A Little Better

There was a time when I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house. It was back when I had just Nolan, and he was less than a year old. I just couldn’t go anywhere by myself with him. It gave me intense anxiety and the even thought of it would cause me to freak out {inwardly}.
So, we stayed home. We played together, kept to ourselves. I went for walks, but just with him in his stroller…or my one friend who had a car and a baby would come over.
{But that wasn’t until much later, when Nolan was about 7 months old}.

My cousin recommended I check out the EYC, but I couldn’t and didn’t. I just…stayed home. Cleaning, cooking, playing with Nolan. Going insane from boredom but literally unable to force myself outside to any of the programs set up for moms and young kids. 
Believe it or not, but I was the kid on the play ground that wasn’t shy of anybody and was able to easily make friends. Then I went to middle school…and all that changed. Anxiety appeared out of nowhere. I couldn’t wear shorts or short sleeves without feeling the anxiety clenching at my throat. I always had a sweater with me, always had jeans on even in intense heat. 
High school carried on the same way, only the anxiety increased. Pressures to look a certain way, to be a certain way made it totally impossible for my to wear my own skin. Literally.
I shied away from the possible harsh comments and rejections that my bare arms and legs could bring. Being a teenage girl sucks, but being one with a notable difference sucks even more. I felt undatable, and must have been because no guys in my high school asked me out except for like one and I’m pretty sure he did that because I followed him around like a lost puppy and he was my best friend for like ever. 
{I bet you know who I’m talking about, eh JD?}
I thought I left those days behind me when I graduated high school, but the brief stints in college proved that my anxiety had not gone away so easily.
Getting pregnant only intensified things. I hid for like my entire pregnancy with Nolan, in Matt’s mom’s basement, and later in our apartment.
Like I said, things didn’t improve when I had Nolan. It wasn’t until we moved up North that I started to force myself to at least try to overcome that anxiety.
Actually, Matt’s step-mom forced me to overcome it…
But regardless, I started making progress. I’d go out to the EYC whenever I could. Then Matt got a full-time day job that required use of my car, so I stopped going and started regressing into my old ways again. Staying at home, trying to entertain us both and just avoiding people.
I would go for walks too, we didn’t always stay inside. I would just avoid play grounds and other places where people would be.
When we moved from Matt’s step-mom’s to our own apartment on the other side of town, I’d force myself to get out once a week to a coffee group/play group thing, and we’d go for daily walks. Again, with the daily walks, the risk of running into people and *GASP* socializing was pretty slim. 
Then we moved again, back to the south side of town, a mere five minute walk from an EYC hub and several parks. I must admit…my anxiety increased when I was pregnant with Archer. I didn’t want to socialize with strangers at the EYC. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that none of my clothes fit me and I had to dress in dresses {which gives me anxiety on a good day, due to “exposing” my scars for all to see – and question}. 
So, even though the EYC was a mere five minutes away, Nolan and I mostly stayed home or walked to the little oasis park nearby for private picnics and exploring. It’s clean there, I love taking him and will take both the boys when the weather gets a little more warmer.
In the past several months, since Archer’s birth, I’ve actually improved a lot. We’ve mostly stuck to my strict go to the EYC 3 times a week “schedule”. Winter was easy, we couldn’t go for walks or anything because of how cold and snowy it was. So, I was able to force myself into going, because if we didn’t we really couldn’t get out and we’d get bad cabin fever. 
I’ve made a bit of a mom/caregiver network and now I love going. However…I’m worried about the summer.
My anxiety is worse in the summer, when the layers come off because it’s too hot for them. When I think about going to public places in shorts or a dress, my palms start to sweat.
I’m not sure how I’ll feel this year, now that I know the moms/other caregivers better than I did last year, but still. It’s something I’m working on. I want to overcome any anxiety I feel over my body.
I don’t really know if my anxiety is strictly because of my body, and my feelings for it, or if it’s something else. Fear of rejection, maybe? I don’t know. 
I just know that right now, I’m better at getting out of the house and socializing. I’m getting better at quieting that voice full of anxiety.
I think that some things will get easier, like getting out and socializing in general, and other things will take more work…like me facing the whole “bare legs” issue I have. 
I guess I’m just acknowledging that I’ve come along way, and I’m proud of my progress. I’ve had my set backs, and I will continue to set backs, but I really have come a long way.

