Anxiety: We Have it. It sucks.
|11 min read
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By AbbeyMarie   |   Watch
5 39 2K (1 Today)
Published: October 6, 2014


So for the first journal I figured it would be appropriate for it to be an introductory journal. Makes sense right? Right.  

The Admin's Experience

:iconabbeymarie:
I'm Abbey, I'm 23. I am incredibly strange and off beat. I love dumb internet shit and video games. I am basically incapable of emotions, but I am also exceptionally light hearted. I'm the embodiment of anxiety, and always have been.

As a kid it always felt like everyone was doing a dance I never learned the steps to. The dance of "social interaction". As an adult ....I still feel that way, which I never thought would be the case. I always thought that one day I would wake up and I wouldn't be afraid anymore. Kids are dumb like that.

At my worst, because that's always the most interesting, I was 21 and couldn't leave my house. I had become (even more) distant with my family, and anyone I knew back in highschool were long gone. And I obviously couldn't meet new people because I couldn't even manage to leave my house. My main gig was paranoia. (It felt like) Everyone was watching me, whispering about me, judging me. Wondering what was wrong with me. (....Goddamn my ego is huge). I felt like I didn't have the right to do anything, or be anywhere. Like I didn't have the right to exist, and so I tried my best not to...and succeeded. 

I am 23, have no job, no driver license, no in person friends, and live I in a small town in a small house with my parents. That is what I really am. That is what I try and hide. And that is what I am currently trying, for the first time, to fix. 

I created this group for genuine reasons, one being a sincere caring for people in similar situations, and the second being the completely selfish reason that I think it will help me get better personally. But if I can help other people while helping myself then there is no harm in that selfishness.   ....Hopefully :stare: 


:icongejda:
Hi! My name is Marta. I'm Polish, I create photo-manipulations and paint a bit – though still not too well. I play flute and I'm an avid fantasy fan. I also have social anxiety.

I've been battling it for what seems like forever – I'm told that in kindergarten I had been a very happy and open kid, but it might as well be a myth by now – I'm twenty at the moment and even though I have what I think is a not so bad control over my affliction, there were a few years when it pretty much ruled my life. I used to get pretty frequent panic attacks, and there was no telling what might trigger them – crowds, someone standing too close, talking, even being in the same room as people I knew didn't particularly like me. To some, these things may seem trivial – I can't even begin to count the number of times I've heard: „Get over yourself” or variations of it - but for me they were absolutely terrifying. I was able to mostly learn how to control this, but before that, I spent several years on individual schooling and in therapy.

Why am I here? Because I think that sharing experiences is a great thing. Because I know how having to make a simple phone call can make your hands shake for no apparent reason. Because the: „Hey, it’s not just me!” moments are always precious, and can make you feel a tiny little bit less alone.


:iconromyinneverland:
I've been living with an anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember. Since I was a little girl I never had the courage to say anything to strangers, I've always been extremely shy and scared of things "normal" people weren't afraid of. The two things I was most afraid of were people and tests, which came together at school. Because of that I skipped a lot of school, my parents thought that I had a serious illness many times.

4 years ago, they sent me to a psychologist, since they realised there was at least something wrong with my self esteem. From there on it only became worse. For example, I fell into a serious depression. I started self harming, which left me with scars for life. It felt like that was the only thing keeping the anxiety in control. My mom found out, the only thing she did was cry. Since then I went to a more intensive psychologist and they found out I had a depression and an anxiety disorder, which I got medicine for.

It wasn't over though, my depression got worse, I didn't know what to do anymore, I was too scared to normally leave the house and I didn't have anything left to live for, the only thing I did was lay in bed all day. I tried to commit suicide, got into the hospital and almost died. I don't know how, but seeing the people I loved cry so much about me, kind of switched a button and made me want to get better. Since then I seriously tried to overcome my depression and tried to stop self harming, which I succeeded in after falling back into it a lot of times.

But my anxiety was something I had to learn to live with, since it is something which will never go away. I didn't go to school or get out of the house at all. When they wanted me to go to a mental-like hospital, I realised something had to change, and that I didn't have a choice anymore.
Right now, I'm going to school again and I even get out of the house to walk the dog for example, or to go to the mall for some small stuff I need to have. What helped me? Acting. Internet was my best friend, and I found some things about comedians with social anxiety, who acted to overcome theirs and function normally. I tried the same. It was a lot of practice, and I mean a lot, but eventually it did work for me. I basically act all day, have a big mouth and act like I don't care, so that I can do everything I have to do.

