For when I am afraid

In my last post, I wrote about how excited I was to be going to Blissdom this week. And that I am excited to be a Community Leader. And that I am so excited to see my friends!

But here on Living the Balanced Life, I try to be real, I try not to hide the not-so-happy, not-so-perfect parts of my life. Because I know others have them too. And it helps when we see that others aren’t as perfect as they may think at first glance.

So while I am VERY excited to go to Blissdom, I am also very afraid.

Ever since my breakdown in July 2010, I have struggled with anxiety. More specifically social anxiety disorder.

I have always loved being with people, and have been called a conference/seminar junkie in the past. Yet since my breakdown, I prefer to be at home. Where I feel safe. And oddly enough, being at my laptop makes me feel safe, as I am in control of what others see in me, and of what I share for others to see.

When I am gone from home for more than a few hours, I have this invisible rubber band that is attached to my heart and soul, and the other end is attached to my home. The longer I am away, the more overwhelming the pull of my rubber band, to return to the safety of my home. As I was trying to visualize what this feels like, the best way to explain it is an extreme feeling of homesickness.

Last year, when I attended Blissdom, I stayed off-site with a group of ladies in a condo. The price was phenomenal, but being off-site made it more difficult for me. I ended up leaving the conference during the late afternoon break, and not returning for the evening festivities.

I needed to get away, to safety, but because of parking/transportation cost, I did not make myself come back in the evening. Of course, looking back, I so wish I had!

In many ways my anxiety is better than it was last year, but in some ways it is not. I am very much a homebody still. I go for days without leaving my house. Some days I think I would like to return to employment outside the house, but I am not sure I am ready for that yet. My sweet hubby makes sure I get plenty of public time on the weekend!

I have made sure that I am staying on-site this year. And I have even more friends who understand my situation better. I have roomies who will drag me downstairs if I try to hide under my covers!

If you read this post, and then meet me in person, you may never put the 2 together, as once I get in a group of women, I feel in my element. It is just pushing beyond that aching inside to hide, and making myself get to that point!

In preparation for Blissdom

This past weekend, I ended up at a short 2 day women’s conference near my home. I had NOT planned to go, but a ticket divinely landed in my lap. I did NOT want to go (25 women from my church, my friends, were going). I really struggled with it, but my husband encouraged me and I had basically run out of reasons to say No.

And I have to say, that while there was a whole lot of other things I learned over the 2 days, I also realized that I “could” make it through. I could handle being out of my comfort zone. That I was not alone in my struggle. I had Someone who was there with me, and will be with me next week at Blissdom as well.

While my anxiety is still there, it is not overwhelming me. I am not freaking out so bad about this week, other than all the things I need to get done!  I really AM getting excited about being there among all my bloggy friends!

And if, you are one of those people who are nervous about the crowds, are anxious about being in a new place, please reach out to me. If you need someone to sit quietly with, or even someone to say a prayer with, just @ me on Twitter, I would love to be there for you. (I am @womanonajourney)

I am linking this post with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out.

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28 comments to For when I am afraid

  • Kim

    Love, hugs and prayers as you prepare for your trip!! It shows so much strength that you are going, that you recognize your anxieties, that you’ve shared this with others, that you are turning to God in knowing you cannot do it alone…and that you are willing to share all of this with us.

    For so many years I tried and tried to keep everything ‘perfect’ and it has been in healing (2 brain surgeries this last year) that I’ve been able to fully put my trust in God and realize that I am human, I will make mistakes and I don’t need to let them pull me under. In as much as I have shared my full story with so many people (the good, the bad and the ugly), I have been so surprised at the support for my ‘warts’ and missteps along the way…I beat myself up and kept thinking “If only people knew the whole truth, they wouldn’t think I am amazing.” But, in sharing all of it…it makes me human in their eyes and (apparently) my warts are nearly as hideous as I had first believed. Sharing has been important in healing so that I can be the person I am designed to be.

    In reading about part of you that is probably not top on your list of “Things I First Share About Myself”, it makes you human, too…and so many of us can relate to it.

    Thinking of you as you travel your journey.
    Kim

  • I so, so appreciate you sharing this. Much of what you described fits me to a T. Home is the only place I truly feel safe these days, and thinking about Blissdom and 4 days away from home is pushing me toward an anxiety attack. I’ll get through it, and it’s comforting to know that others {you} understand how I feel. I’m praying for you, that this weekend will be all you want it to be, and that you won’t feel too terribly anxious!

  • I often have anxiety in social situations, especially in large groups of people, and new environments. Most people that meet me say I’m very outgoing, but the truth is I have learned to be outgoing in these situations.

    I find I also do better even in large groups when I have a specific task to perform, and so I often create a task for myself. I have brought cookies to large events to break the ice. I can mingle through the crowd offering a sweet treat, and I feel far less anxious offering to give something to someone else than just- gasp- introducing myself socially and trying to carry on a conversation.

    Based on the quality and warmth of the pre-BlissDom online interaction I may not have too much trouble interacting with 700 strangers. There may be times I become overwhelmed and withdraw into myself. Either way, I will have a positive experience at BlissDom, and if I don’t do all the things I thought I would do, at least I did some.

    See you on Thursday!

