Brandy asked a question on the last post about why she couldn't sleep the night before group and why she was exhausted afterward. It seems to happen before participating in activities that cause her stress. That leads me to believe that the culprit of these reactions all boils down to one word - adrenaline. Also referred to as epinephrine, this hormone occurs naturally in the body and plays a vital role in the fight or flight responses in our body. Fight or flight happens as a response to threatening or exciting conditions. As well as fear, adrenaline can also be increased by anger. This hormone plays an important role in short-term stress reaction. Everyone has heard stories about mothers who miraculously lifts cars off of their children after accidents. This is adrenaline. Brandy sees the group as a frightening event because of her shyness. The night before the event, her subconscious is already, for lack of a better term, battening down the hatches in order to prepare her for group the next day. Her body is going into fight or flight mode, sort of a pre-panic attack syndrome. This is actually a good thing as it is adrenaline which helps her to attend these functions. But the lack of sleep the night before can be detrimental to the body and can also adveresly affect her bodies ability to cope with the stress. We can't turn off the sub-conscious. It controls us, not the other way around. What we can do is use mechanisms to help us control our responses to our sub-conscious actions. What I would suggest for you Brandy, is to lay off the caffeine the day before and day of the event. Caffeine increases the levels of adrenaline. Also, try a warm bath with lavender at bedtime the night before group. See if you can get DH to give you a soothing, relaxing massage. Take melantonin or some other over the counter sleep aid, nothing strong, just something to help your body relax. You may also want to look into meditation or relaxation tapes to listen to before you retire for the night. There are many things you can do to help your body relax now that you know what is causing the disturbance.
Exhausted afterward? Of course you are, your body has been in the fight/flight mode, adrenaline levels have gone skyward. You can think of it as stress "attacking" your body and you using adrenaline to fight it off. It is known that the "let-down" after increases in adrenaline can cause exhaustion. And that's just it - your body is "letting down" after high stress levels. Maybe by getting a little more sleep the night before will help with this. Otherwise - you'll just have to arrange time to take a nap - I know that's hard with children, but maybe something can be worked out. Just a couple of hours to allow your body time to "re-set" its buttons. If anyone else has any ideas, please let us know.
Brandy - I'll answer your other question - the major difference between pathological shyness and social phobia - tomorrow.