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.


Baby Baby