Anxiety. Possibly “Millennials” most common problem. It seems like everyone has it, but when you look at the people around you in the immediate vicinity of your social circle or family, nobody understands.
I have been shy for as long as I can remember. When I was four, I would hide under beds when distant relatives would come over. I didn’t want to talk to or interact with anybody new. I liked having routines and spending time with the people that I knew and felt comfortable around. I still do. I didn’t start realizing that this was a problem until every SINGLE day before I was dropped off at my middle school, I would have the worst stomach aches and nausea. My mom would have to sit in the parking lot with me in the car for about ten minutes every morning before it would subside so I could walk in to class. I now realize that I was having anxiety attacks. I was never bullied, I had many friends and I did well in school (when I would show up). I just figured that it was because I ate too much breakfast or not enough. When it got to high school, it got pretty bad in ninth grade. All of the worries starting high school such as, finding all of my classes, who will I talk to in each of my classes, who will I sit with at lunch, came flooding into my head. I never had a strong grasp on self confidence until I reached the age of about 20 or 21. It is VERY hard for me to make friends with out having a friend in common to break the ice. I am a social awkward mess otherwise. I hate small talk because I never can think of anything interesting to say. College was hard because I never really made any strong friendships and didn’t join any clubs. I isolated myself to class, work then home to my boyfriend. Right now I find myself with not many strong friendships and the ones that I do have, are ones I have had for years and we just seem to be growing apart for various reasons.
Common thoughts and questions of an (this) anxiety ridden 23 year old:
- “This person probably thinks I am the most boring human being to grace the earth”
- “I need to act like I know everything so people don’t find out that I am stupid”
- “I’m going to get fired today, I know it.”
- “I cannot go anywhere alone, somebody might try to start a conversation with me”
- “Oh no, the phone is ringing. What if the person on the other end thinks I’m incompetent?”
- “My best friend doesn’t care that I feel depressed today, I shouldn’t text her and bother her”
Other than these thoughts I have on an every day basis, I am just ALWAYS anxious. Sometime I will find my self sitting in bed, watching Netflix and my heart rate spikes and all of sudden I feel nervous, but I have no idea why. Are all of my chores done? Will my boyfriend think I’m a lazy slob when he comes home from work because I am not doing anything? Should I call my mom? Should I call my dad? I feel bad for not responding to that Facebook message my Aunt sent me a month ago, but I really don’t want to start a conversation with her because then she will try to sell me some of her pyramid scheme products and I don’t know how to say no. Guys, I’m exhausted. Starting a job where I have to answer phone calls and be in front of customers all day has helped with my confidence in social interactions tremendously. But if I’m not “on the job”, I try to avoid most social interactions and stay home or go somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of people.
I have done a lot of self introspection and went through as many past experiences in my life as I can remember. I cannot find a catalyst for my behavior. I think it is something that I have inherited from my parents. In the past 3 years I have discovered that my mother and my brother both suffer from these same thoughts and feelings. My brother was hospitalized 3 years ago for an extreme anxiety attack. He still doesn’t talk about his anxiety a lot but I have gotten my mom to open up about it. She was surprised when I told her that I have anxiety all of the time. I try not to diagnose myself with “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” but I don’t have any other way of explaining it. It is mostly brought on by social situations but it is also just looming there all the time and can be triggered by random worries or thoughts. It is something that I am working through every day and exposing myself to more situations so I don’t limit myself.
Putting all of this out there is weird because I really don’t talk about myself that often, because I figure it’s boring and that most other people don’t want to here about it. Typing this out makes me feel better. Of course, it is all a little scatter brained and I probably didn’t say all that I wanted to say, but it feels good.