There was also one other thing that helped me; Getting a dog. My dog is a lot like me, he used to be abused and is scared of everything and everyone. Just like me he has visible and hidden scars. He helped me a lot with going outside again, just a huge help. Walking with a dog is already way less scary than walking completely alone. The thing that my dog is a big Staffordshire Bullterrier also helped, since if something happens, you have a dog with you who can protect you. That made me feel a lot more safe.
That is my story.


:iconsnowinhades:
Hi everyone, my name is Terri and I'm just one of the admins for this group. Sorry for being late in introducing myself, anxiety causes me to experience brain-freeze!

Firstly, some positive things about myself.  I'm an Australian.  I LOVE animals.  I live with my beautiful Staffy Zara and three cats called Hope, Clayton and Friday.  I usually have rats as well, but had to put my 3 year old down a few months ago. I'm a vegetarian.  I collect movies, lovely vases and rat/mouse/horse brick-a-brack.

Now, the not so nice things about my life experiences. I'm diagnosed with severe depression, borderline personality disorder, high stress levels, mild paranoia/anxiety and a few ocd's.

I grew up in a highly volatile home environment.  I was verbally, mentally and physically abused (both violently and sexually). I wasn't good at making friends and lived in my own world. My mind has thankfully blocked much of my experiences out from the age of 10 and under. As a teenager, I was suicidal and socially awkward.  My parents divorced and my Mum continued to mentally abuse me and physically/violently try to hurt me. In my 20s, I became an alcoholic like my Dad, I was diagnosed with severe depression and incapable of living with people.  By my 30s, I had lost all of my friends and became somewhat reclusive. I had a breakdown in my mid to late 30s, I became a recovering alcoholic and I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

These days are much better in that I'm medicated and I see a regular therapist, however, I still struggle with my issues and I still can't live with people. Happily, I've gained insight into my life, I've made some wonderfully close friends (majority online) and I continue to heal. I think of myself as an unfinished jigsaw puzzle.

You can read about my art experiences here - fav.me/d817gi3
My ultimate goal these days is to eventually work with people who suffer with mental health issues and hopefully run art therapy workshops.

The Members 

Please share your anxiety goodness with us! Share as much or as little as you want, I want it!
Some questions to get you started:
  • When did your anxiety start?
  • What kind of anxiety do you have?
  • What do you hope to get from joining this group?


Coding by SimplySilent
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The Trading Post
08.12.18. Now that the Trading Post has been operating for exactly a month, we'll be making some changes in response to some problems that have arisen since it's introductions. Comments can no longer be edited after a certain amount of time, so we ask that you post ONE strudel per comment, so that you can hide the comments after it has been traded off. Posting multiple in the same comment causes confusion if you cannot hide just one strudel in particular. ALSO if your strudel is not on the masterlist, please post to the Can't find your strudel? entry on the StrudelCupboard (https://www.deviantart.com/strudelcupboard) to help us find any missing babies! We're super quick about updating!
Art Trade (OPEN)
Very sorry I wasn't able to respond quickly to the last batch, ATs are open for a short while but I will be moving soon so it might be subject to some delay, for the same reason I might also not be able to do too many trades qq ATs are accepted based on  -How I like your art style (not necessarily skill related)  -How I feel able to draw your character  -Character designs and how they might inspire me  -Will do anything for good friends This following section is important! Please read this section even if you don't read the others! * Please understand that I do not accept every offer. I accept trades based on "how I need you style f
art challenge event [open]
i really really really want to see more ppl experimenting with their art, esp in the wings of fire fandom (i love u all but please. Please. stop copying realtense) so this is what i'm going to do to encourage that. what is the challenge? draw something out of your comfort zone! if you usually draw w lines, try lineless. if you usually use muted colors, try bright ones. if you usually draw standing poses, do an action pose. throw some cubism in there. go buckwild. genuinely just stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone and what is... well, 'fandom popular'; the ability to diversify your style is a strength, not a hindrance. what are the re
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Comments (38)
SketchesByG's avatar
SketchesByG|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Welp, I'm relatively new to the group, so I thought I should share a little bit about myself.
No, I'm not a super-talented artist like practically everyone else on this site. I'm just learning how to do pencil/ink sketches and stuff, and I'm finding my own style (as of now, it's something like those adorable super-stylized chibis you see commenting on the storyline of a manga).
But anyway... I'm 14. I am gifted (I don't like to trumpet that) but I have what is most likely generalized anxiety disorder. This does have a definite cause; I'm a perfectionist, and I used to breeze through school, but now I'm only whizzing through half my subjects. (I blame the teachers, one of whom was borderline verbally abusive.) I'm also admittedly socially awkward, but I don't really care because I know I can find an accepting group of friends who share my interests somewhere.
My anxiety manifests in an insane number of ways. Sometimes I'm just feeling "blah" and emotionless, sometimes I act like a b*tch, sometimes I'm just freaking out and going in circles, sometimes I'm suicidal (and nobody believes me). My mom is highly anti-prescription-drugs, so I'm not really taking anything right now... we're trying to find something other than an SSRI blocker or Xanax. I do see a therapist and a (very misguided) psychiatrist, but it's a long, slow process...
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AdventurelGrfix's avatar
AdventurelGrfix|Hobbyist Interface Designer
I'm Sarah. I was born with severe general anxiety and I have suffered panic attacks. In Jr high school I had a few friends same in high school. I worried 24/7 in high school and college. I had more friends in college than Jr high and high school combined. I got invited to a partys in college smoked some pot. After moving from Ca to Tx I found some friends.  I also have mild depression.  Well about four years ago, I finally saw a medical doctor. He wrote out prescriptions for medication first tried SSRI's well they worked for a short time but the panic attacks and anxiety came back. So my doctor tried Gabapentin I built up a tolerance to it, so I begin taking Lyrica worked for a while then it quit working for me. For the last two years I have been on a benzodiazepine Klonopin a very low dose daily and haven't had any panic attacks and it's made a BIG difference. I don't worry about anything. My doctor warned me about Klonopin in great detail the dangers and the pros and cons of it. He mentioned that some people build a tolerance and get addicted to it. Well it still keeps me calm and so far it's still working. So I'm on the right medication for me.
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AbbeyMarie's avatar
AbbeyMarie|Professional Digital Artist
Glad to have you here Sarah! :ahoy: Thanks for sharing.
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AdventurelGrfix's avatar
AdventurelGrfix|Hobbyist Interface Designer
Thank u for having me.
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riggabomb-art's avatar
Hi there! I'm hoping to be fairly active in this group, so I may as well divulge all now.

