Social Anxiety: A Thanksgiving Weekend To Remember

SOCIAL ANXIETY: A THANKSGIVING WEEKEND TO REMEMBER

This past weekend was definitely a long one, both literally and figuratively. Not only was it actually a long weekend due to the Thanksgiving holiday (in Canada) but my social calendar was completely jam packed from dinner-time Friday night right through til dinner-time Monday night. The weekend was filled with celebration after celebration which included both family & friends. Sounds pretty magical doesn’t it? Well it would be for anyone not suffering from a social anxiety disorder.

Unless you struggle with a social anxiety disorder like I do I’m pretty certain you may not fully grasp the depths of my anguish and tribulation that come along with it and lets not forget how much effort it takes to get through. I have had some of these events from this past weekend on my calendar for weeks, if not months and if you think that helps, well unfortunately it doesn’t. It actually causes me more apprehension, more trepidation, more worry and more fear which gives me more time to anticipate, stress about and panic over.

The discomfort associated when struggling with such a condition goes far beyond just feeling awkward in social settings and like every other aspect of my mental illness, I just need you to know that I do not choose to feel this way as irrational as it may seem to many people and statistics show that social anxiety is now among one of the most common of all the mental disorders combined. Many people from time to time feel uncomfortable or nervous in social situations but when the stress of the situation goes above and beyond your normal comfort zone it can become very overwhelming.

There are many ways that having social anxiety can rear its ugly head and each individual’s situation may be different. For me it’s honestly just as simple as having to be around people (which can be extremely difficult to bypass, even as I continue to try and avoid going to many popular hotspots in and around my community), it’s having to engage in simple conversation, it’s having to enter a room filled with people whether I know them or not, it’s feeling like I don’t belong, it’s feeling like people are staring at me or judging me and it’s wishing that I could just blend in with the furniture.

I did survive this very long Thanksgiving weekend but not without experiencing every symptom associated with social anxiety at some point during the weekend. Many of the symptoms and emotions included severe heart palpitations (all day, every day), hesitation, nausea, headaches (which could have very well been due to the crappy, rainy weather or drinking alcohol which I avoided as much as possible for many reasons), shortness of breath (imagine you are drowning and trying to keep your head above the water as you intensely gasp for your next breath), irrational thoughts, crying and restlessness.

Having social anxiety can be just as frustrating and infuriating for your loved ones as it is for the individual itself who is suffering. My husband will firmly attest to this, especially on a weekend that he and my children were looking so forward to enjoying. I know it was not easy on him either this weekend (nor were the days preceding it; okay let’s be honest, nor have the last 4 years) having to continually shield me, protect me and accommodate my sudden outbursts and rollercoaster of emotions due to my social anxieties, most of which I tried to keep hidden behind closed doors, only adding more stress and pressure on him (I know you’re all thinking, he’s one lucky guy!).

Although this weekend was filled with many sudden outbursts and a rollercoaster of emotions and although I didn’t get to eat any turkey or pumpkin pie (actually I hate pumpkin pie so that’s okay), it was a thanksgiving weekend I will not soon forget. I was surrounded by genuine friendship, I was embraced by genuine hugs and I felt a genuine love and acceptance by so many and that is truly a lot to be thankful for.

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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