Undercover Anxiety Girl

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We all know that writing can be therapeutic, and for me this is more true than I ever realized. As you may have deduced, I have serious social anxiety. I am claustrophobic and germophobic, I have legitimately been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder due to PTSD, and I am a closet introvert. Ultimately I have at least 4 solid reasons why strangers scare the hell out of me. Blogging about the train has forced me to look at things with a certain sense of humor. I have had to come to terms with the fact that even though I am a strong woman, I have anxiety. I have had to accept and confront underlying fears that I didn’t even know were there.

 

chandler- licked my neck!

 

The train has the perfect recipe for a panic attack. It is crowded with loud, sick, crazy, elainerude, and even a few wonderful people (but that’s like finding that famous red and white striped shirt in a Where’s Waldo book!) I get on the train knowing all of the stories that I have heard about scary or disgusting things happening on public transportation. I am surrounded by people. My facial expressions look VERY much like Elaine from Seinfield when people start coughing around me. It terrifies me. My heart begins to race. I start looking for an exit plan and inch closer to healthy people. I don’t mean to make the most disgusted face humanly possible, but I do.

It isn’t justspiky-vest-2 the germs, though. My mom would tell you that I have always needed my own personal space. I need to breathe my own air. I need to be left alone with my whirlwind of racing thoughts until I can process through them privately before revealing them to others. (Hence the writing- thank God for the backspace key!) I would wear spikes if I thought it would help keep people away. (I am suddenly realizing that I might have been a porcupine in my last life.) I find myself admiring people who come up with creative ways to ensure personal space. I have two new heroes in life. They are the girl with the expandable dress and the girl who fought Swine Flu in 2009 with the Personal Space Protector.

expandable dress   personal space protection

And while you might be tempted to argue the fashion sense of said individuals, it is arguably less alienating than the official Sheldon germophobe sheltonlook, which I completely relate to. Social anxiety is the real deal. It isn’t just about the fact that I don’t want you to give me The Plague. It isn’t just about the reality that I don’t know you and you’re in my space. I might even seem fidgety or dramatic, but the truth is, I can’t breathe!!!! I’m not panicking because I can’t feel my earlobes, I am panicking because I can’t find oxygen, and last I checked, it was still a vital part of my existence.

For me, the key to coping with this inward insanity is a recipe of 2 parts humor, 1 part sarcasm, and 1 part big girl panties (only preferably ones that fit). Somethings I just have to suck it up and get over it. I know this. Somethings, however, I cope with through observing people and finding the humor, or at least finding humorous ways to help you understand what is happening in my head.

how i really feel

Presumably, there are other anxious travelers in the world who feel what I feel and just don’t have the words to express it, or maybe anxiety + sarcasm = remedy, I am not sure. Regardless, that is why I am here, with you, and why you are reading this, and hopefully laughing a little, and maybe, just maybe,even relating a little, too.

I am working from home today, my inner recluse is doing the happy dance. Happy traveling my friends, have a great weekend!

germophobe

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About Andi

This chapter in my life is called, "Managing Millennials". People always say that I have a way with words, and that I am great at managing Millennials. The secret truth to my success? I worked at a public high school. I was an educator that specialized in behavior and building relationships. So what happens when the sweet little kids that inspired me to sponsor clubs, put in extra hours and spend my own money all enter the workforce???? They drive you crazy! I can help! I understand why these participation trophy earning young adults are driving you crazy in the work place. I understand that the fact that we are inheriting a technology talented pool of workers that sit at their desk with ear buds in their ears and celebrate medicocricy in the name if effort. I understand that you are not used to emojis and GIFs in business communication, and that you don't want to stand around on a break discussing memes, vines, YouTube epic fail videos and what you binge watched on Netflix. I once told my students that they would learn to follow my rules because I refused to be miserable for the next 1488 hours of my life. Ninety percent of the time... They did. Now, I tell my millennials that same thing, "Welcome to the workforce. There are policies and procedures in place that will help us get along for the next 2080 hours of our lives." Welcome to my blog, "Let The Managers Say Amen."

20 responses »

  1. Gosh bless you that must be so hard. I’m currently struggling with anxiety but it is nowhere near as difficult as you find it. I really hope that you’re able to find strategies to overcome. Sounds like writing is great for you. You did it well and this is a fascinating read. A real insight. Looking forward to reading more and really glad I found your blog. Xx

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  2. I feel for you. It must be horrible to do that commute daily knowing you have these anxieties. Then again, it also shows how much of a strong woman you are! 🙂 Well done!

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  3. I am an introvert no closet big enough for my crazy lol i also have general anxiety because i’m a woman lol.. my hubby read your blog the other night he loved it couldnt stop laughing

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