I’ve never considered myself and introvert, not really. When I was a small child I was somewhat shy, I did not have very many friends, but I still wouldn’t say I was an introvert. Not that I am the life of the party, the belle of the ball, by no means …but by the time I attended High School I was pretty outgoing and had a nice group of friends. I enjoyed going places with my friends and having fun. I never worried about the “what if’s” in life. Nor did I suffer from anxiety disorder.
It wasn’t until I reached the age of 50 that I begin to have problems with anxiety. It begin actually right before my 50th birthday. I suppose looking back at all the things that came before that particular point in my life, to lead up to that time, I should have seen it coming. Anticipated the inevitable and possibly received some help to cope with all that I was going through. The short of it is, is that I now have anxiety. My anxiety comes and goes. I am not one to take medicine easily. I do not like to depend on medicine and prefer a more natural approach. Therefore I chose NOT to take a pill for anxiety on a daily basis. I manage to control it, for the most part, and only take a bit of a little orange pill if a situation arises.
My anxiety comes in several forms – fear of traveling, closed in places (feeling of being trapped) and of being in an area where there are large groups of people, such as at a major concert or sporting event. I guess you could say claustrophobia. If I am anywhere that I feel I can’t move about or get away (out) easily I become nervous, worried, anxious and yes …here comes a panic attack. Fortunately for me, this does not happen often, as I have learned to overcome fear in these situations by either dealing with it head on (with the help of my little orange pill, if needed) or avoiding the situation all together. Which is easy to do, largely because I live in a small city of only about 30,000 population wise.
I have become very comfortable in my little area. I go to work, I go to the grocery store and around town, I go home. And so it goes …The problem with this is that I have created such a nice anxiety free safe haven that I never want to leave. In doing so I have become an introvert of sorts, or maybe just a homebody if you will. When something out of my comfort zone comes up, I tend to decline the invitation. Lately though, I feel as if life is passing me by. I am not living by experiencing all that I can.
My youngest son plays Soccer. He plays in high school and on a club soccer team. His club soccer team travels to surrounding areas in the metropolitan Houston area which is about 55 miles south of my little haven. There are times when I do not go to watch my son play soccer. Going would mean I would have to travel to Houston, a large city full of traffic and people, lots and lots of both. Knowing my fear of being stuck in heavy traffic and not being able to move, go anywhere for periods of time (I know, sounds silly huh?) I choose to stay home. Once, we all got in the car to go and were about 5 miles out-of-town headed towards Houston when the panic set in. I could not do it, I could not go. We had to turn the car around and take me back home while the rest of my family went. At home, I cried and cried knowing that I would be missing priceless moments watching my son play.
But NOT this past weekend! Here lately I am saying enough is enough! My son played in The Director’s Cup Soccer Tournament in Bear Creek – Houston. I was determined I was going and that the anxiety would not stop me from doing so. The anxiety built all morning; butterflies fluttered, my stomach twisted in knots. About 30 minutes before we got ready to leave I thought about not going …felt like I would not be able to do it. I decided to take a 1/4 of a Valium to calm my nerves and push on. Ten minutes in to the trip I though of turning back …feeling the panic welling up inside of me. No! Not this time! Not today anxiety! You will not win! I will think happy thoughts and not let this anxiety get the best of me. It worked!! About 30 minutes later, mind over matter and the effect of the valium, I was doing okay. I knew I was going to make it!
Make it I did. I rode through the heavy traffic, pushed through the crowd at the tournament, and watched my son not only play soccer but go on to win first place in the tournament.
I experienced many emotions throughout the trip this weekend. Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not knowing if I could do this and what the day would bring. Pride. Pride for my son and his accomplishments on the field. Pride for myself and my accomplishment of overcoming my fear. Joy. Joy in seeing the happiness on my son’s face as they placed the medal around his neck. Joy in knowing I was there to experience this moment in his life. Yes, it was a good weekend for all. This weekend was about overcoming obstacles, moving forward and yes, winning!
My son receiving his medal
Until next time …
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