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in fears, insecurities, MHE, self improvement, self love, self-esteem. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Little Better

  1. Vicky Ortiz says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I wear jeans even in the boiling hot Florida summers. I don't even own a pair of shorts. I love wearing dresses but only with leggings on underneath. I'm so glad leggings are back in style! I too find myself staying inside because I don't want to socialize with people IRL. Its a hard habit to change. The one thing that keeps me going and trying is that our kids learn from how we act, and I don't want my son to grow up with the anxiety that I have.

  2. dramaticmama says:

    I can relate a bit. Everyone is trying to get me to go out in this town to the EYC's and other children oriented stuff, but I never can bring myself to go. I am too shy. I am scared that Dustin will act up and I will lose my temper like at home. I am afraid of judgement. And the people in this town I don't want to try and get to know, because of my previous drama with girls/parents in this town. Ya know? Why am I going to put myself into a situation where everyone is going to “attack” me. (verbally I mean).

    Good for you for getting out. Right now, I do the samething. Day in and day out, we stay home doing nothing but the same things we did the day before. Except when it's nice outside, I always drag my butt out of the house, dressed and wearing make up, to go to the park, hang out with the one friend I do have in this town, or go for a walk about the river.

    As for the summer warm weather and shedding of the clothes. Honestly, even though we don't have the same “issues” we kind of do in a sense? I mean I take my clothes off, but now that I am no longer “thin” and other things, you know about, that I am not proud of, I always have to wear a sweater, or suck my gut in. Or wear socks…which isn't nice when its REALLY hot. 😦 I am so insecure, especially in this town, all the little prostitots wear basically no clothes, and there is me, at 23 years old, dressing like a damn mom. UGH.

    Things can only go up from here Jess. You have already came a long way since highschool. <3
    ps. I know who your talking about. lol. I am pretty sure. 😛

  3. I've never been very outgoing; getting me out of my shell is less like pulling teeth and more like cracking open a rib cage with a nail file. I've gotten even worse lately, for some reason. The only days I really leave the house are when I have to work. Otherwise, I'm glued in front of my computer (mostly working on writing related things), or across the street and around the corner at my best friend's.

    So, I know how hard it is to force yourself to leave that comfort zone. The best advice I can give is keep on doing what you're doing. Take those little steps, stick to your EYC schedule, and try to pretend like you don't care what people think. Eventually, you'll realize you actually don't care. This is the strategy I used for public speaking and teaching classes. Mwahaha!

  4. I thought I was the only one who doesn't own a pair of shorts. I also love leggings! And you're right, which is why I'm trying to change too. I don't want my boys feeling the way I feel, ever.

  5. You were right! LOL. And yeah, I get all that. ALL THAT. I dress like I did in high school lol. My bum hangs out because I can't afford new clothes 😦 BUMMER

  6. All us blogging gals are the same, aren't we? This is why we blog, isn't it? haha! Seriously though, my anxiety gets worse in the summer too. Oddly enough.

  7. Your above comment, yes…exactly. This is why we blog. I'm glad to have my blogging friends because you all seem to understand how I feel. Good for you, for trying to overcome your anxiety. Practice makes progress. You going to the EYC makes me want to go too, so you even have a good effect on other people who avoid going to places like that.

  8. I've met several good friends at the EYC, one with whom I hang out with regularly outside of it. Best part is that she's pretty close! You should check it out. On the days that I just can't do it {I'll go, feel overwhelmed and anxious} I just leave early. You don't HAVE to go for the entire time 🙂

  9. Dani says:

    I am so very proud of the progress you've made. However little it feels to you. I know the social anxiety ALL TOO WELL (even if I don't have the reasons you do). I've done the new baby, hang out in our apartment, do laundry/cleaning/playing all day so-I-don't-have-to-talk-to-anyone. I know the feeling of gripping fear that can envelop you stepping out of the apartment. I've not checked the mail days in a row because I didn't want to accidentally run into a neighbour and have to *shudder* make small talk. I know how to plan walks so as to avoid having to talk to anyone but still get out of the house. I have yet to be able to force myself to our EYC.

    In Edmonton we were going to a play group at the library, I TRIED to talk to the moms and make friends, yeah, didn't go so well. Am I THAT awkward to talk to? (I'm pretty sure I am)

  10. I have a hard time talking to people too lol. From every one friend I've managed to make in this town, I've made like 5 hate me lmfao!!!

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