Discovering I Had Social Anxiety

January 13, 2010 Aimee White

I’ll never forget staring myself down in the mirror of the restaurant thinking to myself “This is not normal. There is something very wrong with me.”

I had just escaped my 24th birthday lunch celebration with all my coworkers, to the bathroom where I crouched, legs shaking, my neck burning, and vomiting in the stall.

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Despite seeing several doctors, I was never diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Because my symptoms relate to many other health issues, I mistakenly presented my problem as a stomach issue. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, “…people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.”

I thought for years that maybe I had allergies to certain foods, IBS, or something of that nature because I would get sick when eating out in restaurants, a lot. I scared myself into thinking I had an eating disorder. However, all the research I conducted never made sense, until I learned about anxiety and panic attacks. That’s when the light bulb went off and my turning point had arrived.

The “not knowing” left me feeling helpless and alone. Finally putting a name to my problem gave me a sense of empowerment. I could now do something to fix my situation. And to my great relief I met others who suffered from the same symptoms. In fact, “approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder (from the National Institute of Mental Health)”.

In 2007, I created a blog called The Reality of Anxiety initially to store important information that I could access quickly at work. This way, I wouldn’t have to carry my huge workbook with words like “ANXIETY” and “PHOBIA” printed so large and bold on the cover, it could be seen from miles away. It became a therapeutic journal and a place to practice exercises I desperately wanted to learn. Then others began to leave comments of encouragement and understanding that to this day are priceless to me. To be understood, when it feels like no one around you could possibly understand, brought me so much joy. My mission changed from wanting to help myself, to wanting to help others so no one would be in the “not knowing” place anymore.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to start The Nitty-Gritty of Anxiety blog and reach out to a greater audience. My mission remains the same today. I plan to share the things I learn on my journey to help you better identify and manage your anxiety and panic disorders.

APA Reference
White, A. (2010, January 13). Discovering I Had Social Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 17 from

Author: Aimee White

Clotted Cream
March, 10 2010 at 10:49 pm

Hey great post, looking forward to the next one :)

Aimee White
January, 28 2010 at 3:17 pm

Thanks Douglas for your thoughts and encouragement.
I have heard that it is very common for anxiety and depression to come in a package deal. I bet there is alot you have learned about depression that can help all of us with the anxiety.
I know it is hard, but I am very concerned about you taking medication and alcohol to feel normal. In fact the alcohol could be causing your anxiety. Here is some info I found:
"alcohol can actually trigger panic attacks. It depresses the central nervous system and causes fatigue, agitation and anxiety. It is ironic that individuals engage in an activity that produces effects similar to the ones they are trying to relieve.
When the alcohol begins to wear off, anxious people are likely to experience shakiness, headaches and nausea.
Alcohol does not mix well with anxiety medications. Sedatives of any kind should never be combined with alcohol. The interaction of alcohol with benzodiazepines can depress both breathing and blood pressure, possibly causing coma or death.
The same qualities in alcohol that may initially cause relaxation also affect your ability to remember, understand and make decisions. A person may experience minor relief from panic after drinking alcohol only to discover that as it wears off, his anxiety returns more intensely than before. "
You should really consider a better treatment plan. Perhaps rehab could help you to release those addictive demons. Or seeing a different doctor that could help you find out a plan that will be the healthiest option for you so you can live a long life.
Best of luck, keep in touch- let me know how things go.

January, 22 2010 at 9:29 am

I have fought depression for many years. NOW, I fight a harder battle than Major Depression which took 18 years of medications and 43 ECT to get relief from ANXIETY!!!!!! I welcome all the knowledge you can share with those of us who are UNDER and IN the grips of this overwhelming Illness. It seems I know EVERYTHING there is to know about depression. Zoloft is taking care of the worst of this. Anxiety...well, I am in BONDAGE!!! Addicted to a 60 mg dose daily of Tranxene thanks to a psychiatrist that did not care what happened to his patients... and having to add "titrated" alcohol to this in order to "participate" in any aspect of a "real" life or even be able to go to Therapy every week. Thanks for beginning this Blog. I know it will be a great help!

Douglas Cootey
January, 15 2010 at 7:37 am

Great way to begin your blog. I look forward to reading more from you. It is amazing to me how much power Knowing gives us in finding solutions. To others who don't experience mental health issues, that may seem like an obvious statement. Unfortunately, those who do experience mental health issues often are lost in the symptoms. Getting to Knowing is a long part of the journey.

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