Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Excessive Blushing

The heat on my face: unbearable. A heatwave rushing through my body. Head to toe. All eyes on me, laughter, whispers, I  dare not look up. If I look up they will see my fear, the tears stinging my eyes. Finally I'm done. I'm done shaking, I'm done fighting the need to run, to get away from these terrifyingly insensitive bullies. Some 'friends'. Some not friends. 

For as long as I can remember I have been a sufferer of anxiety. The most crippling is my social anxiety. Oh how many lessons I spent with my feet up on a school loo to hide from the humiliation of oral presentations I cannot tell you. Teachers didn't understand my fear. A genuine, crippling fear of speaking in front of people.

The start of my social anxiety is incredibly easy to pin point. It's also incredibly painful. I was ten years old, I had to make some stupid guitar at home out of take away boxes and elastic bands. I repeated the words 'please not me', over and over in my head. Then my name:

"Hannah! Come and show us your musical instrument. Tell the whole class about it,'

I was stuck. It was a stupid box made out of stupid materials and I was ten years old and my heart was pounding in my chest like it would fly out and hit the back wall. I blushed. I blushed so much pupils started laughing. They started whispering, "Why has she gone so red?"

I couldn't answer that question and I spent the next seven years asking it over and over again. I'm 23 now and I still blush. Because I have had counselling and therapy I have been able to handle my anxieties, my confidence and panic better than ever. I struggled alone with this. Oh the thoughts that went through my head. My hormonal, distressed teenage self wanted to be put down on the spot after every painful, soul destroying presentation.

Friends laughed at me. Bullies laughed at me. Made songs about me. I couldn't even have a bus journey without going back to my bedroom and crying after a long day at school. Family laughed at me too. Made jokes about my face. My disgusting, hideous, blushing face. I hope they were ashamed of themselves when my Mother told them how much it upset me.

I now know why I have this 'problem'. It is, of course, something rather 'sciency'. So if you suffer too, let me tell you that you have a nerve. Okay, you have lots of nerves in your face, bare with me. This nerve, in most people will react to certain situations and produce enough sweat, perhaps a slight 'flush' to the skin. We all blush it's a perfectly natural, human response to many normal things. Except when you suffer from *ahem*  'Excessive Blushing' this bitch of a nerve responds a bit too over enthusiastically sending a mad rush of heat, which will of course produce more sweat and yes, that lovely little red glow becomes something entirely different. I do believe I nicknamed myself 'The Human Tomato' (I was totally ready for the circus you see..)

Anyway, I'm not 'over' it. The only way to cure this problem is a rather risky operation which could leave you facially paralysed. I have contemplated this in my darkest hours but thankfully I have wrestled some demons and have fought back. I completely avoid speaking in public but have built the confidence to speak to strangers in the shops, the street. Believe it or not that was once impossible.

With hard work you can smile again. With determination you can
be who you are meant to be. Do the things you should do.
Without fear. Without anxiety.

This is my post for Baby Baby's Write On link up. As you can see I chose 'heat'. This is the most honest post ever to be published on my blog and it has certainly been a very hard (and teary) one to write.

CupcakeMumma

Baby Baby

20 comments:

  1. it must of been so difficult at such a young age, and kids are so insensitive. I hope after leaving school you realised that people are not that cruel. It's so brave to share this post, my boyfriend goes red sometimes but it has not held him back luckily. It's a difficult one, that there is no cure, I hope you keep on smiling :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment :) it was very difficult yes but we come out the other side eventually! It has always shocked me how young I was pupils picked out how different people were and I became one of them in class discussions sadly! When I went to sencondary they were just ignorant of the pain they caused me. I will indeed keep smiling :) thank you I hope your boyfriend continues to not be too phased by it :) xx

      Delete
  2. I too am a blusher. An extremely sweaty blusher. Even when I'm cold I'm sweating, and its awful! I'm 40 now and a lot of people are mentioning the change, like I can it can be blamed on something!? Its just that stupid bloody nerve :-( xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jo for your comment. Sorry you go through this too it's very uncomfortable and very embarrassing isn't it? I've never been able to blame it on anything which was even harder its always been a 'why does this happen to me?' It's something I've struggled with for years and when I am caught off guard and blush all those old feelings of hatred come back. Xx

