldn’t ask for help because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Looking back today, I’m not even sure how I was able to learn considering the on-going emotional battle in my mind.
Somehow I managed to push through life until I finally found out what was wrong with me. I remember the day I found an article talking about something called social anxiety disorder. There was a name for the way I felt! I knew there was something more going on. That day I started finding out everything I could about social anxiety from reading books to seeking counseling -whatever it took – I was going to work toward getting better.
I can look back on these experiences today and recognize that my prayers were eventually answered. Today, I can see just how far I have come when I stand in front of a classroom talking about the fears that controlled my mind for so many years.
In my next post, I will begin to share details about my therapy experiences. For more information about my battle with social anxiety disorder along with action steps and helpful insight for you or a person in your life with social anxiety, check out my book: Releasing the Secret Pain.
Sending you wishes for a life filled with peace and joy!