shy girl, quiet girl

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!

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A sweary brain dump on anxiety and counselling

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Hello

 
My counselling finished. I cannot afford it. After a year and however many months of trying to access help, I got it – from a women’s centre close to where I live. It has been 8 months, I think, of one session a week. I feel lost, to be honest. The decision was taken out of my hands. After last month’s depression and feeling lonely, I don’t think not having anyone to talk to is useful. It is shit. I am freaking out at being told I can start up again when I like but will be given a different counsellor depending on availability. I am sick of telling my story repeatedly to professionals. Especially when I’m like ‘oh, it’s fine!’ and they’re like, ‘that must have been tough for you,’ so I don’t like the thought of entrusting another person with my past. I know I’m no-one special and my experiences are not unique, it isn’t that a big deal.

 
I feel like I have opened all these wounds from the past and the memories are overwhelming at times. I haven’t figured out how to deal with them. I just feel shit about them.

 
My anxiety feels through the roof at the moment. I’m thinking about appointments I need to make after lockdown and even supermarket trips have an added layer of anxiety because of social distancing. It makes me feel like shit when you are in the supermarket and waiting for a person to finish picking up what they are getting from the shelf and they deliberate and change their mind and after three minutes I realise they have no idea I am there, waiting for them to move. Coughing doesn’t sound like a good idea to do now and I lose my voice in social environments, so after looking stupid, I go and get something else and come back when it’s free. It’s a worry I have, that I have no presence, that people seem to not notice me. It makes me think am I dead, am I invisible, is there something wrong with me?

 
No, people are knobheads, Kate.

 
The anxiety pisses me off. I have always had it and thought I was used to it and I actually realise it’s isolating and people are writing what they are going to do when they get out of lockdown and seeing friends and going to the beach and whatever. I’m writing stuff like see the doctor, go to the dentist, etc. because I haven’t in so long because anxiety is like ‘bitch, please. You really think you could do that without fucking up. Stay in your lane,’

 
Anxiety about my health is huge. I don’t think people appreciate what it takes, to phone to get an appointment and then building yourself up to go to the appointment. You’re thinking about what to wear, the bus, should I walk, the weather, what will happen in the appointment, what will I say, will I be taken seriously, will I be waiting long, do they have a toilet in the surgery, will they ask me to use the self-service machine I’ve never used before to weigh myself and get my height, will the receptionist be nice, will I be able to speak, will I make a fool of myself, what if I’m late, what if the doctor thinks I’m wasting their time, will they even look up from their computer at me, will I get a chance to speak my mind, what if I break the chair, will the surgery be busy, will everyone stare at me, what if the doctor doesn’t do anything, what if the doctor fobs me off, what if they give me medication and I have to tell them I cannot afford it and no, I’m not on benefits so I cant be exempt from charges, what if I don’t know the right stop to get off the bus, what if it rains, do I need an umbrella, which coat do I wear, will I get too hot, should I take a drink, should I take snacks, what am I going to do after, I’m going to have to walk past the railway tracks, it’s too loud, too many people –

 
You get the idea. Time becomes irrelevant. The appointment takes up every waking minute of every day leading up to it. I try and stay busy and distracted but it’s hard. I wish I could take my head off at times.

 
I know it’s ridiculous. I know if I could snap my fingers and not worry and be anxious, I would but I seemingly cannot. It’s the way I live. Every part of my life involves thinking too hard about it and I am in my comfort zone and when I dare try to do something new, anxiety pulls me in. It wants to save me from looking stupid and being rejected. It’s a nice thing of it to do, but it’s a hinderance, rather than a help. I realise that. Counselling has been one step out of the comfort zone, and it was positive. It was one day a week I left home and had a purpose. I was consistently going, my routine changed. Because it’s difficult for me to leave the flat without a goal, I need a reason to go out and other than shopping, visit to the public library, I got nothing. I have no-one to help me with that. I think a person could be of help. I have my boyfriend but, you know. He’s probably suffered as well. He’s outgoing but now he doesn’t do much either.

 
It’s frustrating because I nailed it late last year. Went out at least 5 days out of 7 and when my boyfriend and I went on holiday, we went out every day. I might have a good couple of days while on holiday and then I want to stay in the hotel room and not leave. It’s a positive we have been on holidays. It hasn’t been easy. Going to the shop to book the holiday, going to Primark to buy holiday clothes, packing literally everything in case we have burglars while we’re away, the travel to the airport, then navigating the airport, security, hours to kill, queues to buy an overpriced newspaper and bottle of water, delays, boarding, the transport to the plane, getting onto the plane, off the plane is horrendous and then queues to get through the airport, toilets, finding our luggage, transfer to the hotel is awful, check in, finding our room, food control issues so must first go the supermarket and buy supplies, restaurants, the beach, public toilets, body image problems – the list is endless and I do shut down. My boyfriend knows I’m not there at all and knows not to ask, just get me through the airport, onto the plane and to the hotel.

 

No-wonder I get burnout.

 
I tried to find positives here. I’m trying, which is good.
Thanks for reading, Drop a comment if I said anything that made sense to you.