I think I have always had a degree of social anxiety. It was just referred to as shyness when I was young. And shy I was. I never wanted to be singled out in any way. Hated to read out loud for my turn in class. I knew I would stumble on a word and everyone (or at least some) would laugh at me. As I grew up and cliques were a thing, I was a part of the loser’s clique – those not into sports, those not quite brainiacs, not the juvenile delinquents, and not the preppy crowd.
As I grew, I still retained my shyness. That is one reason it shocked me that I could work as a cashier. But as long as the customers were friendly or on their phones indifferent, I actually enjoyed wearing the mask of a happy cashier. Until my anxiety worsened. Suddenly long lines freaked me out and I could barely check a customer out without shaking. And if there was any kind of conflict I just wanted to hide. Not the best state of mind to be in.
Maybe it was the incident where the customer threw my water bottle down on the ground that started my decline. She was pissed about a price that rang up wrong. A supervisor told her it was right, and she reached over and grabbed my bottle and reached back with it (I would have sworn she was going to hit me with it) and threw it down across the floor. I had to fill out a police report and everything on the whole thing. Being “threatened” in the workplace, certainly did NOTHING to set my mind at ease.
Now I have anxiety pills I take to keep the edge off. I no longer can work. I have panic attacks if the anxiety gets too bad. And I am unable to drive on an interstate or with lots of traffic. I have heard the term social anxiety but never been told face to face I have it… but I am sure I do. Large crowds are awful! Even a group of 4 or more can put me on edge. So, I take my meds, attempt to meditate, and am starting some very light yoga. I do all I can to make it through day by day.
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – social
Oh so shy
I’d never even meet
The teacher’s eye
I walked the halls
With my head down
And most of the time
I was wearing a frown
But school was not
As bad as it could be
I liked to learn a lot
And improve my memory
So I look back
On my yesterdays
With mixed emotions
And wistful ways
Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – school
G is for Geek
I was not popular in school. In fact I was kind of a geek. I liked to read and I would try to make it to the library often. I hated homework, so I would use my free time often to try to get it done. These things made me a bit of a geek.
Overall I was excruciatingly shy. I think it was some of my social anxiety shining through. I was the girl in glasses and braces with acne… more reason’s to not fit in. And I had untreated allergies so I always had facial tissues handy. I was a geeky girl. The only thing missing was that I was not a band geek.
People talk about wanting to go back to their teen years. I say no way. It was painfully awkward for me. Now I embrace my geekiness, I still read, still shy and I do still like to learn new things. So I am at least now Geeky and proud (aka too old to care anymore).
Follow my A to Z Challenge:
A B C D E F
She does not fit in
She is seen as peculiar
Always quiet and withdrawn
When she is really just shy
Not pretty like the rest
Her skin is flawed
Her body is not toned
She needs to lose weight
Each time they call her peculiar
It makes her weaker inside
So she will never break out of her shell
Destined to be alone in life
All because they think she is peculiar
The daily prompt of youth has me stumped. I have thrown words around for a poem. Tried to draw on the good and bad of my childhood. And even looking to a child of war in the news this week. The backspace won on all those issues. Youth, especially mine, is not an easy subject for me.
I was shy… so much so even a trip to visit grandparents, aunts and uncles I saw only twice a year would see me become extremely withdrawn. I think now looking back on it, it may have been early signs of my anxiety disorder showing through. I would hide behind my parents and have to be persuaded to speak. One on one would take at least a full day before I would open up much.
Being the shy kid at school also had its effects. I had few friends and would be picked last for team play in gym. I would always get marks on my report card to speak up and join in more. I just couldn’t, I was too terrified to be wrong. I was convinced the entire class would laugh at me. I hated reading time when we took turns reading out loud as I would stumble on words and usually hear at least one snicker in the classroom.
Just writing about the memories I feel my chest tighten and a little of that fear return. But I know what it is now. I can safely go back and look at the pain with a little knowledge. It give me a little validation for how I felt back then. And to know all the times I heard people tell me to “just get over it” were wasted words and not something broken in me.
Remember not to push the next generation. At least now we have more of an understanding of anxiety and depression issues in children as well as adults. It is not something to be shy about. On my depression and anxiety I will not shy away from speaking the truth. I am getting help and know I am not alone. None of us are. (((HUGS)))