Surprise Guest Post: The Power of Social Anxiety

Morning EVERYONE! I have the pleasure of presenting you with a surprise guest post today! It comes from my friend Rayven who is an incredibly talented writer. She is able to paint a picture in your head with her words (something that I am not so great at). She has an amazing writing style that reaches out to the readers.

Check out her blog at http://moonstruckmicrocosm.wordpress.com for more of her work. She posts everything from personal stories, advice, and poetry! She is very talented, so check her out.

Lastly, my eventual goal for this blog is make it a massive self-help/advice resource for everyone to use. I want more guest posters with unique perspectives on life. If you would like to write on my blog, I would LOVE to have you! Please contact me via Ask a Question page and I would love to hear some of your ideas.

So without further ado, I present to you her article!

Social anxiety became the friend I always needed.

Frustration lingering in the air,
tastes bitter but I cannot sweeten it with my voice.
The perception of reality dissolves around me,
and I become trapped within myself.

For a time, writing was the only thing that made me feel heard. It was the only time I wasn’t afraid to speak. I mean really speak. I was silenced everywhere else, and the worst part about the silence was that it was predominantly caused by an internal source.

silence

I couldn’t be myself; I was trapped in a cloud of anxiety, constantly worrying.

Social anxiety (or social phobia) made me afraid to be who I was, even to people I had known for years. The crippling doubt and fear I felt when I tried to speak was enough to keep me curled up and hiding within myself.

On the outside I was smiling, but self-hatred was swimming around in my head.

Being shy meant needing a bit more time to adjust; having social anxiety meant adjusting was not an option.

Blushing, heart palpitations, tunnel vision, sweating, dry mouth, and more would be a constant reminder of how incapable I was. If I knew I had to talk about something, I would spend hours rehearsing what I was going to say. After the conversations, I would painfully replay them in my head, picking them apart and berating myself for every mistake I thought I had made.

And I always walked away from interactions thinking I looked a fool.

Luckily, social anxiety is not who I am. It’s not who anyone is. We so often attribute the flaws in ourselves to who we are as people, but that is not the case.

After struggling for years and after my doctor convinced me I had to seek help for myself, I sought a therapist through my university. I was lucky to have her as my guiding light. I set myself free in that room and it seeped into everyday life.

butterflies

Social anxiety became a challenge rather than an inherent part of who I was. By seeing it as external I could fight it without shaming myself in the process. The burning in my face when I spoke in class was a source of pride rather than humiliation, because it meant I was dealing with it rather than letting it hold me back.

I still struggle with it sometimes, but I am a much more confident person and the progress I have made keeps me fighting.

You are not your depression, or your anxiety, or anything else that seeks to suppress you. Think of them as friends who need love and care, as you do. Embrace them and accept them, help them rise above, but always allow for mistakes.

Mistakes lead to lessons. Each time you try, whether it leads to success or failure, you are laying down a new brick in your path. You are always making progress, just be sure to fight for the progress you want.

A little boy who gave me hope

“Hope. Sometimes It’s all that you have.
When you have nothing else, if you have it, you have everything.”

The memories are hazy.

I was laying in my hospital bed. God only knows how long I had been hooked up to this IV.

The procedure usually takes six to eight hours, but because of a mistake the hospital made we were now somewhere past the twenty four hour mark.

I hated this hospital, every time I came here something bad happened. I would always beg my mom to take me to a different hospital but we couldn’t drive all the way to Toronto every time I had to get a transfusion.

I was eight years old.

This was about a year after I was diagnosed with my blood disorder. We made trips to the hospital at least two times a week. It was a very dark point in my life, I felt like I had no hope.

Every time we would talk to the specialists they would throw around the idea of removing my spleen, there was a 50% chance that would put me in remission.

I would have to take pills for the rest of my life. Even at the age of eight I knew that was an obligation I would have a hard time sticking to.

So we tried other things.

We tried natural remedies, a disgusting drink with chunks of something that would have me gagging every time I had to take it.

They put me on pills that made me gain weight and have uncontrollable mood swings. I once broke down into tears while I was watching Sunday morning cartoons.

Countless needles and a year later here I was, laying in this bed.

