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“"I know from personal experience...getting anxious kids help early can be crucial in heading off more serious problems later in life."”

A Childhood Darkened by Severe Anxiety Becomes Brighter

Childhood anxiety, even severe and chronic, doesn’t necessarily stand in the way of success and achievement. But caring parents will do anything to help relieve their children of misery. Scott Stossel, the editor of The Atlantic magazine, tells his story of struggling, coping, and living a very productive life.

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“I'm Jack. I have social anxiety disorder. But I also have hope.”

Much More Than Shy

“Hi! I'm Jack. And I have an anxiety disorder.”

Merely talking to other people makes me anxious. I often experience "phone fear." I avoid social gatherings (particularly parties), which I find excruciating. Crowded settings, especially without a perceptible escape route, cause me uneasiness, sometimes panic.

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“Social situations, including school, were torture. I bulldozed my way through life, including dabbling in alcohol and substance abuse for relief of my anxiety and depression. ”

Not Really a Rebel

I have suffered from social anxiety disorder since I was about 10 years old, or about 34 years. I was a very intelligent child, but when teachers noticed a difference in me, I started trying to be invisible. Social situations, including school, were torture. I bulldozed my way through life, including dabbling in alcohol and substance abuse for relief of my anxiety and depression. I find it very interesting that the disorder is marked by a morbid fear of authority figures. And here I thought I was just being a rebel!

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“The only difference between Brian and most other children is that while he is at school, he is mute. ”

My Silent Child

My 5-year old boy has a cherub's face with a hint of mischief in his beautiful green eyes. Brian dances to silly music and entertains us with his antics. He tells his brother to leave him alone and he teases his sister while she does her homework. The only difference between Brian and most other children is that while he is at school, he is mute.

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“I felt extremely isolated from my friends and family because I couldn't explain to them what I was feeling. I had no idea what was wrong with me.”

Ricky Williams: A Story of Social Anxiety Disorder

Many people know Ricky Williams as the Heisman Trophy-winning running back who had it all — fame, money, and talent. Selected as the fifth NFL draft pick out of college, he became a celebrity overnight. With a successful career underway, who would believe that this football sensation who played for crowds of 100,000 dreaded the thought of going to the grocery store or meeting a fan on the street?

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“I found it most ironic; I was someone who enjoyed groups and events, and here I was hamstrung with a phobia that made me detest groups, particularly functions involving a meal.”

My Panic and Anxiety: More Than Nerves

The summer before my senior year in college, my mother died of lung cancer at the age of 57. I dealt with my loss privately, as I had handled most of my problems throughout adolescence: I repressed my grief and kept moving. I avoided talking about my mother's death and I continued my college work and social schedule as if nothing had happened.

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“Was I going to spend the next 40 years making clever excuses about why I was unable to participate in living, laughing, and being whole? ”

Determined to Recover

Rita ClarkAfter more than 20 years of not going to a grocery store, restaurant, or public place alone, not driving out of my safe area and not attending school functions for my children, I began my difficult recovery from panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder.

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ADAA is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, OCD, PTSD, depression, and related disorders and to improving the lives of all people who suffer from them.

 

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