When I was younger I remember multiple times getting sick before or during a certain event. I used to think it was the anticipation, but it was not. It was because I suffer with quite a few different forms of social anxiety. I've never been officially diagnosed, or sat down with a professional to talk, but looking back at experiences I've had throughout my life it's clear that anxiety was always present.
In grade 1 I would cry every single day when my mom dropped me off at school. I never really knew why until years later. I had a great group of friends, but if a teacher scared me, or I knew I would have to do a certain assignment I would get knots in my stomach and I wouldn't want my mom to leave.
In high school (particularly grade 9) I would stay home multiple days in a row because I would physically be sick. I'd be bending over the toilet almost every morning. I literally thought I was just sick until one morning when I was trying to convince my mom to let me stay home and she told me I had to go. I really thought I was sick until I opened up to her on her bed. I attended a public elementary school, and then switched to a Catholic high school. Almost all my school friends went to Carine Wilson, while I went to St Matt's. I literally felt that everyone was watching me at this new school. If I didn't sit in the back row, I would become self conscious about myself. It got so bad that I even thought when I would hear a siren that something happened to my family and wasn't there to be with them. They were such weird thoughts, but again I didn't fully understand that it was anxiety.
In university (from 2nd year on) I felt so lost and uncomfortable. I hated attending classes because I didn't want professor's to ask me a question and put me on the spot. It even affected me at church. Attending YSA and institute was literally one of the hardest things for me. Not only did I feel like people were judging and talking about me, but I felt so exposed for some reason. When I was dating Alex there were so many times we were supposed to go on dates and I would ask if he could just bus over to my house instead of meeting somewhere. Doing simple things like taking the bus, making a phone call or approaching someone at church became so hard.
I remember one night my mom came into my bedroom with a book and some CDs. She told me that she had suffered from anxiety for a long time and these things help her get through it. I was absolutely furious and offended that she thought I had anxiety. In my mind that made me crazy, and all I wanted was to be normal. Little did I know that anxiety is a very normal thing. I regret how close minded I was. I regret how I would shut her out, when I should have opened up. I mean she could helped since she experienced things very similarly to me.
It wasn't until right after Alex and I got married that I admitted I suffered from anxiety. Everything I had experienced started to make sense to me. But unfortunately admitting it, didn't make it go away. When it was time for us to pass out our thank you cards, I was terrified. I couldn't bring myself to go up to people scared that a conversation would start and I wouldn't know what to say.
Now the reason why I've written this super lengthy, intense post is for this reason: Things are actually getting better. I really don't know how it happened, but for the past month things have been so much easier for me. I feel confident in my own skin again. I love being outside and around people. I am able to phone someone to make appointments/just talk. I can put myself out there at church, sit with someone who is brand new to the ward and carry a conversation without feeling humiliated. I am able to participate in a class and not feel like everyone is waiting for me to say something stupid. I'm able to take the bus with Calvin and not worry if people are looking at me or thinking judgemental thoughts about me. It has made such a difference in my life. I feel happy about every aspect in my life, and I can honestly say I haven't felt that way in a very, very long time!
I've never felt so liberated in my whole life.