The worst part was the frustration of being trapped.

There was a needle in my left hand with a board taped to my arm to stop it from moving.

I was attached to a pole on wheels that held all the equipment.
Even going to the bathroom was near impossible.

But something happened that day that has affected me deeply ever since.

A little boy and his mom approached my bed.

The boy was younger than me, maybe five or six. His mom said something like “My son saw that you are sad, and he wanted to give you this.”

He handed me a teddy bear.

I don’t remember what the boy or his mom looked like. I don’t remember their voices, the expressions on their face, or much at all really. But I remember that I felt truly happy when he gave me this gift.

I’m not going to say after this incident it was all rainbows and sunshine, but it gave me something intangible. I’m not even sure what word to use. Call it hope, courage, faith, the feeling of someone caring.

All I know is after that incident, I would find myself seeing things in a new light. Instead of saying “It’s hopeless” I would say “If that little boy can be brave, why can’t I?”

Sometimes I still feel like my eight year old self.

Except now I lay in my own bed. There is no needle in my hand or board strapped to my arm. Instead I am trapped by my fears, anxieties, emotions and worries.

But I still have that teddy bear from fifteen years ago. Every once and while I look at it and think to myself.
“If that little boy could, why can’t I?”

He still gets a chill spot in my bed after 15 years. ILY little buddy.

Never let lousy people affect you again

I’ve never told anyone this, but I have an alter ego.

When I rip off my shirt I have a giant “O” on my chest. I am Captain Obvious, because I am one hundred percent sure that you already know what I am about to tell you.
I know, it’s not as exciting as the super hero I met last week.

Some people are lousy.

From head to toe some people are just horrible. My friend calls them “Unsavory” which is fitting because after you experience a lousy person you have this disgusting aftertaste in your mouth. BLEH. Nasty.

There are many different ways that people can be lousy to you. People will lie to you, cheat you, ditch you, and even hate on you. People would snatch the gum right out of your mouth if you yawned in front of them.

stealing-letters

It can be hard to deal with these people.

No matter what you do, it seems you always get the short end of the stick and they don’t give a damn. The worst part is that sometimes this person is awesome and they have just one really crappy personality trait. How can you justify hating them then?

So how do you deal with these people? How can you fix the problem with the least possible amount of stress and negative emotion?

Every time you are angry or frustrated with someone you are allowing them to take up a bit of your mental energy.

They are just fine, thinking about whatever lousy things they are thinking about, and you are sitting around stewing in your anger. You must change the way you think about the whole situation.

“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
-Mary Engelbreit

One of my biggest pet peeves is being ditched. I loathe people who say they are going to do something and then bail at the last minute. I have a couple friends like this. Hell, I have lost some friends because of it. I liked them a lot, I just got tired of being dissapointed.
Now I don’t even get to enjoy the random conversations we would have had.

You have to realize this is the way that person is.

Once they have shown that side of themselves, you can’t be surprised when it happens again.

If you know they are a liar, don’t put stock in anything they say. If you know that they ditch people all the time, you can still ask them to come out, but don’t get your hopes up. You are angry because you refuse to see the pattern and you have unrealistic expectations.
You are lying to yourself.

I still become a little upset the first time someone shows a lousy side of themselves, but after that I adjust. I’m not saying that if someone does something lousy that you have to stop talking to this person, I’m actually advocating the opposite. Just realize that not all people are perfect and you shouldn’t expect anything more than who they are.

The closer you get to seeing the clear picture of this person, the more you should adjust the role you allow them to play in your life; how much of you mental space you allow them to take up. If someone is lousy make sure you don’t hinge much of you happiness on them.

will smith

There are a lot of lousy people out there and a lot of people have lousy qualities.

I’m not perfect. In fact I have spent most of my life being the crappiest person I know. I doubt you are perfect either.

So, if you know that you have lousy traits, why expect anyone else to be free of blemishes. They just have different imperfections than you.

Life is all about moderation.

Give everyone an equal chance. Speak ill of no one. Minimize those that drain you and expand on those that empower you. Never dwell on the negatives and never let negative people drag you into the mud.

Allow people to play whatever role they play in your life, though the great part is that you get to choose how big that role is.

