Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And it's just the beginning.

 My childhood was very confusing. I knew there was something different about me and yet I didn't know how to deal with it. Elementary school was a really rough time for me. I cried every time my mother left me. Sometimes the teacher would have to hold me while she left because I would hold onto my mom and not let her leave. 

 When all the children would play I always wanted to join in but was to afraid to ask. I figured if they wanted me to play with them they would have asked, so I spent many a playtime alone, playing with blocks. 

 Another big part of kindergarten experience was the bathroom. I dreaded the bathroom. The bathroom was in the classroom, which I guess is convenient when you're dealing with four and five year old's, but very inconvenient where I was concerned. Because the bathroom was in the classroom you could everything that was going on in there, and that really bothered me. I was not okay with anyone hearing me pee. So to avoid the embarrassment of letting others hear me pee, I would just pee on myself. Apparently five year old me thought peeing on myself was less embarrassing than letting others hear me pee. I peed on myself so much that my mom started packing extra clothes for me in my backpack.  

 My grades even suffered because of my SAD. I would never raise my hand, even if I knew the answer. I was always extremely embarrassed of talking in front of other people, and I hated when the teacher would pick me. And what made it worse what that I didn't understand why I was so afraid to raise my hand. I would see the other children raising their hands, ooh-ing and ah-ing for the teachers to pick on them , and I was so confused. Because class participation was a part of the grading process my grades where suffering from what I didn't understand and didn't know how to explain. 

 Middle school wasn't much better. But by that time I had come to the realization that while in most social situations I felt embarrassed an awkward, other people did not. So I begin to pretend that the things that really bothered me, didn't. I started participating more in school, although still not as much as the other students in the class. I still avoided the bathroom like the plague. Having stalls wasn't much better than the classroom bathroom. Everyone could still hear everything because of the huge gaps and the bottom of the doors. So I would just hold it until I got home (I had become a master pee holder by that point), or if couldn't avoid it, I would go during class because no one was usually in there. I made some friends that I felt comfortable enough around, and I pretended to be just like every else while in side I was still just as nervous and scared. 

 The worst part about middle school was the hormones. It was the time when other children started to get boyfriends and girlfriends, and that absolutely scared me. My friends all had dated at least one person by seventh grade and I felt like if I didn't date anyone they would know something was wrong with me. So of course I jumped on the bandwagon. The first and only relation I have ever had lasted three months.  One day he walked up to me and said, "Do you want to be my girlfriend?" and of course I said yes.When ever I saw him I was terrified, I had no idea what to do and I often avoided him. The only time I did see him was in class, and even then I barley spoke to him.  My first and only relation ended quite tragically, his friend (we'll just call him M) broke us up in front the whole class and it was extremely embarrassing. M and and my boyfriend where sitting at the table ahead of me and in front of everyone he just said  " You don't like her, she doesn't like you, so you guys aren't together anymore!" and that was the end of our relationship. But I did like him, I just didn't know how to handle a boyfriend, It was entirely too much pressure for me. 

 High school was a way better experience. I had moved to different school in eight grade so by ninth grade I was fairly comfortable with the people I knew. Class participation was still an issue as was the bathroom, but at that point in my life I had perfected the " I'm just like you" persona. I had a couple of guy friends and  when ever any talk of relationship would come up i'd flee the scene (not literary, of course). While much of my day was spent being nervous or embarrassed or scared, no one ever knew. Not even my best friends, I was too afraid to tell them. And that's not to say that high school wasn't fun, because it was. I had a blast in high school I honestly can't say there was ever a dull moment. But there was always this fear inside of me no matter what I was doing. 

 I would have to say that high school was the time when I  took the most risks with deciding how far I could push my self out of my "comfort zone" (and I use quotation marks because I use that term loosely, my real comfort zone is sitting at home by myself reading a book). I joined Art club, Key club, my schools literary magazine club, and I even went on to be the president of the National Art Honors Society. I also was a part of my schools play for three years ( just background signing and dancing)  and the last year of high school I did stage crew (I was even stage manager). But while it was fun being in the clubs and hanging out with friends I was still scared, and I still didn't know why.

 For most of my high school experience I didn't want to believe that there was anything wrong with me so I just kind of ignored it. I didn't tell my friends or my family because I didn't want to admit to myself that there was a real problem. But in twelfth grade I finally decided that I couldn't pretend anymore, because it wasn't going to go away by pretending it wasn't there. So I started doing research on different types of anxiety disorders and I  finally came across Social Anxiety disorder and it was like such a relief and burden all at the same time. It was very over whelming finally putting a name to everything I had been feeling for so long and I actually started crying. I was relived because I felt like I wasn't crazy and there was actually something making me feel the way the way that I was. And it was burden because I felt that now that it had a name it was real. And I did not want it to be real.