Mental health awareness month is a month that is, not only important, but especially important to me. I went to school for psychology, I have friends and family who deal with their own mental illnesses every single day, and I have my own battles as well. It’s no news that I like to discuss mental health here on my blog. I have plenty of different topics hitting on the subject, but today, I’m discussing a little bit about my own personal experience with anxiety.
I’m not 100% sure when it started, but I want to believe that my social anxiety started when I was younger from being bullied. I’ve always been someone who was shy, but being bullied doesn’t help in the slightest. Now grown up, I learned to automatically keep my head down when walking and I just don’t like to look people straight in the eye and vise versa. I have even had friends who have brought up to me the fact that I don’t pay much attention to my surroundings. I know this is terrible, but the factor of not seeing what’s around me doesn’t cross my mind. The only thing that crosses my mind is that I don’t want people to stare at me and then find something to laugh at.
Another thing when it comes to my social anxiety is the experience of being in stores or just public places that can potentially become crowded. Of course, I go grocery shopping alone, but it’s not always something I like to do. This is because I tend to think a little too much when I’m alone. I don’t want to be in anyone’s way and I will literally go the most inconvenient way just to make sure of it. The one thing I hate the most is looking into an aisle (whether a grocery store or regular store), seeing that there are a decent amount of people, and then my stomach just feeling like it’s going into knots. It’s understandable for someone to not want to push through all of those people, but the fact that I just get these knots is just unnecessary to me. Yet, I can’t help it and I end up just trying to find an aisle with no one in it whether it’s an aisle I need to go through or not.
Next, I want to hit on my driving anxiety for a little bit. I’ve talked about it before and it’s something that I hate to say I still deal with. Driving anxiety has held me back from so much, but most importantly, just living life. I don’t have it in general, but there are some situations that really give me those knot feelings just thinking about and situations that I try my hardest to avoid. Just for context, if I didn’t get a push from my aunt when I was 18, I’m not sure when I would have taken the initiative to receive my license. I want to believe that I would’ve gotten it soon regardless due to the freedom you get with having your license, but it’s also easy to say that now since I have it. If you want a quick example of my experience with driving anxiety, it’s simply this statement: having the ability to go wherever you please, but not being able to move.
When I first started driving by myself, my foot would literally start to shake right after. It’s not because something happened or almost happened, it was literally just the fear or anxiety of it all. It’s crazy to type that out because no one knows this and now I’m sharing it with a ton of people online. Though I don’t deal with the foot shaking any longer, I still deal with the knots that come to my stomach for the smallest things. The things that people do without a second thought in their mind end up lingering in my own mind to where I’m either trying to figure out how to get out of it or how I can make it as less anxiety-inducing as possible.
Some of the things are as simple as just meeting up with friends to hang out or having to go somewhere that involves the highway as being the most convenient way to get to my destination. I avoid the highway like the plague and will often go the longest route to get to where I want to go. To others, that may seem insane, but to me, it’s literally just my life. I’ve begun to feel so hopeless that, if there was ever a situation where I went on a trip with my friends and we all needed to take turns driving, I’m okay with just not going because I would feel bad about not being able to contribute. Again, sounds crazy for someone who doesn’t deal with driving anxiety or deal with it to this extent, but as I said it’s having the ability to go wherever you please but not being able to move.
Everyone has their own personal experience with anxiety and not everyone deals with the same type of anxiety either. Social and driving anxiety are the two that have affected my life most, but what is life for me could seem odd for someone without anxiety or maybe even with someone dealing with anxiety, just not that kind of anxiety. When you have anxiety about everyday things, as I do with driving, it’s hard to even want to share it with people who don’t because they’ll never understand. If you feel like you’re in that situation, please know that I’m here for you. You can’t control those feelings. Trust me, I would love to freely do things without a second thought or care! Just know that your feelings are valid, you’re not weird or odd, and that you have a listening ear in me if ever needed.
