I've been dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) for as long as I can remember. For the longest time I just assumed I was a shy, introverted person, someone who was simply not outgoing. I came to the conclusion that this was something I had to deal with. I want more than anything to be able to speak up and to put my ideas forward, but I can't. I can't even open my mouth a lot of the time. My mind is consumed with this overwhelming nervousness that I can't comprehend. Why do I feel this way? Trying to talk myself down doesn't work. It never seems to work. Family and friends can often notice that I'm in some sort of distress. Every once in a while I would try and explain what was happening with me and what I was going through. Nobody got it. People would say, "Hmmm? That sucks... That's really strange... Just try and relax... Take deep breaths... Everybody get's stressed out... Join the club... If you experience Social Anxiety Disorder, I'm sure you've heard some version of these remarks by friends, family or coworkers. Of course, it's not that simple.
The sickness in my stomach, the pounding heartbeat, the sweaty, shaky hands and the headaches are sometimes too much too bear. A few years ago I finally gathered enough courage to see a therapist. After speaking with him and taking medication, my SAD has become much easier to deal with, although it never truly goes away. There isn't a cure. I seek help wherever I can find it. Talking with family and friends is a huge help. You HAVE to speak up in order to deal with SAD. Talking is really the best medicine.
I'm so incredibly lucky to have a wife who's not only my best friend, but the most supportive person in my life. No matter how frustrating this disease may feel sometimes, I have her to lean on. It reminds me that there is hope. I'm not alone. I don't have to go through this by myself. It's so important to have someone in your life to depend on, to lean on. There's no shame in that. There's no shame in opening up. Once you're able to find the courage to confide in someone, whether it be a partner, a family member, a fiend, the loneliness of having SAD begins to evaporate.
Always remember, you're not alone.