My handle is Zee. Hi. I am 23, I love painting and writing, though I'm not as good as I'd like to be at either - time restraints and all that, I guess. 

I think I was always an anxious person. Growing up, I was told I was happy and good at making friends, but I always remember an undercurrent of tension/desperation when I was talking to people, either my age or older, besties or strangers. I guess it was a manifestation of this constant need to show that I was 'good enough' - my mother wasn't terrible and abusive, but she did have a very short temper and things I made for her at school were often broken to 'put me in my place' when I messed up. 

As I got older, we moved to a very tiny village (~50 people, I think) in northern Italy from Melbourne, Australia, so any friends I did have I lost contact with pretty quickly. I was nine at the time. I got progressively more depressed, partially from being a very 'sensitive' person (aren't all creative people a bit 'sensitive'? I figure that's why we're drawn to the arts), partially from being so isolated. I stopped giving too many f**ks at about age 13, when I was put in an international school because I was losing my English and basically my entire year level bullied me. There were only like 15 of them, but still, it hurt. 

I came back to Australia by myself at 14, another mistake, and lived with my grandmother for a year.  Flash forward to now, I've been into drugs and alcohol, had a couple of fairly mentally/emotionally abusive relationships, as well as one physically abusive one - that only lasted a few months, which I thank my huge amounts of bitterness and rage for - and had my daughter when I was 17. Her dad is not around, so I do everything (the aforementioned time restraints). I also had a nasty LSD trip that left me with frequent panic attacks. I'm kind of more on top of that now, but sometimes something will trigger a watered-down version of the attacks I used to have that would leave me unable to sleep for 2-3 days at a time until I was prescribed Valium. I know my triggers now for the anxiety, so I have a little mantra type thing that I repeat to myself when I feel one coming on.

The funny thing is, I don't consider myself a particularly strange person. I like socialising, but only with people I get along with, which is not many and I haven't found them yet. I have no patience for silly things, like boys and drama and 'omg those shooooeees!!!', but I could happily trade conversations about philosophy and politics for food and sleep any day.

So that kind of brings me to what I hope to get from this group. I love helping people, but only when they're ready to help themselves, so for those people who can stand my mannerisms, I would like to help them to realise that they're not alone, and that anxiety doesn't have to be the end of the world. There are more people on the Internet that understand anxiety than I've found in RL, so I guess I'm adding myself to that crowd. Basically all I want on a selfish level is to have some of those interesting conversations I mentioned. I'm a weird mix of introvert and extrovert, so it's kind of difficult to pin down exactly what I want from other people, but I guess that's kind of it? Yeah. 

