Social Anxiety

Hello and welcome. Today is the second Wednesday in March 2018 so if you have a calendar you can probably narrow today’s date down based on deductive reasoning. For the first time in several weeks I feel as though I can catch my breath. No I have not been on a treadmill non-stop or doing a ton of exertion-based exercises. I am meaning from a figurative point of reference, I can mentally exhale and be OK for a minute.

To share a tiny bit of personal Intel that is not common knowledge, I have dealt with a certain level of social anxiety since my early teenage years. It really started right about the time my brother went into the hospital for the final weeks of his life. I started getting a panicked bird in small cage kind of internal feeling when it came to going to school, attending social events, going to unfamiliar places or being around a large group of people. For more than three decades I have battled this irrational fear and set of feelings with varying degrees of success. Admittedly many times I flat failed to win the internal struggle and simply did not go because I was not strong enough on those days. Even with being around friends and loved ones in a relatively ‘safe’ situation still fills me with a panic and anxiety enough to make me feel nauseous to the verge of puking or bolting to solitude. This past weekend took every shred of nerve and resolve I possess to hold myself together.

In case you haven’t followed my other social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Weebly website, Instagram, etc.), you may not know that I organized a memorial benefit softball tournament for a person that I have never met who died playing softball in Florida this past December. The process of organizing the tournament took a few months to put together plus several hundred interactions with coaches, vendors, potential vendors, friends and the family of Greg Fusco. Locking in the dates, finding a venue, crunching the finances, getting the supplies, juggling teams entering/dropping and several other items of importance caused me to nearly curl into a ball and begin babbling like an infant. But I made it through somehow even though we were only able to complete the Saturday portion of the tourney due to weather complications. Sunday was a no-go and moved to an undetermined future date.

Putting on this tournament is something I’m very proud of accomplishing, not only for the benefit to Greg’s family but also for forcing myself to do a few things I really struggle with on a daily basis. I really hope everyone enjoyed themselves and Greg’s story gets passed along to others in the softball community to promote safety awareness. When the time comes along for the next social outing, I know I can draw strength from this experience to help strengthen my mental resolve. For those who do not have to deal with this issue it seems like silliness but unfortunately for me it is real and has greatly reduced my enjoyment of my favorite activities over the years. On social media the catch phrase “the struggle is real” has become a bit of a punchline or a joke for whatever but for me the phrase is all too true. So for self-preservation sake, I keep embracing my mantra: Smile big, blend in and stay invisible.

These variety posts and my protected entries on social media help to provide me with an outlet so I can purge the never-ending river of thoughts in my head without going angry bovine. Thanks for perusing my PSA for mental health awareness.  J



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