For as long as I can remember, people have always talked about how talkative and friendly I was as a child. Although I can remember being that way, I don’t remember how. That’s not who I am anymore. Large crowds scare me, in fact, a small group of people unnerves me unless I know them really well. At first I thought that I was alone, that no one else felt like me, but then I looked into being afraid of large crowds of people. Suddenly, it had a name. It was real. Social Anxiety.
To this day no one pays attention when I proclaim that I’m in introvert, that I prefer to spend time alone. How many of us have people like that in our lives? We try to tell them something important about ourselves, about what we’re going through, and it’s very dehumanizing. Doesn’t it make you feel crazy? As in, it’s all in our heads, or that’s what people think. It does. It makes you feel crazy, because then you start believing that it’s just something that you can stop feeling, and you try. You try so hard. You just can’t make yourself stop, though, and you feel bad because you want to be the person that makes them happy. They love you and you love them, right? So of course you want them to be happy. You feel bad, and then you get depressed. Depression and anxiety walk hand in hand. One day you just stop going out to places, only hanging out with your friends at their houses, and only if it’s one-on-one.
At least once, though, you’ll be forced out into the public. A friend or a family member will, usually with good intentions, drag you to the movies or the mall, or the grocery store, and it automatically starts happening. You’re looking at people, but only because you’re sure they’re looking at you because they’re thinking something terrible about you, or that they want to kill you. (Or is that just me?) You get to the front desk of wherever you are, and you’re sure the cashier is looking at you with disgust. You’ll plead “come on, can we just go?” And of course you’ll be given a dirty look from your friend, and then ignored. Your heart starts beating quicker and it’s getting harder to breathe because now everybody is staring at you. Finally you just numb yourself and wait until it’s over. The only thing that is running through your mind is “What is this, and how do I make it stop?”
This is what social anxiety looks like, and you beat it by fighting. You’re a fighter, you have come too far to give up now. It may never stop, but don’t you ever give up. You’ve got this, we’ve got this. I’m with you.
Melanie is just an ordinary girl, living an extraordinary life. She has Spina Bifida, which caused her to be born paralyzed from the waist down, she has had twenty-three surgeries, but she has never let that stop her from achieving her dreams. Melanie was a psychology major, before being forced to drop out due to medical issues, as devastating as that was, she picked herself back up and decided to pursue her dream of being an author, she is currently working on her first small book called “Befuddled Societies guide to Spina Bifida,” which will be out in a few weeks, hopefully. Melanie also suffers from anxiety and depression, and that’s the reason she wants to help others going through the same thing – because she knows how it feels to feel all alone.
You can follow Melanie S at her Facebook page.