For my birthday this year…

I turned 23 years old on Nov. 21st. I’ve been questioning my every thought and action a little more than usual after my boyfriend asked me if I feel different. He seemed serious. He said I sound different. He’s known me for around nine years and has dated me for six. He’s noticed I talk more, and it appears like I like to talk.

I do enjoy talking, but it’s a struggle. There’s feeling shy, and then there’s social anxiety disorder, where a zero-danger situation feels physically overwhelming. Sweating, trembling, nausea, headaches, trouble breathing, your mind going blank, your heart trying to beat out of your chest, and all from just being asked how your day is going or if you want to hang out later.

It’s the life of millions of American adults with SAD; around 15 million or 7% of American adults, to be a little more exact.

I do feel different because lately, I’ve been taking my physical symptoms head-on. I was diagnosed almost three years ago during my junior year of college, and I haven’t isolated myself from society the way I used to wonder if I could. I’m trying to do the exact opposite. So, for my birthday this year, I thought about progress, and of course, cake.

Originally published in St. James Plaindealer on November 21st, 2019.

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