Monday, July 25, 2011

That's Good to Know. Blast!

Have you ever seen one of those Random Weird Disorder commercials, and as they're listing off all these symptoms that seem like they go with pretty much everything found yourself thinking, "hey, that sounds kind of like me?"

I haven't.

Have you ever noticed that you can self diagnose practically everything except maybe cancer with internet tests these days?

That one . . . I have.

A few weeks ago, for a variety of reason, I found myself looking into Social Anxiety Disorder self tests. They all had those scoring systems where 1-5 or whatever was normal and 6-10 is a little wacko and 11-15 means you may as well just have yourself committed already - you know?

I took four. All four scores were off the charts high.


Okay, so all the sites made it clear that even the most astronomical score is not actually a diagnosis (just an indicator that you really need to go get an official one), and they didn't tell me anything I didn't already kind of know, and I really don't want to start using this "diagnosis" as a crutch or anything (and please, smack me thoroughly upside the head if I do!) . . . but still. Semi-officially becoming a head case? Sigh.

I really have thought there must be something like this going on in my head for a while. The mere idea of doing anything unfamiliar or meeting anyone new is almost cripplingly terrifying. I like to think no one would ever guess, because I've gotten really good at faking my way with people/things until I'm comfortable with them. Actually, the only thing I've never been able to fake my way through is talking in church, which tends to bring on mild panic attacks.

I've always been what one would clinically call Super-Duper-Really-Really-Very-Much-Ultra-Shy. (official term right there, lol) I have a very vague memory of being five or six and at my grandparents' house in New Mexico. My uncle (the one closer to my mom's age, not mine) came over so I was hiding in a bedroom . . . because for some reason I was a little afraid of him when I was a kid. No idea why whatsoever - I just was. I don't remember the whole situation . . . just my mother insisting I come out and say hello . . . to the point that she was dragging me down the hall and grandma's little blue hat thing got knocked off the wall and I got plopped in a chair across the table from him and couldn't lift my eyes out of my lap. I wish I could remember more details, but that's it.

That kind of sums up how I've always been when things are unfamiliar. I freeze up, clam up, and try to sneak out. Unless, you know, I'm at work or something. Dude, my first couple of months at Disney were a bit like torture - it's a good thing I started out at Honey, where I didn't have to actually talk to anyone most of the time! And of course it only intensifies my hopes of going back to Ellis next month. Now that I'm pretty comfortable there it would be awful to have to start over again.

Honestly, this doesn't change anything much. I guess it's nice to have a name for my personal version of nutjob, but it's not like I'm going to be going to therapy or trying to get on some medication or something. It's manageable, just frustrating. And I can't decide if I should feel differently now. Should knowing what it's called make me more shy? Less? Is blogging about it going to make other people look at me differently? Treat me like a weirdo - or invalid?! I've mentioned once or twice that I had some "friends" in high school who were anything but . . . did that influence my condition? How much? We could never in a million years afford all the shrink appointments it would take to sort me out . . . so I guess it's a good thing I don't mind being a bit tangled. I think I might even like it. At the very least it makes me more human, right?

I keep telling myself that everyone has something wrong - or at least not quite right - about them, and at least I'm not, like, a pyro or klepto or something like that. And there's always that cliched old story about trading your burdens in for new ones and how everyone chooses to keep their own because it's the smallest cross or whatever . . . I better stop now before I start monstrously mangling metaphors.

On the plus-slash-probably-inappropriate side: does this mean I can finally voice all the opinions about those commercial drugs that I've never dared before? Because seriously, some of those side effects strike me as worse than the problem they're supposed to be treating. I mean, how desperate do you have to be to take something when the side effects include DEATH? It's like, "hey, you might die from taking this, but at least your legs won't itch when you go!" I'm sure it's a terribly unpleasant condition and I wouldn't wish it on anybody . . . but I think I'd take the itchy legs!

And on that slightly morbid attempt at humor . . .

P. ost S. cript
Happy Excuse to Shoot Off Fireworks Day! If you got yours in Wyoming . . . make sure you don't do this. (rated PG13 for "brief strong language" if you care about that sort of thing.)


  1. Don't even get me started on internet diagnostic tests. (even though I have taken them and plenty like them in magazines). But they can in no way diagnose you- so I was glad you did mention that. And IF Social Anxiety Disorder is what you have, the therapy is not as long lasting as one might think- and there are no meds for it- just saying. It is behavior modification that works for this disorder and can be done in a few weeks.

    Sometimes it is fun to read out of my diagnostic manual- until I find something that sounds a little too much like me ;}

  2. That's kind of what I figured. It's not even a really big deal except for when I think about it. As long as I never get asked to speak/teach in church for the rest of my life I'll be perfectly fine. :-)

  3. Are you coming to play group tomorrow? Come! Be social!

  4. I would but it's Luke's day off. However, we're planning on going swimming on Wednesday, so if anyone wants to meet the phantom husband . . .

  5. Social Anxiety-something I know very well. Unfortunatley.

    I hate medications! I was put on some after having been diagnosed with PPD. It made my anxiety go away but also made me not care. About anything!!

  6. Lacey- I get it, really. Because that was me. I remember being asked to introduce a speaker at a tri-stake fireside while in college. All I had to do was say, "so and so is married to, has x# of kids and is here to speak to us" and then just before I stood up the high councilman asked me to take 10 minutes and give a talk and gave me my subject. I thought I was going to die right on the spot.

    It used to take me 2 hours to go anywhere because I had to fight the panic in order to even get in the car.

    And those are the mild cases (and in case you were wondering- there is a family indication in this particular disorder- not hereditary, but runs in families)

    I tell you that because now I can speak to huge groups at the drop of a hat and have even considered becoming a motivational life coach/speaker. I love giving presentations, meeting people, being with people and actually talking to them and mingling with them. (though I do have to do a small amount of psych up before a new situation, but can do it in 5 minutes and even during the activity if needed and no one ever knows) Behavior modification. I can teach you.

  7. That's the weird thing - it's so specific for me. I can give presentations and stuff. I can talk in front of people. I can do the whole meetings thing. Heaven knows I don't really enjoy it and I'm SUPER nervous, but I can get through it.

    Except at church. I don't know what it is, but you put me in a meetinghouse and I just can't do it. I guess I just have to put my own spin even on the crazy.

    Camille - I'm the same way about meds. Any sort of drugs - I hate taking them. Even just for headaches it has to be getting into migraine territory for me to take a single tablet of ibuprofen.