25 years anxious. I probably came out of the womb anxious. Where does that come from? You learn to be anxious, don’t you? You worry and worries become anxiety if something isn’t explained to you or you are unable to articulate worries so someone can help you navigate the thing safely.
I think my mum was very nervous about letting us children out to play and my parents are both not overly social. There were not many people that came into the family bubble. I don’t think things were explained to me. I think that’s the thing with anxiety. Anxiety is like an extra special app on your phone. It is difficult to explain it, when you think what is going on in your mind is normal. I knew there were kids in my class who could do bits that I couldn’t. They oozed confidence. I was aware I was quiet and shy and I was aware this was a problem because on all my school reports teachers remarked ‘she needs to talk more in class!’ I did think being shy was a disease. I hated it. I wondered how I could get rid of it. This shyness I needed to accept as part of my character, and I needed help with my anxiety, which was a separate component. I do think that’s how I become depressed as a teenager, because I had no close friendships or relationships. I was a solitary person. Who was smart but confused by so much. And so much could have easily been fast-tracked into being ‘normalised’ if I had someone to talk to about it.
When I was a kid, I had some worries. The dentist and toothache, films coming to an end, nits, having no friends, being first in the queue to go to assembly in school because I didn’t want to lead the line, kids being sick in class and I didn’t want to be the next to catch it and vomit in class, party games and not wanting a turn because I didn’t want the focus to be on me – ditto with my own birthday and blowing out candles on the cake, asking permission to go to the toilet in class, getting a non-speaking part in the Christmas play. Bloody hell, I must have been a bag of nerves!