- Posted January 8, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
An unreasonable fear
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
I am a musician and songwriter of almost 30 years now. As many times as I have played on a stage, and as many people as I have played in front of, you would think I could handle the limelight. But that's not the case. Not always, but more often than I would like, I get so anxious on stage that I almost lock up. I struggle to remember the words to my own songs, wondering if I am going to make it through the performance. Songs that I have played thousands of times.
I find it hard to leave my house. I feel safer just staying home and working in my home studio. Many times I have gone into public and found myself counting down the minutes until I could go home. My mother has been officially diagnosed with Social Anxiety and it is known to be hereditary. My children have developed it as well. My oldest has developed the nervous habit of picking at her eyebrows and my youngest has panic attacks over the littlest things.
It is more debilitating than most would think. It prevents those who have it from feeling normal amongst the public at large. People often tell me to "get over it" but how do you get over something you cannot control. There have been many times that it has drained so much of my energy that I need a nap during the day. Then there is the feeling that you don't even want to get out of bed.
Thankfully I have a core group of friends that understand what I go through and support me. If not for them and my wife, I don't know if I would ever leave the house. I have come to depend on things like meditation and Tai Chi to help focus my mind and overcome these feelings. The hardest part of it all is that it gets worse the older you get. My mother has gone through a couple of medications to try and control hers. Not something I look forward to.
My message to the rest of the public that does not suffer from this is that you should understand that this is not something we can control easily. It happens and though we can fight it, sometimes all our strength to fight it is not enough. We are not broken, just wired differently. We don't want to be this way and would like to not be.