Tag Archives: social anxiety

I am Normal again

I have just returned from a night out seeing friends, this involved travelling to a different city and then getting a late night train back home. The boy and I then had to walk through the town centre, late at night, on a Saturday.

Here’s the thing, in the past, that would have freaked me the f*** out. I would have been in complete and utter panic stations (is panic stations a real phrase or is it a ‘flo-ism’?) I would have been hyperventilating and trying to hide behind the boy and been a complete mess. All because of the amount of people, the alcohol they had drunk and the potential for conflict.

I was fine tonight.

I did not even have the slightest elevated heart rate.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still wasn’t overly keen on the business of being around drunk and loud people who were all chess walking* But I coped.

A wise man once commented on my blog saying that mood and mental health changes and passes from one state to another. He said it in relationship to my despair over feeling bad, trying to reassure me that I could experience happiness again.

I understand that the flip side of that is also true. That my good state of mind could pass and lead back to a troubled way of thinking.

For now I will take joy that for the first time in about 18 months I feel free from the shackles of my anxiety.

Small Life

I used to dream big. I had confidence that everything would work out for me. I was going to travel the world, be a huge success, have a wild social life, get married, live in a beautiful house and have 5 children.

Naturally things change.

My dreams are smaller now. I will take being able to afford the train fare to see my family over travelling the world. I will take finding a job that doesn’t cripple me in terms of stress over being a big success. I will take no longer having social anxiety around being in large crowds on nights out. I will take being in a fulfilling relationship with the boy, even if it results in no ring on my finger. I will take owning a house of any description over a dream house.

I will take the ability to be a good mother to one healthy child over enough for a football team.

My life is in limbo at the moment. I can’t go on holiday or buy a house or get married whilst I am still in debt. I can’t progress in my career whilst I still find a way to sabotage any success that comes my way. I can’t consider doing something normal like celebrating my birthday whilst I am afraid to socialise.

I can’t conceive a child when my menstruation cycle is messed up due to my weight.

My life is small. I ran away from my home town as the thought of remaining there and living there forever like my dad had done, living a small life with unfulfilled dreams, becoming ‘stuck’ was more than I could bear.

My dad told us stories of the many occasions when he tried to run away from home.

I was lucky. I could go to University on a grant when the loans I accrued were a third per year of what they are now. I could move and try out independence in a safe way, with the security of University behind me. My Dad went to University as a mature student. Our lives might have been different if there were more options for my Dad when he was younger.

The options were limited in my home town. A good percentage of the girls in my year were pregnant before the age of 18. Fine if that’s what you want, but I couldn’t help feeling there was something more to do first.

My life is small. But that’s ok. I have reset the parameters of success. I feel success when I can make it to the end of the day without crying. When I make it to the end of the day without taking a ‘chill pill’ (propranolol) . When I am in a large crowd and it’s only when I return home that I realise I didn’t freak out.

And I can still complete an N64 Zelda Game with the mad skills.

 

Say What?!

So…..

Today after a 30 day absence I returned to work.

And……

It was fine, better than fine, it was like a new fresh beginning.

My bosses and colleagues were wonderful.

I had to face the truth at long last. That I am, or was, utterly paranoid.

No one was out to get me.

No one was whispering in a corner about how terrible I am as I made my way into the office.

No one shouted or snarled or sneered at me.

They were all lovely.

My brain had betrayed me. It had led me to believe there was harm and danger in every direction, in every situation, in every person.

I know this sounds unbelievable, but I believed in what my brain was telling me. I believed in the danger, I believed that everyone was out to get me, that everyone hated me.

When the boy tried to gently tell me I was paranoid I genuinely believed he was wrong, that he was naive, that he was lying to me.

I feel like I am finally seeing the world for what it is. I feel like I am finally seeing the truth. I feel like I have been given a lifeline.

I don’t know how long I will be in this job. I don’t know how long this feeling will last. I don’t know what tomorrow holds.

But today I feel strong and happy.

Let’s Not Get Too Excited 2

Further developments.

I have been reading a book from the local Library called ‘Mad Diet’ by Suzanne Lockhart, and in case you can’t tell from the title it’s about what to do if you are both mad and fat. (Like me).

She talks about how depression can be linked to deficiencies in certain vitamins and recommends taking supplements, and while I’m of the opinion that my poor mental health is caused by a traumatic childhood and a poor mental operating system, I am willing to give anything and everything a try.

Lockhart says the key supplements to take are Magnesium, B vitamins, Omega 3 and a Probiotic. So yesterday I trawled across 5 different drugstores making sure I was getting not only the correct supplements (magnesium citrate, not oxide, and equal DHA and EPA in the Omega 3) but also the best price (naturally).

It was a sizeable dent to the food/household budget.

But…I don’t want to get excited but my anxiety has greatly improved.

I can’t fairly say I am not anxious, but it takes longer and more in depth wallowing to reach a heightened point of anxiety.

