We All Start Somewhere
My parents always told me that I was an easy kid. I didn’t cry very much or draw on the walls, I rarely questioned their authority. There are so many stories of insightful things I said and did, things like declaring that JFK Jr. and his girlfriend had died before the rest of the world knew for sure at only four years old from the back seat of my mom’s car. I’ve always been very comfortable around my parents, with them I’m a comedian, an outspoken teenager who enjoys deep conversations and sharing her opinion. The problem is that, even from a young age, I was always fairly shy. The first problems I actually noticed were troubles offering my thoughts at family functions, while everyone else was so comfortable speaking out, I also realized that it was extremely difficult for me to make phone calls or be alone with even my family members (other than my mom, dad, and one of my grandmas- who was a third parent to me). The phone call thing started to scare me before all other issues arose. When I was younger my parents expected me to call my grandma (my dad’s mom) who I was not that close with. It was so difficult for me that I would pretend to forget. I also find it nerve-wracking to call and order pizza or even go through drive-thrus still to this day, at 18 years old. My dad often gets upset with me when I am unable to call my grandmother, my aunts/uncles, and my cousins for him when we are in the car or I need to ask them a question. I always try to get my parents to make such calls for me, but now that I’m in college it’s more difficult than ever to have that problem dealt with.
There were plenty of sings in addition to my phone call phobias that could have acted as warning signs for worse problems to come. As I was reading Emily Ford’s book What You Must Think of Me, I identified with several of the things she said she wasn’t able to do. For example, she states, “I no longer knew how high to raise my hand in class, and asking to excuse myself to use the bathroom seemed like the most embarrassing task in the world.” When I read this passage to one of my friends, he said, “No one would judge you for peeing.” This statement is such a big deal for me because it proves that these intense fears I have are really in my head, that’s exactly what Social Anxiety is. My fears are excessive, and I realize that, but I can not control them. They’re real fears for me because I’m not “just shy” as my father would say, I’m not “anti-social” I have a real problem, and I need real help.
I could go on and on about all of the pitfalls I had as a child, all of things in my life that could have warned me of the bigger issues that came with my anxiety issues, but I won’t bore you with all of that.
Instead I’ll leave you with the fact that I emailed my university’s counseling center, because of my fears regarding phone calls, and was told that I have to call in order to set up an appointment. This seems strange to me because my original email included that fact that I’d really like to schedule an appointment regarding anxiety issues that I have, and was told that I must make the phone call. Why? Why is a phone call the only means of securing help for my problems? Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to write down exactly what it is I wish to say, rehearse it a few times, and then give it my best shot. One way or another I will get help, it’s time. Wish me luck!