Larry Hoke says
I can understand the anxiety of not wanting to look people in the eye for fear you might reveal your “secret” – whatever that is. I had an abusive dad. But it’s also dangerous. Bad people see it as a sign of weakness, making you open to attack.
I stopped a lady jogger once and told her not to look away when passing people – look them in the eye. Act like you own the world. Bad people hate strength. Hard to do, I know, but it works.
Thanks for the advice love. I appreciate it ♥
Khy Ye says
It’s truly sad how childhood issues like being bullied really set the tone for how we see and carry ourselves as adults. After reading this, I want to say that I am proud of you for how you’ve stepped out of your shell with your new photos on Instagram. Also, it takes time to unlearn what makes you who you are regardless of if it’s an issue or not. Take your time and remind yourself that wanting to change is the first step. I know it’s not easy I’m fighting my own battles as well beyond anxiety, but I definitely understand.
Thank you love for your support and kind words. It really is sad how those things affect us as adults. It definitely takes time and I’m just trying day by day. Sending you love as well! It’s a hard battle, but we continue to fight ♥
I can relate to this so much! Anxiety has been part of my life for as long as I can remember so I totally understand. Mine is mostly social but I also get driving anxiety, especially in the winter. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. xx
And this is why I share things like this. It’s always nice knowing that someone relates to you because it’s so easy to just feel completely alone. Every day is a battle, but we get through it! Thank you so much for reading and commenting ♥
I had no idea you had anxiety. I am sorry to hear that you struggle at times. I appreciate you sharing for those that will take comfort in it and not be so alone. I still feel like a complete freak for some of my issues. It’s hard to make myself believe that it is justified.
I hate to hear that you feel that way. You’re not a freak at all and I hope one day you’ll see that yourself. So many different factors come into play for why we are the way we are and how our mind perceives certain things. Many of those factors are not even in our control. You are normal and if anyone tries to tell you differently or make you feel differently then you can send them to me and I’ll get them straight lol. It’s easier said than done, but try not to be so hard on yourself love ♥
You have such a big heart and that setting them straight bit made me giggle 🙂 Thank you for that. Honestly it’s me mostly. I still have PTSD/panic attacks/nightmares and it’s hard to breathe at times with the triggers. I feel so self conscious because the only way I can get through it, is to give myself a pep talk, to reassure myself I’m safe. People ask me if I’m okay and I have to say yea, while the ground is collapsing beneath my feet and I am holding on to the wall for dear life. It’s true it is not in our control but weakness is exploited and I don’t like it in myself. I always appreciate your kindness though 🙂
That makes me so sad to hear that you go through all of that! I can understand giving yourself a pep talk because I have to prep myself in certain driving situations and just tell myself that I made it and I got through when it’s over. It’s so sad how people are easily willing to take the weakness they see in someone and use that. I definitely think that’s why people loved to gang up on me when I was in school. But I appreciate you saying that I have a big heart! You are seriously the sweetest supporter and I love hearing from you ♥
You are so going to make me cry 🙂 To me you just radiate warmth and your words are like a big hug. Some bullies are threatened by others abilities and some are just messed up. It’s wrong that you went through that hardship of being bullied. However you are resilient and a rockstar and you can handle anything! Thank you so much 😀 *blushing*
Only happy tears! lol but thank you so much ♥. I absolutely believe that a lot of bullies are just so insecure within themselves that they have to put other people down. It’s so sad, but you’re right…I can handle whatever is thrown my way! And so can you ♥
Natasha MacFarlane says
Thank you for sharing your journey.💜
It’s no problem at all when it could help someone! Thank you for reading my story ♥
Lyla Stone says
Needed this post! I’ve struggled with social anxiety from a very young age (still find it hard to socialise without wine, sigh). Also, driving on motorways is a total no! Feels better knowing that I’m not alone, thank you.
You’re absolutely not alone love! I love doing posts like this because I know there are people who deal with some of the same things as me. and not only is it comforting to find people that I can relate with, but also I’m helping others find comfort. I’m always here if you need to talk about anything and I’m so glad that my post gives you some comfort ♥