51: The Things I Carry: Anxiety Disorder

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again” – Theodore Roosevelt

I have an anxiety disorder. I hate admitting it is an issue. “Anxiety is for women. Real men don’t get anxious,” my Pride tells me. I’ve always wrestled with it. Teachers described me as sensitive, doctors suggested to my parents I am ADD, and my bullies called me Nature Boy.

There is a reason anxiety exists and it isn’t because I’m a chicken. The anxiety didn’t happen in a vacuum. My infidelity, lies, secret-keeping, and hiding were driven by this anxiety. Once I screwed up it became a negative feedback loop.

Once the secret was outed, the interlopers began trolling and harassing my writing and it amped up my anxiety exponentially. Recently, the doctor and I decided it was time to add Lexapro to help me focus and calm down.

I’ve told people my whole like I am introvert. They’d never believe me because I can compartmentalize it and usually function. I spoke publically, organized meet-ups, networked, and was a village trustee.

The whole time I was terrified.

Afterwards, I’d go and hide. I’d walk the dog at the golf course. I’d eat chocolate cake. I’d shovel the driveway at midnight. Go for a drive.

This isn’t a new to my life. I’ve posted a story below to consider. The reality is I’ve always struggled with 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8. There are reasons.

We will be talking about this shit over the next few weeks.

Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  1. Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
  2. Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  3. Being very afraid that other people will judge them
  4. Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  5. Staying away from places where there are other people
  6. Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  7. Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
  8. Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around

RESOURCES

WebMD: What Are Anxiety Disorders?

American Psychiatric Association: What Are Anxiety Disorders?

The Atlantic: Surviving Anxiety

The Things I Carry: Critics taste better deep friend and with chips

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