    Chrysta
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  • *hugs* to you! i think we all struggle with these sorts of feelings on various levels. it’s nice to know we’re not alone. And? if you are feeling overwhelmed or need to get away to a quiet spot, I am happy to sneak away with you :-)

  • Jen

    I have loved, loved, loved all your posts. You have blessed me so much and I found you at JUST the right time in my life.

    My dear friend (in real life!), Rachel Martin (http://rachelmariemartin.blogspot.com/) will also be at Blissdom! I hope you all have a wonderful, BLESSED, refreshing time!!
    I am traveling in March for a conference of national music studio owners, and I have a little of the same anxiety (mostly about leaving my 4 precious children). I will be praying for peaceful travel for you!!

    Just wanted to finally introduce myself! Thanks again for all your writing. You bless so many.

  • Bernice! You’re right- one would never know what’s going on in your head. You’re very friendly & outgoing. I feel you on this though. It’s something that has crept up on me with the realization that there are more eyes out there watching. I’m scared to mess it all up or have someone read me the wrong way. Stupid fear needs to get out of the way! I’ll be looking for you at Blissdom!!
    Robin Plemmons recently posted..they were almost mineMy Profile

  • Norell

    Thanks so much for an excellent post. I am not a blogger and won’t be attending any conferences in the near future, but love reading your blog. When I receive an email telling me that you have a new blog post up, I immediately race to read it. I too have anxiety problems. Your description of the invisible rubber band is wonderful. I am at the point that I can force myself out of my safe zone (my home), but I can feel the pull of the rubber band even when I am out doing something I am enjoying. It is almost impossible to resist that pull at times. I feel like you have done the perfect thing. You let others know about your anxiety. Now they know and can help you when the pull starts. I know I’ve told several people, even the woman who cuts my hair, and they’ve all been extremely supportive. Have a wonderful time. I am certain you will have tons of supportive women surrounding you.

  • I understand to the best extent that I can how you feel. I am socially awkward and the bigger the crowd gets; the better I disappear. Blissdom is a challenge for me, but I will be there. Thank you for sharing your true self!
    Crayon Wrangler recently posted..Dear SocietyMy Profile

  • I so understand this… even though you may not be able to tell, I have a lot of anxiety around social things too. Blissdom is a place where I feel in my element too, so it is a little harder to tell… but it is still there.

    And I am sooo glad you are on site. We sooo missed you last year in the evenings!
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  • Sabinnah

    This is really an awesome post you have shared to us…Actually, I always visit your site and see what’s new to you…
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  • Nicole Schuman

    Yeah right, first of all no one is perfect so why try be one? You know you cannot please everybody, so just be yourself. And by being yourself means loving your own self..
    Nicole Schuman recently posted..ppiMy Profile

  • Good luck – I hope it goes well. One of my ex’s had GAD and SAD and it was so rough on him that there were so many things he wanted to do but the anxiety just wouldn’t let him.
    Diana @ A Little Bit of Life recently posted..PYHO – What have you done for me lately?My Profile

  • GelliAnn

    Good luck for you! I can relate to your situation but sometimes, you have to do it by yourself…
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  • Arline

    you are true being your self..Good luck to you I know that you already know which is better..
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  • Your honesty is so pure and raw in this post. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will have a great time at Blissdom this year :)
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  • Arline

    Afraid has no space in my foolish heart, because I know that I am capable enough in doing things… I hope that most of us must acquire this kind of attitude to face the challenge of life with a huge smile…
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  • Frances

    You must be true to your self always..Thanks for the post..
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  • Gwen

    Fighting spirit, faith in God is the key to overcome worry/ afraid.. Its better to try something new from you to gain a kind of experience. Afraid is just on the mind of a person, not on its action…
    Gwen recently posted..Best Time To ConceiveMy Profile

  • Bethany153

    Bernice, it’s nice to read your post here. I feel what you feel right now. I just hope you will be fine and more better. Thanks for sharing your story.
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  • Charrmagn

    I hope you can continue to inspire more people because through your post, you gave motivation to the readers…
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  • Ms.Taylor

    Lift up your self with thy name of God, its the great solution to overcome any fear of life… I do believed with the power of God than anything else…
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  • Did you end up having fun? I saw you quite a bit and if you weren’t, you hid it well!
    Shell recently posted..4 Crazy Texts When Mom Is AwayMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    I did! There were a few times when I really wanted to hide away, but pushed myself thru it and did fine. Except for at the end of the closing keynote. I was flat out exhausted and went up to our room, pulled on my “pajamas”, pulled the throw blanket over me and slept like a baby for 2 hours! Then I was rested and ready for Saturday’s party!

  • Hey.. You know what, I guess anxiety is just a part of everyone. When you can feel anxiety, that’s a good thing. Why? Because it simply shows that you’re still human, you’re still a normal human, that still have emotions and feelings.
    Andrew Walker recently posted..Damp Now the Dictionary of Commonly Used Passwords for Safety’s Sake!My Profile

  • YnnaRada

    Hi Bernice! i love reading your article and you really inspire me. Just stay focus and be strong, you are true being your self. Thanks and i’m looking forward on your next post. Good luck!
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  • Nothat Blissom has come and gone. Was it a success?
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