I am writing 60 blog entries over the course of my fundraising campaign which officially ends in 55 days. In this way I am chronicling my process as a female entrepreneur aspiring to launch a completely online solution to our current mental health crisis. I’ve decided to express in the achingly raw way I do in my Hummingbird Series. Honesty and expression through writing save my life, every day. But, I will say, I feel beholden to a certain “appropriate” air since I am coming at this as a professional. So fill in between the lines as you see fit.
Be careful of triggering language, and of course, feel free to comment. Or not.
See my Campaign here! www.indiegogo.com/JournalToSaveYourLife2
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Entry: 2 of 60
Like the fellow in the above image, there are sometimes (especially in my new graduate program) where I seriously want to slide down a wall and totally disappear into a forest.
Here is a nice description of Social Anxiety by MommyBlogger0627 here: http://lifeorsomethinglikeit2.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/time-to-educate-some-people-about-social-anxiety/
“A person with social anxiety disorder is afraid that he or she will make mistakes, look bad, and be embarrassed or humiliated in front of others…The anxiety can build into a panic attack. As a result of the fear, the person endures certain social situations in extreme distress or may avoid them altogether. In addition, people with social anxiety disorder often suffer “anticipatory” anxiety — the fear of a situation before it even happens — for days or weeks before the event. In many cases, the person is aware that the fear is unreasonable, yet is unable to overcome it.”
This past summer I hyperventilated thinking about going to class. Stupid, right? Yeah. I think so. I have no problem with actually being social. But if I’m around “new” people and I’m not in a particular “role” I’m hyperalert – ready to be attacked/abused/rejected for saying the WRONG thing.
Wrong seems so relative to me…and shouldn’t we be more about unconditional love? I think so.
How Bullying Produces Social Anxiety
My social anxiety amped up to about…300% when I was 11 and uprooted from my home in Houston, Texas and plonked into a British, all-girls school in Dunedin, New Zealand. No kidding. I had to wear a kilt and everything.
The first year actually went well – I was “popular” in elementary school, and I continued to be there. Life was fun. The girls in NZ didn’t really throw parties for birthdays like we do here in the States, so having my 12th birthday at an ice skating rink in Dunedin gave me a good bundle of “social points”.
But then oddness (a euphamism..) happened. My peers decided to do a formal “popularity contest” without my knowledge. They took a show of hands to see if I or my best friend, Charlie was the “most popular”. I won somehow. Then a few girls bowed down to me in the hallway, making fun of the competition. I walked into the classroom next door and saw the tally chart on the blackboard. I remember thinking that I didn’t do things to be popular, I just did things that I thought were fun, and I always tried to be nice. It was to be the beginning of my personal experience of hell.
Charlie and her Mother effectively “ganged up” on my Mother and I. Her Mother was actually the one that spread rumors that I was already having sex and doing drugs at 12. My Mother wasn’t allowed to attend the International Mothers group anymore – Charlie’s mother seriously made everyone scared of me.
The next year was absolute purgatory. It was the first time I considered suicide (yes, I was 12), and the first time I learned to hate myself. It’s difficult to be judged for things you haven’t actually done. It’s difficult to figure out how the hell to think of yourself kindly when you’ve become the scapegoat of all things that Mothers fear.
So I somehow still have social anxiety at age 29. I don’t have an all-out panic disorder though, I know because at the age of 12 I went and saw a therapist named Sahari. She was the one that told me to start journaling, and then she helped guide my reflections in a positive direction. She taught me how my entire world is up to my OWN perspective — and that I deserved to be loved and to love myself as much as anyone else.
Journal To Save Your Life takes the time to teach girls of their worth, value, and power through writing and any other art medium that moves them. J2SYL is my personal answer for our current mental health crisis as program after program is cut. J2SYL is based on how I came to understand how to CONTROL my anxiety and not let it completely drown me. Without writing and intentional processing of intense situations I know I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Girls and mental health MATTER. Thank you to everyone who has donated thus far, and please implore your friends and family to donate as well. Adults need to come together for girls. We need to do this.
Love you, and thank you for your time.