- Mental Health
Social Phobia Keeps Me Inside
The vicious cycle of mental/emotional illness
Imagine yourself walking into a room full of people. You look into the sea of the unknown and only blurry images of faces whip past you at warp speed. Your hands are sweaty and you can't take a deep breath to save your life. Your heart starts pumping so rapidly and excitedly, you're thinking everyone else MUST hear it too! All of a sudden, every blurry human image in the room is staring right at you. Their eyes burning into you, as if you were escorted by Charles Manson.
By this time you feel like someone has just thrown a hatchet into your chest. You honestly believe that you are having a heart-attack, and will soon die. Your mouth is watering and you feel as if you'll vomit. You take some breaths to control your lunch from making an encore presentation.
At this point you can't even remember why you are there. It takes a moment to compose yourself. After your mind begins to settle down, you're free to feel embarrassed and tell yourself that there's no point to your life. You don't want to END your life, but you certainly cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You finally gain enough emotional strength to enter the room, and you realize that you're at your child's wrestling practice. Most of the people in the room know you, or know of you. When you live in a small town where most of the people are related somehow, or whose families have been friendly for decades, you tend to cringe at the thought that they may have heard about your latest faux pas, and they all know who you REALLY are.
You may look cool on the outside, like you're only focused on your child (you really want to be focused only on your child) as they're carousing around with their peers and putting the John Cena head-lock on each other. Some of them cry and run to their mothers. You may see that out of the corner of your eye, but the entire time you are in that room, you are wondering who is looking at you and what they know about you!
When the event is finally over, you try to be the first one out of the room, but there are too many people. As you stand in the sea of people, waiting to reach the door, you are internally sickened by the thought that some of these people might not like you. You want everyone to like you. You are a good person who has made some bad choices. You are no different than every single one of those people, you just tell yourself that you are.
Now imagine that almost every time you go to Wal Mart, every time you go to the gas station, every time you get groceries, this same scenario coldly replays itself....would YOU go out?
I have spent nearly every moment of my life, trying to make someone happy. Trying to excite someone, trying to get someone to love me for who I am. In my heart I know that I am a very intelligent, loving, giving, compassionate, beautiful (inside and out), empathetic, yet utterly confused woman. I have many gifts. I believe that there was a lack of acceptance in my life somewhere. Why would I care what other people think otherwise? Complete strangers no less! It affects every single move I make in life. Alot of the time I don't feel good enough for anyone.
I've been diagnosed with 2 different anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), ADD, and a social phobia. And this has all been in the last couple of years. I am 32 now. I was a complete mess most of my life. I didn't know my butt from a hole in the ground. My sister and I were very sheltered. Mom was an alcoholic and we were raised by every Tom, Dick, and Mary that mom could find to babysit us. She was gone most nights actually, even during the week.
While mom was out on her weekly bar visits, my sister and I were molested by mom's boyfriend. I was age 5-8. My sister was 2-5. This was a man that I watched beat my mother totally unconcious, and then come barrelling towards me down our narrow, trailer-house hallway, holding a rifle! He grabbed my baby kittens and one by one, threw them out the back door into the air, and shot them midflight. And it was AFTER this event, that my mom gave him weekend visitation with me and my sister. We spent every other weekend with him!
One other instance I will share with you is one of the worst. After my mother and step-dad (different step-dad than earlier) partied with some friends at our home one night, one of their friends decided to pay us a visit. My step-dad drove truck over the road and would be out of state for two days every other week. The next time he was on the road, after this party they threw at home, one of the men that was there partying that night, chose to come back, knowing dad was gone. This particular evening mom had been out for awhile. We had a neighbor girl babysitting and mom just decided to have her spend the night since she didn't arrive home until 1 or 2 a.m.. I fell asleep in mom's bed long before she got home. In the middle of the night I heard a jingling noise. It sounded a bit like my cat's little plastic toy balls with bells inside them. But it seemed a little strange to me (I was 8 years old then and I still remember what I was feeling at the time). I heard a couple other unknown, but quiet sounds. After a bit I woke mom up and told her to turn the lamp on. She reached up to turn it on and for some odd reason it had been unplugged! All of a sudden I hear my mother struggling to talk and the bed is shaking back and forth and up and down. I sat there in pitch-black darkness, wondering what was happening to my mommy. I think I was calling out to her but I'm not sure. The sick part is that this guy heard me talking to my mother, didn't know which side of the bed I was on, and still continued on his sick mission. He was choking my mother!
Finally mom found the strength to kick him where it counts. This person hit the wall and took off out the door. After sitting on the bed in shock for hours, waiting for the police to get done with their investigation, I somehow found the courage to leave the bedroom and rove around the house. We figured out that this guy had been at our house days prior, that he stripped down naked in my mothers room, covered himself with our rug and left his boots and coat in our foyer when he left. This tore me up emotionally.
I am finally beginning to learn and grow. I have newfound confidence that otherwise may not have emerged, had I not made some drastic life decisions. I still suffer with the social phobia, but nothing like I described in the beginning of this hub. Unfortunately I had to cease contact with toxic people in my life, even though I love them. It's the best thing I've ever done for myself! My husband helped me see that I am worth more than a life full of neediness. I was living on false hope, thinking these toxic people would ever be satisfied with anything I did.
I don't want to blame my mother for my life. That is such an annoying cliche. So many people use their parents as an excuse. Maybe that's what I'm doing, I don't know. But you learn what you live, I am living proof of that.
For now, I still retreat from going outside much. I do so as little as possible. I go grocery shopping in the evening when nobody is there, and I only go to Wal Mart if I'm feeling confident that day. I always run into people I know there, and most of the time I will do anything to avoid that. I don't want others to see what a "failure" I am.
Every day is a struggle, but I have to say that the struggle becomes easier and easier to bare. I was an emotional mess from the moment I found out that my biological father had passed away, never knowing I was his. Since then I've spoken with his wife of 30 years and their four children, my four new siblings, very often. In fact I flew by myself for the first time recently, halfway across the country (MN to OR) to see them. I stayed with my (only) sister and we bonded immediately. I've never experienced anything like it! There was such a gaping hole in my heart where they should've been. Now it's almost completely whole again. Thank God!!
There IS hope for those of you who may suffer in this way. Don't give up, go to a good therapist, and continue to see that therapist. Find a good friend or other support person that knows your situation and can help you in your plight to "heal".
God will love you and be by your side no matter what!
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