It could come from anywhere. It could be from/ directed towards anyone. I could wake up with it or it could creep up slowly throughout the day – like the dark clouds you see in the sky in the morning that make you think, ‘it could rain today, and that cloud looks nasty.’
I’ve struggled with anxiety for probably 13 years. I say probably because I first really noticed it’s existence when I moved up to another school and thought it’s just those natural nerves and that it’s something I would surely grow out. Only problem is, I didn’t and haven’t grown out of it. It has governed most corners of my life for the best part of those 13 years and really grows to prominence in any kind of social situation; whether it is people I haven’t met before or people I’m perfectly comfortable with but for some reason or other, they might expect more from me today.
I can feel it coming too – I get agitated, snappy, disinterested and frustrated easily. Not only does it affect me but it affects the others around me, which in turn brings its own bout of anxiety due to that overwhelming fear of losing the love of those closest to me through my actions.
Im a pretty creative person (If I don’t say so myself!) I’ve always had a strong passion for playing music, always been sporty and active, and I’ve always been decent at using words to convey my emotions. My creativity also comes into play when removing myself from any of these social situations when the darkness has truly overcome me – you should hear some of them! Have you ever called your voicemail and acted like you were speaking to that robot, just to remove yourself from the room? I have. Plenty of times. The funniest part is, I know it’s ridiculous. Anxiety attacks however, are not. My palms will get sweaty, my words get stuck in my throat, I will visibly start shaking and thoughts go round my mind like they’re trying beat the lap record at the Nurenberg ring. Then it’s like, “I’m fully aware I’m having these symptoms, are other people fully aware too? What are they thinking? What will they think of me?’ Having anxiety makes me anxious.
Out of all the therapy and medication I’ve had (which is for another blog post entirely) they all tell me I should search for some deep rooted, un-healed wound where this anxiety has come from. I have had one deeply scarring event in my life, but that is completely unrelated to anxiety – that causes my agitated depression, PTSD and borderline bipolar disorder (apparently). I’ve never not been able to get along with people, they’ve always liked me and always remembered me…for the right reasons! To have this crippling fear of some kind of social failure remains all the more frustrating to me as I don’t know where it comes from, nevertheless it will keep me from venturing outside my house and instead of going to parties I was invited to, I’d rather whimper in the corner of my bedroom with a glass of vimto and a bag of onion rings.
As soon as my back is turned I wonder what people are saying about me. Literally as soon as I leave a room. What if everyone is plotting against me? What if all my co-workers are trying to get the boss to get rid of me? It’s these sorts of questions that have made me shut off from the world completely at times. They have never allowed me to truly love someone (until very recently). Trust is such a big word and one that has been very difficult to reason with. Anxiety has caused me to leave a few broken hearts in my wake, which I am of course not proud of. It still makes me think that if every morning we don’t wake up like it’s not straight out of a Hollywood love story, does this person still want me? Are they falling out of love with me? Are they intending to search for someone else whilst we live together? So many questions.
I am male, therefore I am a ‘bottler‘, as we say in the UK. I dont actually ask these questions to anyone, only myself and give myself a thousand different answers over the course of a few minutes. Even if I was to ask these questions to the relevant party, any answers that were given wouldn’t satisfy me anyway. It is truly a no win situation. In regards to a relationship, or in fact anyone you chose to surround yourself with if you are suffering with anxiety (as I believe you are since you are reading this post) make sure those people understand that. Make sure they understand you might need to leave at any point, make sure they understand sometimes you will cancel dependant on how you wake up that day. That alone has helped me cope with the overwhelming uncertainty anxiety brings to everyday life. It is one less thing to worry about. If anxiety is part of you, it’s part of you. Try to embrace it, instead of fighting it as though it is your failure as a human being. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and truly believe you are a good person, then having anxiety is no biggy. Those people worth staying in your life will also see things from that viewpoint, and anyone who doesn’t isn’t worth all the worry anyway. Now, I am trying to see anxiety as part of my being that allows me to be as sensitive as I am. Anxiety allows me to think everything through fully to make a sound decision. Anxiety has made me an articulate person who has been able to fully subversive myself in creativity. Anxiety has made me fully comfortable in my own company. Anxiety has made me un-materialistic and search for something in my life that truly means something – which is something I am sure some people would give everything for.