me and my anxiety

January 28, 2019

As part of being more open this year, I have decided to open up a bit about anxiety.

Everyone gets anxious, but not everyone suffers from anxiety. Keyword being, suffers.  That's what sets apart what I feel when I have to meet new people or go to parties with my parents, only made worse when everyone there is trying to talk to me but for me it seems more like they're talking at me, asking questions that I don't know how to answer because I haven't rehearsed it a thousand times beforehand.

This only really dawned on me after my best friends mum and I were talking and i was sat almost in silence the whole time even though I knew that I had once been very happy to talk about anything with my friends mum, but now I was worried about what I was saying or how I should reply to make her happy even though she was asking how I was doing and what big school was like for me. I had felt like this with a few others but she made it apparent something in me had changed significantly.
I think my anxiety began as I was going through puberty, everything I had known about me was changing, I was developing into a new people. But unlike the people around me who were growing confident and pretty, I felt I was falling behind and couldn't match up to them, even though we had all been friends for ages. Some I had been friends with since joining the primary school they went to after my mum had to relocate for work. The relocation didn't help me, as it meant I was about to go into secondary school without established friendships, but the friends I had made we're nice and caring and took me in easily.

Year 7 went by smoothly, I could talk to just about anyone about everything but in year 8 that's when my confidence plummeted. With my confidence going, I took up reading more, escaping a reality where I had to interact with people, feeling like I didn't know how to anymore. Feeling like I was sat in a room with a little window, looking out to everyone around me fostering and growing fulfilling relationships with each other, whilst I sat watching trying to emulate their behaviour without being as close to people as I wanted to be. I still feel that way. Due to my wasting away my early teens with fantastical stories, I didn't experience things the way my friends did. It didn't help that my parents would never let me out to do anything (not just in the beginning years of secondary school, but up basically until I finished year 13), I couldn't even go to my friends evening hangouts because my parents were worried that we'd be up to nefarious deeds when all my friends and I did was read and talk about music when we were together.

You could probably tell that I also never got to go out with boys, and not having any experience with them has hindered me even talking to them like normal people, because I just don't know how to act, or talk to them. Yes, boys give me anxiety too. Since being in uni I have tried to overcome this to varying levels of success, not necessarily dating, but talking to them, I still have my moments of 'oh my god, what do I say in this situation' but I find when people lead the conversation, it eases my anxiety because I can work off what they say.

I have found one on one interactions a lot easier than having to be in a group of people, I've cultivated most of my friendships this way. I struggle being heard over other people because I have come to talk quietly, and even when I project my voice, it comes out weak amongst a sea of voices filled with confidence. Group discussions and tasks at uni cause me great anxiety even though I know everyone in my class. I can only really find it bearable when one of my two friends is in my group, Mae helping by covering for me or offering to do stuff with me, acting like a mediator that I can tell my ideas to and her relay them to the group. Robbie pushes me to contribute, this can be annoying but he doesn't go all the way to force me to talk, just suggests it or tells me to help out with tasks, like a teacher sort of. I appreciate this sometimes because it gets me used to talking and people tend to pipe down after he does tell someone to talk, so people can actually hear what I'm saying. I feel bad for putting them through this because I didn't want to tell them I can't do these things myself without worrying and overthinking everyone around me's reactions to what I say, because out of everyone, I don't want these two to think it strange or not want to be my friends over my  anxiety.

You always see those jokes about avoiding eye contact to avoid being picked on to answer, well that was my entire secondary school and sixth form existence, where on many occasions I would involuntarily cry when asked to speak in public because what if I said the wrong answer and people laughed, or the teacher told me off for being an idiot. It came to the point where I would pretend to look in my bag under the table or pretend to continue writing so that the teacher would pass me by and I wouldn't have to talk. My teachers always praised my quiet demeanour, but I suffered not being able to just talk like my peers, not in lessons, but in general. There are millions of things I've wanted to say but my fear of rejection and anxiety over what people think of me has stopped me in my tracks.
This year I want to try and improve this. Try and alleviate my anxiety. put myself in situations I hate to practice how to deal with myself in them. I want to do the things I stopped myself from doing.

I know this is a bit of a long one, but I hope this has opened some peoples eyes to what it's like living in a constant state of just, anxious. I hope you feel like sharing my story, maybe to someone with anxiety to show it's not just them, or maybe to someone who doesn't understand how it feels.

~ Terry xx

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an old blog but I wanted to send you love anyway. I hope you are feeling significantly better now, and that your anxiety is undercontrol.

    - Nyxie


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