Social anxiety

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I remember a time when I was happy as a child. It was well before my brothers were born. Life was simple then. It was only me and my mother. But then my first brother was born, and this added more stress to my mother. A single mother of one can cope quite well and learn to love a mistake. Two mistakes can take a toll, but they are still very manageable. It was when my third brother was born that life changed completely. For you see, that is when all hope was lost. Despair set in. These were the days of anger and violence in my childhood. It is when my mother could no longer cope with negativity in a positive manner. She had lost all hope. Raising a child is not easy, this is something that we all can agree on. Multiply that by three, and do it alone; and watch the pressure build.

It was during this time in my mother’s life that I became an easy target for her anger. I was at the age of absorbing. I absorbed a lot of negativity. This is where most people focus on rage and anger. True, I do deal with those issues. However, I would like to focus and the social aspect. As a child we moved a lot. I don’t remember spending more than three years in one spot. Meeting new people was not a problem. Making friends was a problem. Something was disconnected. I would meet people, build a network of people to talk to, but I never invested any emotions. Why should I when I knew our stay would only be temporary? I grew to very self-conscious about everything I did. Was I normal? It’s what every kid asks. It’s what adults ask too. According to my mother I didn’t. According to the bullies at school I didn’t. According to my grades I didn’t.

This is how my social anxiety was formed. People are quick to as “who’s fault is it”. Truth is, it’s nobodies fault. This is life. When I’m in public, I can feel everyone looking at me, whether they really are or not. I get nervous. My palms being to sweat, and I know I don’t have my happy face on… or do I. I have learnt to love chaos. This is something that I learnt as a child. When things get crazy, out of control, and disorganized, that is the time to chill, look and listen. I learnt to embrace chaos. Things are never as bad as we imagine. Now take that feeling of “everyone is watching you” and imagine how much it is multiplied when giving a presentation. This is when a person with social anxiety has to practice control to the extreme. For me, a physical shut down will begin. Inside I can be a cool as the flip-side of the pillow, but my body will freeze and my mind will shut down. I have to manually process everything. This is not the most comfortable place to be. Even if I love the chaos and the challenge, I jeopardize the message that I am trying to convey in my presentation. This is why is has been so important for me to learn to function at an efficient state during these times. Some may say that what I experience is stage fright. No, I know the difference between butterflies in my stomach and a mental shutdown.

Social anxiety is real. More people have this condition than we realize. There are a multitude of reasons as to why we act and react in the manner in which we do. Our past interaction and the environment that we were raised up in has a lot to do with it. I can only explain, in detail, my situation. However, I can empathize with others that are in similar situations. I was once told that life is not fair. I disagree. We are all given lessons in life. It’s what we do with that knowledge that’s counts.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and may we always take the time to understand each other.

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9 thoughts on “Social anxiety

    DailyMusings said:
    June 29, 2015 at 5:46 am

    The things we have experienced as children affect us throughout our lives, they become part of who we are. Learning the coping skills in order to work through what holds us back allows us to grow, which it appears you are doing and continue to do. We are all works in progress

    Liked by 2 people

    Laura Clark said:
    June 29, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I can really sympathise with you. My social anxiety can be pretty bad at times (and it makes getting a good job really hard as I struggle so much in interviews) but I have fought hard against it and put myself in difficult situations to defeat it. Similarly, I think mine comes from my childhood. I believe we have to face the challenges head on and put ourselves out there to prove that we can conquer it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Deb said:
    June 30, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Great post!! I have nominated you for the Brotherhood of the World Bloggers Award please check https://onceuponahotflash.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/brotherhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/, much deserved!

    Like

    Noel said:
    July 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing so much. I was also a child exposed to a lot of changes without being able to build strong relationships with friends. I can relate. Be who you are and try to change your thoughts about you and your perspective . Once you learn to accept who you are, everything else becomes easier.

    Liked by 1 person

      stevenjcurtis responded:
      July 2, 2015 at 11:07 am

      I already love me. Think I’ll keep it that way 🙂

      Like

    Deb said:
    July 2, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Great post, I also struggled being the first child and having a brother born 6 years later. I just read this book, don’t know if it applies to your life, but it sure described my life to a “T”, and now I know the way I react to situations stems from childhood.
    Book name: “The Loveless Family” by Jon P. Bloch

    Liked by 1 person

    JayCue said:
    July 3, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I always enjoy reading your blogs Steven. But this was by far my favourite. I honestly thank you for sharing this, although we don’t know each other, reading something so relatable gave me so much comfort and brought a few tears to my eyes. It is extremely difficult suffering from social anxiety and trying to explain to people what it feels like but you worded it very well. Countless times I find myself trying to explain that YES feeling anxious is a normal thing but having a DISORDER is completely different and it is not the same as just feeling ‘nervous’, it definitely is like a mental shutdown. I’ve had such little support and understanding whilst suffering from this anxiety disorder and after reading your blog I find myself having a bit more confidence in being able to explain to people what’s going on with me. I shouldn’t have to just brush it away because I’m afraid of people finding me strange because you are right, it is such a common condition!
    Thanks again, peace.

    Liked by 1 person

      stevenjcurtis responded:
      July 3, 2015 at 9:57 am

      I am honored you were able to find confidence after reading this blog. A lot of people don’t understand the frustration. We tend to write off what we don’t understand. Social anxiety is real. I won’t call it a disorder. For me, I like to think of it as a quirk. I may be socially inept in some areas, but I am still human. I expect to be treated as one. Thanks for replying. It was very touching. 🙂

      Like

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