Social Anxiety- Hidden Disease: I was 24 when I got my license

Many of us suffer from hidden diseases, you can't tell that you are sick, you may not even know what you are going through and more times people think you are making excuses. Sadly many of us go through life feeling hopeless and constantly wonder "what is wrong with me?", some over come these hidden monsters while some just continue to live life as much as possible. 
Hi my name is Alyssa and I suffer from social anxiety. Unlike many I know I didn't always fear being around groups of people or sitting next to a stranger, I grew into it. In school I was the popular kid, I always had a spot at the lunch table surround by friends but after high school it all changed. I got a job and everything was fine (at first), I enjoyed going to work and helping customers but as the years went on I started to get nervous when a new customer would walk in. It continued to get worse, I'd pray for a quick check out just so I wouldn't have to create small talk. I never imagined that I, the once popular teenager would turn into the adult with no friends because she has a hard time meeting new people.

"My mind got the best of me for nearly 7 years"

Then came the biggest moment that my social anxiety controlled and that was my freedom, my ability to get around and to go as I pleased. My social anxiety stopped me from getting my license like a normal adult. I watched just barely teenagers walk around with their permits and then a year later walk out with a license to jump in mommy or daddy's care to take on a joy ride. There I was 24 years old and hiding the fact that I relied on everyone else to get me around. The moment came where I was told "you need to do this, even if you choose not to drive you need to do it."

Weeks went by waiting for the drivers test, everyone assumed I was some criminal who lost her license, the truth almost felt worse. I remember how nervous I was knowing I would have to sit in the car next to someone I never met who would watch my every movement. I feared I was going to get that nervous leg shaking thing that happens to me when I'm in a small place with a complete stranger. I worried I was going to fail simply due to the fact I was scared of being next to this woman, I almost walked out without taking my test. 
There I was a 24 year old woman, a mother of 3, doing what teenagers do. I took my driving test for the first time and passed. I was upset, my mind got the best of me for nearly 7 years, I could have had some freedom for 7 years but instead I was trapped in worry.

I will continue to aim to not allow social anxiety to control my life. I will push myself to get out there and take chances, worst case I'm nervous to talk to someone sitting next to me and I start to get over my fear. 

Alyssa Waters

3 comments:

Jen G said...

Very inspiring!

Michele P. said...

My 24 yr old son suffers from this, and it has been a rough road for him with school and in public. Thanks for the inspiring post, I am gonna copy it and show him...

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! I'm about that age and don't drive yet. This helps. Thanks for sharing your story.

-Dee