"I wish I knew how to quit you." - Jack Twist "Brokeback Moutain"
Although no one believes it, I suffer from crippling social anxiety. I used to fear even the smallest interactions and would think conversations through over and over again. Even emails would give me a shudder of fright when they'd arrive. No one ever believes me because I stuffed my feelings deep inside and mostly would cover my panic with my old friend alcohol. Of course the alcohol train is a slipper route because one too many and oops...night over!
My anxiety was especially fun when I worked in retail. I would literately stare and the door and pray for no one to come through the doors. When they did, I manically jumped up, cursed myself a few times, and told myself "showtime loser." Heck in school, I was too shy to raise my hand even though I knew the answers.
It's crazy to think I ever took the first step to fix it!
My wife, then my girlfriend, saw this and tried to do everything from hide our upcoming plans (so I wouldn't worry) to just avoiding plans all together. NO FUN for her! She is a natural social butterfly so the girl needed to fly!
I stayed that way until she finally convinced me to put an end to this dismay. I mustered up the strength with her in the doctors office, a thirty minute torture session, but was able to ask my doctor for help. I was given a prescription for a common anti-anxiety medication and within two weeks my life changed!
The clouds cleared, and dear lord, the constant internal conversation with myself was finally over! Not only did it help my personal life. Hello dinner parties, drinks with friends (without getting hammered), and every other social activity available. It helped my career! I was now unafraid to speak my mind - actually offer ideas and if they were shot down. Well, I would fire back with another. Two years before, I would have taken my proverbial ball home and cried myself asleep. That day or any since, it hasn't bothered me. I can't say all days are anxiety free but there is no comparison to how I feel today!
Being free from the doubt was a liberating feeling and I owe it to my wife and her urging to take control of my life. She's done that for me in a few other places too. But, shhhhhh! Don't tell her I said that! There will be no living with her!
But in all seriousness, if something is bothering you take control of it. It may not solved by a prescription but keep your mind open and the answer is out there. Heck it may be sitting right in front of you. Share your troubles! Chances are someone around you cares enough to help you fix it!
I'd like to dedicate this post to the late great Robin Williams. He's entertained me for all of my life and I'm so sad that he's gone. Depression is a killer and the world will be a lesser place with Robin Williams gone. Safe home hero!
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