I will keep you posted of further developments.

Let’s Not Get Too Excited

I had my counselling session and as I was walking home an interesting thing happened.

I was about to turn round a bend tightly, and there were people heading in my direction and people walking in a different direction, but we were all going to cross paths.

Which we did, and I had to do an awkward shuffle out the way.

It was only as I was walking away I noticed something.

My heart rate wasn’t elevated.

I wasn’t playing an inner monologue berating myself for my inadequacies.

I wasn’t hyperventilating.

You may wonder what the big deal is, well when something like that happens-people coming too close to me, not doing something ‘perfectly’ I get anxious and feel bad and often needlessly panic.

It may be early days but I am taking that as a win.

Choose Life 2

I was innocently reading Stewart Lee’s article in The Guardian today and he made a comment about someone he knew passing away in 2007 and it made me think about how they wouldn’t have seen all the terrible things that have happened in the world since then.

But, I knew then that no matter how many bad things have happened there have been at least an equal amount of good, positive, beautiful things as well.

So I choose life, like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting, because I want to be around for every single grubby moment of life that the world wants to kick up in my face, because I know that the alternative – not being alive – is not a better solution.

I want to experiences the horrors as well as the highs, and believe me for most of my life it felt like I had too much of the former and not much of the latter. I do not say this lightly, and also I only had that brain wave at about 3pm today and I have already gotten into a panic about work and had to take a propanalol, but it’s true. I want to be around.

Life is like a game of cricket. It’s about getting the most innings.

Back in My Dark State of Mind

Yesterday the boy and I went out with friends to say goodbye to one of our old drinking haunts in the city we all went to University at as it was moving location.

All was going fine, we had a seat for each of us at a big table, we arrived early, there weren’t many people there initially, we were all having a good time.

I don’t know what triggered it, but as you can guess I got into a state of anxiety.

If I had to hazard a guess at what caused it, I would say it was when half the group left to go to the club area upstairs to dance, leaving three of us including me downstairs, meaning the seats that had been vacated were probably going to be taken.

Which was freaking me out as I would feel claustrophobic, I would feel self conscious and insecure being around strangers and I was scared most of all that a stranger might start talking to me.

Seriously, I was petrified by that.

Petrified.

Let’s just mull over that. I was scared someone would talk to me.

Because if someone was to talk to me, I would feel like everyone was staring at me, waiting for a response, and I knew I would stammer, and be unsure of what to say, and I would say anything to make the attention go away.

I would be a rubbish spy as I would give all the secrets away just to have them leave me alone.

The other thing that happened was I had lost my voice and needed a drink, so I asked the boy to get me one as my anxiety meant I couldn’t go up to a crowded bar and order a drink as I would be around people (who may talk to me!) and I would be so nervous about ordering a drink that more often then not the bar person mishears me and I end up with a completely different drink to the one I wanted and I am too pathetic to correct them.

Except the boy didn’t realise the seriousness of the situation and although he said he would he continued talking to our friends and I was getting more and more worked up, desperate for a drink, feeling crowded and overwhelmed, hot, bothered, scared, nervous, in pain in my throat, not being able to talk which would have left me vulnerable to strangers wanting to start up a conversation with me and I was feeling scared.

Then the boy left to get our drinks and then I started getting worked up because I was with a friend who I love dearly as a friend, but we are both on the shy and quiet end of the scale which makes easy conversation difficult and I was getting panicked because I thought that he would think I am a weirdo, or rude, or boring, or crap, and to be fair my throat did hurt and I felt the panic rise and rise and rise and rise and by the time the boy came back I was at critical point which meant all I could do was run away (I am very much the ‘flight’ in the case of fight or flight).

I was hyperventilating.

The boy and I went for a walk around the block. I was feeling so crap because I was about to end the night badly, I was about to ruin the evening because my stupid broken mind had betrayed me.

We left soon after that. We went home quickly in a taxi. The boy went straight up to the bedroom and was in bed not talking to me and turned on his side. I knew he was in a bad way, because of me.

I climbed into bed and turned off the light and could feel the emotions of the boy seeping into me, and I felt so low, so down, and I think I was about to cry myself to sleep.

The boy then reached his arm over and half hugged/half stroked me. I was so pathetically grateful for this sign of affection as it made me feel forgiven for being a complete mental f*** up.

(By the way I would never use that sort of language to describe someone else with mental health difficulties, it is just myself I reserve the hate and bile for).

We talked, and I told him that things are not going to change overnight but I am on the path to better mental health. I just feel like we have had this conversation and this promise too many times before.

I feel like I have been in an impossible maze for the last few years, and had reached the point where I was just trapped in a corner/dead end with no way out. Now I feel a bit more optimistic. I feel like I am still far from the centre of the maze, but that I am turning the right corners.

Oh No, I just said ‘turned a corner’, I vowed never to say that. Boooo!

I need to get better, because quite frankly it is exhausting hating myself as much as I do.