      Delete
  3. I was a terrible blusher at school, just like you, I would die if I was asked by the teacher to say anything at all in class. I'm still shy now and not comfortable with strangers, but I always think to myself that they are probably feeling just as bad as me, and its up to me to make them feel better, thats how I'm able to conquer my fears - but it took me many years to get to this stage. I had no idea that it was galnd connected, or anything like that! Thanks for the science info.
    Hugs, Joy xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you also went through this Joy. Our bodies are very complex and sometimes very cruel things! I'm so pleased you have conquered your fears because it can be so incredibly hard to do. For some reason there being a reason behind it all can make it a little easier for me xxx

      Delete
  4. I'm so sorry you were bullied about this, things like that just make anxieties even worse. I'm similar to this also-just not quite as bad. I am the one who talks faster than the speed of light to make it go quicker, blushing ans tumbling on my words, I also have always been rubbish at talking to people in shops etc and still feel awkward now. I am glad it has got a bit better with the counselling, it's hard writting these sort of posts isn't it! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your lovely comment (as usual :) I used to think I was so alone in all of this then here you all are with me! It's so hard writing these posts, much harder than writing about my PND or similar.Thank you for your support xx

      Delete
  5. You are so brave to write this post. Well done x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh Hannah, what a brave and honest post. I really feel for you and for that little girl who was forced to speak in front of the class. I go red when I speak in front of a few people, although I can do public speaking. My voice is quiet and I struggle to be heard in meetings.
    I hope it wasn't too painful for you to write. I hope you feel better for sharing your fears, knowing there are people who care x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank-you Sandy for hosting a link up that allowed me to finally open up about this. It's something that affects a lot of people and yet we all keep it so secret for fear of further bullying and humiliation. xx

      Delete
  7. Very brave post. Thank you for sharing. x

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a brave post to write. Kids (and adults!) can be so mean and thoughtless. I used to suffer badly with eczema which was usually very visible. All you want to do is be invisible. You don't want comments from often strangers. The worst was when they started diagnosing, as if I had no idea I had a horrible, painful, itchy and sometimes infected rash on my skin.
    I think there is nothing funny about someone making jokes at the expense of someone else, only to make themselves look funny. Well done Hannah for speaking up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adults can be so much worse because you expect better from them. Children are just cruel, often completely ignorant to what they are doing to you. I'm sorry you had similar experiences and people were so inconsiderate. Thank-you for yet another lovely comment on my blog Cybele x

      Delete
  9. Dear Hannah

    What a brave post! Thank you for writing it. My 16 year old granddaughter would appear to have social anxiety. We thought she was just a shy little girl but, now that she is a teenager, the social issues are getting worse. I think it's peer pressure. She says she is anxious about speaking in front of other teenagers. She's a very intelligent girl and does well at school but I'm concerned about her. It is very difficult to get her to go anywhere with us as she's always worried she might see someone she knows. When she was with us in town the other day she walked around like a tortoise trying to draw her head into her shell. My daughter-in-law says there is a very good counsellor at her school in Bahrain and I've urged her to speak to her about my granddaughter. Your post has confirmed my suggestion. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment Margaret. I really hope your granddaughter can get some help through this because hearing her story it seems incredibly like my own memories of when I was younger. I wouldn't do anything and developed a social phobia, a fear of talking to people face to face and even over the phone. There are many things i wish I would've done but i did not because I was so, so struck with fear. Please let me know how she gets on, and if ever i could be of any help or comfort, my e-mail is at the top of my blog xx

      Delete
  10. It is interesting that like a lot of people with social anxieties, you identify the trigger point very clearly and shows just how deeply rooted the symptoms of anxiety go on to become.

    It'd be useful if we, as a society, were more aware of those people at higher risk of developing anxiety related symptoms and problems so we could swiftly address the effects of triggers before they become deeply embedded.

    Thanks for this- it is good to see somebody talking of things like this- not something I have read a lot about before.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for helping me understand more about it, it was horrible in school they used to call me rainbow face 😔 so I know how it feels, bunch of dickheadspeople can be so mean, I'm glad yours is slowly getting better hope mine does soon. Stupid nerves!

    Amy x

    ReplyDelete

We love comments!