After all, you are the director of your life.
Don’t let it be a lousy one.

 

Why bother arguing on the internet?

Opinionated – conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions.

By Bloxy062 on Deviant Art
By Bloxy062 on Deviant Art

There is so much anger and negativity on the internet.

I recently activated my Facebook account again. I had shut it down a while ago because it stopped serving any purpose and seemed to be a waste of time. I activated it so I could try to share my blog with more people, but ever since I started visiting the website I have been disturbed by it.

Every time I sign on I see so many arguments laced with poisonous words. People attacking other people simply because they have differing opinions.

I’m not saying that I am above it all, I’m human as well.
It’s not that I don’t have opinions, I’m just not opinionated.

When you attack someone else’s beliefs, you can never change their mind.

What I prefer to do instead is to learn why they hold the beliefs they do. I act like the student and they are the teacher. I approach the situation as if we are old friends discussing the matter. That way, when you come to a point with which you disagree, they have shared their side and you can now share yours.

If you choose to verbally attack them, they will just become more closed off to your ideas. They might even disregard future attempts by others, remembering the bad experience they had with you.
With a humble heart, you can affect people in a much more meaningful way.

There will always be someone out there saying things that upset you.

What is the point in engaging this person. When you do so you breed anger within yourself and fuel them. The anger of the internet will continue without you. If you want to have a positive impact on the world, why not LIVE your ideals instead of trying to force others to believe what you believe.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
– Mark Twain

I have seen so many people fall into misanthropy.

It makes me so sad. How is it that people base their opinion of the human race on the internet, rather than what they experience in everyday life. When I walk the streets I smile at people and do you know what usually happens?
They smile back.

When you stop caring about what goes on in another persons head, you can start to see the good in people.

Usually I try to help but in my posts, but this one is just for me.

I just needed to get this off of my chest. I guess it’s just a rant. There will probably be a lot of people who disagree with everything I say here and that’s okay.

If you believe you are fighting the good fight, then continue on. I just hate to see good people become pessimists. When the anger and hate finally takes over their soul. When they start to look down upon the bulk of society, it breaks my heart.

I believe that what you have inside you will be reflected back from the world around you. Keep joy and sincerity in your heart and don’t worry about the rest. Take a walk, smile at a stranger, and you might realize that the world around you isn’t so bad. Don’t let the world get you down.
The fights will continue on without you.

How to enjoy things you hate

Today I pet my cat.

Alright that might not seem like very much to you but usually I hate petting my cats. They shed, they won’t leave me alone after I’m done, and they seem to constantly shuffle out of arms reach. So why is it that I was petting my cat for almost forty five minutes today?
He looked sad.

I couldn’t help it, his eyes said “All I want is some attention, please.” I feel that way sometimes, I think everyone does. All he does all day is wander around the house. During the summer he goes out, but I live in Canada, with all the snow it’s hard out there for a kitty. He ventures out sometimes, but quickly regrets it. What does he do with the rest of his time? Does he just lay around and stare at the walls? I’d go mad I think.
Does he get bored? Does he feel neglected?

I don’t enjoy asking those questions. The possible answers make me uncomfortable. What if I’m letting him down by never giving him any attention? Do his feelings towards me change? More questions, I have no answers. I’m sure someone has answers, but I am not that person.

But, I was petting him now. He was happy, and honestly, I was as well. Just as I had reflected his state of melancholy, I could now feel myself reflecting his excitement. I had always hated the act of petting him, every part of it. But now I realized that no matter what, in seeing his spirits lift, mine lifted as well. I could be delusional, I don’t mind. I think I am going to approach every interaction with this state of mind.

I like to imagine that each person has a light bulb of feel good. When we help others to shine, we don’t have to work so hard to light up our surroundings. Imagine if everywhere you went you helped make one person shine brighter. Your smile to a stranger, might cause them to smile more often towards other strangers, who knows where it could spread.

When you make others happy, you are making the world a brighter place. It may not seem like much but I promise you, on your dark days, it can save you.

Does my cat actually have feelings and thoughts? I’m not smart enough to know the answer, but I know that when I was petting him, he was happy. And so was I.
Love you hide ❤