I am a writer.
I am not an author nor am I famous and most of what I have written nobody will ever read. I write only for me and I write for God and I share those things here if I feel like God wants me to share them. What you read here may have terrible grammar, bad spelling or may not even be interesting, but it is what is on my mind so I write it down. I have journals and journals of things I’ve written and also my computer is full of things I’ve written.
Most of what I write nobody except me will see and most of the time after I write something down I never go back to it again. Writing is a release for me, a way that I process things and it’s sort of like therapy. Sometimes I write because I can’t bear to speak out loud what is really going on in my head. I don’t really like to tell other people my problems or about things that are hard for me. Though I do post small smidgen of it on this blog for the most part I don’t share a whole lot of the hard stuff. I find it really hard to share the weak side of me and I also tend to worry about what other people will think if they knew the private side of me. Today I am going to share a little bit of that side of me.
Lately what I have been writing a lot about in my journal is social anxiety, because lately my social anxiety seems to be rearing its ugly head again. Not everyone who knows me knows that I have social anxiety. I don’t really share it too much because it’s really hard to explain to people why you are afraid of something that for most people doesn’t seem scary at all.
Most people that know me don’t know that I spent a whole lot of years avoiding most social occasions. Not too many people know that even a family get together is really hard for me. Most don’t know that when I did go to a get together that I was trying my best to get through them and feeling really ill. Over the years many people have probably come to know me as a snob because I usually will not ride in a car with a group, go on a shopping trip with a group, sit close with people in church or meetings or even attend meetings or classes if I can find a way to get out of them. Just about anything that requires me to stay put in a room with more than one person will panic me. If you were to put me in the front row at church and I can almost guarantee you I will get sick at my stomach and have to leave the room within 10 minutes or less. Weddings, baby showers, and even funerals were all source of panic for me.
5 years ago I managed to walk into a church with the help of Jesus and over the last 5 years I felt like I was on the right path growing in my faith making friends and making huge leaps and bounds away from my social anxiety. For the first time in my life I was really feeling like I was living a life. Starting to make friends and attending meetings and church and being able to be in large groups of people again. I was truly feeling really good about my life. For once the separation and loneliness I have always felt because of this was pretty much, but not totally gone and I was a part of things, a part of living social again. For the first time ever though I still will not sit in the front row my social anxiety has been manageable.
Over the course of this past year my social anxiety has gradually started up again and the panic attacks are back full force in social settings. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed so bad in social situations that I have had to leave, one Sunday morning during my pastor’s 20 minute sermon I left 3 times. The third time I almost went home but decided I couldn’t leave I had to go back in because the thing is this time around I realize that no matter what I have to keep going back in.
I know all this may sound crazy to most people, and I have found that most people that I have told about this do not understand. No matter how much I try to explain it they just don’t get it, the truth is I don’t even get it. I have had many people tell me that I need to just get over it that everything in life is not about me. My response is how? It is not something I can just make go away. Believe me if it were that easy it would be long gone! Another odd thing is this… I can walk through my churches lobby area and talk to everyone and I feel great and comfortable but the minute I go in the sanctuary and shut the doors for the service that is when I sometimes suddenly I become panicky.
Last month I went to Haiti on a mission trip. I wasn’t scared or nervous one bit about going or the whole time I was there. While there I rode cram packed in a van and slept 4 people to a room. We spent 24 hours a day for 7 full days together and not one time did I feel even a twinge of panic. Today at church, myself, along with those same people I went to Haiti with, are supposed to give a presentation during church about our trip. I have been so nervous thinking about it. For a month now I have dreaded it and today is finally the day. When I was going to Haiti I had family members upset and worried about my safety in Haiti, but I wasn’t worried about that one bit. I had peace and calm and was excited but now that it’s over and I have stand in front of my church for 20 minutes I am petrified. To top that off the person in charge has asked us to all sit in the front row during the rest of the service to save time when it time for us to go up there. So now not only do I have to stand in front of the church, but I also have to sit in the front row for about a half an hour before we actually go up. And we have 3 services which means we will be doing this 3 times!
Living a life for God has probably been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life because living for him means I have to step out of my comfort zone and trust. Trust is something that is really hard for me, but the one person I do fully trust is God. That was one of the first things I ever noticed about God is that I can trust him and he will never leave me and will always guide me and help me through the hard stuff.
The more I get closer to God it seems like the more I find myself in situations that require me to be brave and sometimes I still do bolt but I know I can’t keep doing that. I do know that when I get close and good things seem to be happening in my life it seems as if that is when satan attacks me and he know my weakest spot is my social anxiety and I refuse to let him win. I have been praying that Jesus will take my hand today and give me the peace to do whatever it is He wants me to do and I know He can. I can’t make the nervousness go away by myself, only He can do that and I am counting on His peace today.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13
I’ll be back later to tell you how it goes.
Have a blessed day,