Can't wait to meet all of you and share tips and experiences and stuff. I think it will be good. :)
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drawescapism's avatar
drawescapism|Student Traditional Artist
I was kinda unaware when it started, as weird as that sounds, I thought it was just me overreacting. But i remember on one occasion when I had it, i felt hot and cold sensations on my hands and arms and I was shaking slightly. I'm not sure if anyone else gets that. But it started ever since I was a teen. I have social anxiety. I HATE it when I see people whispering, judging, or just doing anything that makes me feel inadequate and uncomfortable. I get paranoid when people stare, it's like have I done something to offend you? It kinda got worse when I did a foundation year at uni and I just couldn't help it. I thought that everyone was whispering about me about how I looked, so I'd isolate myself from everyone or sit further way from them. When really it was someone else they were talking about. Towards the end, though, it got better. I just kept my head down and worked like crazy. I hope to be more confident in myself instead of dragging myself down when I do something wrong or not make it out as a big monstrosity. Nice to know that I'm not the only one :)
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RomyInNeverland's avatar
RomyInNeverland|Hobbyist General Artist
You're not alone, absolutely not! :iconblueheartplz: And you should totally be proud of yourself for the fact that you kept going when it was so difficult to do that. Keep going.
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drawescapism's avatar
drawescapism|Student Traditional Artist
Awh thank you Love Hug Hug Hug 
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meiyue's avatar
meiyue|Student General Artist
I was always the most outgoing when I was in elementary school, but a depression that I fell into and numerous other things changed that. Now I'm socially awkward, and every time I say something to someone I'm not very close with I get nervous and clammy.

It feels extremely terrible for me, because the memories of not having social anxiety are still fresh in my mind, and I can clearly remember how it was like to not be afraid, to be confident and not care about people's judgments. I long so badly to be like the old me, but I know that's impossible because we can't rewind time. 

That's alright though. I won't dwell on my past nor let it plague me. I'll let it become a part of me, but I won't let it hinder my future to the best of my ability. I'm working on it.

Well, I was all aloof and all ready to do my homework, but now I'm feeling all serious LOL. Let's break it up a bit: CHHHHHESE STEAK ALL DAY BINDERS FLYING JOEY DUCK. DIEE SOCIAL ANXIETY :fork:

..... :iconfacepalmplz: I'm too tired. 
Reply  ·  
RomyInNeverland's avatar
RomyInNeverland|Hobbyist General Artist
Hello and welcome! I can't really relate to some of your experience, but it must seem horrible to know you once lived a life without being scared of interacting with people. You look like a strong person, keep going! Anxiety is something you gotta learn to life with, and you are totally capable of that :iconblueheartplz:
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MidnightExigent's avatar
MidnightExigent|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can relate to some of what you wrote. :)

As a kid it always felt like everyone was doing a dance I never learned the steps to. The dance of "social interaction".
That puts it rather well. At 30 I still can't dance well.
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SnowInHades's avatar
SnowInHades|Hobbyist General Artist
At 44, neither can I :confused: :shrug:
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SadisticIceCream's avatar
I'm so glad I found this group!

My name is Kate, and I'm 23. I've been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, but social anxiety definitely makes up an enormous part of my problem. I definitely relate to the feeling that people are judging my every move, and that I will make a fool out of myself in public.

I was always a "shy" kid, but my problems didn't really ramp up till high school. That's when I became depressed and suicidal. I managed to pull through a year-and-a-half long episode and thought I was in the clear, but then it happened again in college. Again, this lasted a year and a half. I'm very lucky to have a great support system in my friends (although my family doesn't know about my problems and would look down on me if they did); my boyfriend pushed me to get help. I wasn't really serious about therapy and my depressive period ended again. It's only recently -- when a third episode began, worse than the other two that had come before -- that I've begun treatment in earnest. I'm now seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist, and I'm on antidepressants and doing lots of therapy homework every night.

