Well, this is my first blog. I'm really glad I found AnxietyTribe – I didn't know any online communities for anxiety sufferers existed. It really helps to know that I'm not the only one going through this. Some of the posts in the forum – I could have written them myself, because they mirror my experience exactly. It helps to know that I am not just messed up in the head, or just not trying hard enough – That my feelings are a result of this condition which is shared by millions of others. Being isolated, it's easy to feel as if I'm the only one going thru this.
I came here because I'm going thru a bit of a rough patch right now. About 5 – 6 years ago, my anxiety started to become a problem, which stopped me enjoying an active social life. I went to parties, pub gatherings, out with friends – That all came to a grinding halt. I didn't understand what was happening to me, and it got so bad that I became agoraphobic for 10 months or so.
I eventually had therapy and went on Effexor, which helped alot and I managed to overcome the agoraphobia and get a social life back.
Things have never been that bad, since then. Probably because I know what to look out for, and how to manage my feelings better. However, I am going thru a rough patch at the moment. My anxiety is worse than it has been for awhile, and it's restricting my life. I'm not going out as much as I should, at the moment. I have started to take baby steps again, to get myself used to going out more, without experiencing a full-blown panic attack.
My progress has been hindered by god-awful hayfever, these last 2 months… I mean, it's been unbelieveably bad! I live opposite the countryside, with fields of long grass. My nose has been running like a faucet, I've had asthma attacks several times a day, coughing fits, puffy eyes, etc.
The other day, I nearly had to go to hospital, because of a severe allergy attack… My sinuses swelled completely shut (horrible feeling), and my throat swelled, too…. I needed 5 puffs of my inhaler – If I hadn't have had it, I would've needed an ambulance, or CPR, since I couldn't breathe any air in… I'm not joking!
Anyway, because of this, I haven't wanted to go out much to take my "baby steps"… However, it's now the tail end of the hayfever season, and I'm starting to feel much better. So, I'm going to make the effort to go out more often. I'm determined not to let things get as bad as they were a few years ago… No way am I going in that deep, dark pit again! So, I will do what I need to.
The tough part is overcoming my social anxiety. I'm very ill-at-ease in big groups and always have been. They are not my cuppa tea at all. However, I'm great in smaller groups and one-to-one. Maybe, I should just concentrate on easier situations for now, and wait until I'm feeling stronger, before throwing myself in the deep end?
One thing I know that helps me feel better, is having friends or family around me, or a boyfriend. The times when I've had these in my life – It's like I suddenly became a different person… Positive and charged with enthusiasm. I would be going out and doing loads of different things… Even if I was afraid, I would do it, because I knew the reward was having friendship and company. It sucks that my anxiety has made it harder for me to meet people…. I lost touch with most of my friends from the old days – And now I have no-one to go out and do things with – even though I would like to.
I think the isolation and loneliness only makes me worse. Being deaf also makes it harder for me to get talking to people and make new friends.
I really think that, if I hadn't had these barriers to meeting people, I wouldn't have slipped so far down into depression and anxiety.
Anyway, I know my life is never gonna be an easy one. There will always be struggles. However, I hope I can at least forge some semblance of a happy life.