I hope to find support here, and to support other people. It's so, so nice to know you're not alone, that you're not a giant freak, that there are other people who understand what you're going through. :heart:
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SnowInHades's avatar
SnowInHades|Hobbyist General Artist
Hi Kate. I'm really glad that you're taking your medication and therapy seriously because the same thing happened to me. I'd seek help, get better, everything would stop and then I'd fall back into my depression - like a never ending circle. It took me years to sort myself out, so you're way ahead of me :D Mental health issues require long term healing :hug:
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SadisticIceCream's avatar
Definitely! I'm also making peace with the fact that this will be a lifelong thing, but I'm hoping the skills I'm learning now will make things better for me in the future. I might be ahead of you, but we're all in this together, and I know you can do it. :tighthug:
Reply  ·  
SnowInHades's avatar
SnowInHades|Hobbyist General Artist
It took me until my late 30s to accept that my meds are forever more.. lol. :tighthug:
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itznikki530's avatar
itznikki530|Professional Digital Artist
My name is Nicole and I've had social anxiety...anxiety in general all my life. As a kid I was really shy. I'd spend recess kicking rocks, looking for caterpillars, and practicing my Power Ranger moves. I was a dweeb (I do blame the PR moves on my ADHD). I did have some "friends" but never best ones. I was the one people forgot to look for when playing hide and seek. By middle school I started getting bullied. I was "stuck up" and a "bitch" and this and that, but little did they know I was deathly afraid to talk. I went through the whole hiding in the bathroom at lunch, and always visiting the nurse when there needed to be social interaction thing. 8th grade my family moved to a new town with better schools so the bullying stopped, but there was no trust in people anymore. Though I will say I did meet the 3 best friends I have today there, and for that I am blessed...even though they are just now starting to understand my strangeness. College happened on and off. Never finished though. At 25 I thought going back and away to school would be a great idea (yeah right), but I ended up taking a medical leave because that dogged anxiety. Now I owe over $20k in loans for a degree I was 12 credits away from finishing.

So now here I am. 28 years old, still at home, still scared of the world. I'm a paranoid person who thinks no one likes me or have that they have some ulterior goal. Socially awkward is my middle name. In the end though, what I would like to get out of this group is a sense of belonging, and maybe a new friend or two.

Sorry about my jumbled writing. I wanted to type a novel, but I'm teaching myself self editing. And kudos two the three of you for being so honest. Anxiety can be crippling, and talking about it with near strangers isn't easy at all.
Reply  ·  
AbbeyMarie's avatar
AbbeyMarie|Professional Digital Artist
We definitely have a lot in common. People often think I have a "too good for you" attitude when really I am just to scared to do anything :shifty:

Glad to have you! :dance:
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itznikki530's avatar
itznikki530|Professional Digital Artist
The world is full of poopheads who too quickly judge.

btw, congrats on becoming the new photomanip CV. you'll do fantastic :dummy:
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timeywimeystuff13's avatar
timeywimeystuff13|Student General Artist
Hi, I'm Ruth and I'm 16. I guess... I think I've had anxiety most of my life, because my mum said that when I was in reception/nursery they had a big Chinese New Year celebration thing, but I was too nervous to go and so I had to do colouring instead. Or it could've been the sandpit... again. I had a thing for routines. I would always choose the sandpit in nursery. We were meant to change activities, at least I think that was the idea, but oh no. I had to always stay at the sandpit. I still have a thing for routines now, and I get really anxious if my routines get changed suddenly or if my things aren't straight, stuff like that. I also get extremely nervous about exams, and school. My anxiety's got worse as I've got older. I'm not entirely sure what sort of anxiety I have, though, because I've never been able to get diagnosed. I've been on the NHS waiting list for a psychologist for six months now (the average waiting time is inching into months and years for mental health, because of budget cuts)... but I think I have GAD, mild/moderate OCD (it's getting worse...) and mild social anxiety (though I think that's mainly being managed now). I manage my anxiety with books and my cat, and by not eating chocolate or having caffeine before an exam or another very stressful thing (they make me hyperventilating more and make my anxiety worse). I guess, by joining this group, I want to meet other people who have anxiety, and hopefully get support and help others.

Wow... sorry this was so long...
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AbbeyMarie's avatar
AbbeyMarieEdited |Professional Digital Artist
OCD is a common side effect of anxiety, along with depression and paranoia. Anxiety comes with a bunch of fun side bonuses, unfortunately. :shakefist:

Glad yo have you here!  
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timeywimeystuff13's avatar
timeywimeystuff13|Student General Artist
Oh, gosh. Paranoia...

:)
Reply  ·  
peroline's avatar
peroline|Professional Interface Designer
I used to have social anxiety, when I was a teen. Now I don't think it's the case anymore : I'd say that I'm just a shy person but nothing too serious... So I wish the best to you, to be able to get rid of this anxiety, like I did.
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AbbeyMarie's avatar
AbbeyMarie|Professional Digital Artist
One of these days. :shakefist:
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