My anxiety rears its ugly head a lot. And there are times when I’m not even sure why I have it, which then gives me even more anxiety until I can figure it out or it goes away. A lot of my anxiety stems from how I think others perceive me. How I look, how I act, how I seem, what I say… it all causes anxiety on any given day. I’ll be fine some days, where nothing will cause anxiety. Some days I’ll be fine until I climb into bed and try to sleep, and then I start agonizing over things I’ve said that might be taken the wrong way, or might make someone think of me badly. And then there are some days where I get immediate anxiety after something I say. I like the days when I don’t have any anxiety.
It’s really sad to say, but I also have anxiety during activities if I don’t know what is going to happen. I was going to take a weekend trip to another city over the summer, but cancelled it because I had no idea what I was going to do once I got there. There’s a long holiday weekend coming up soon, and I’m going on at trip. The only reason I haven’t cancelled this one is because everything is planned out already. All I have to do is make sure I’m at the bus on time. As such, I don’t go out very often unless I have a plan of “okay, I’m going to do this today, and I might do this, too.” I don’t socialize often either. But I don’t usually reject an invitation to hang out with someone, just because I don’t get such invitations often and I know I need to socialize outside of work.
I think I’ve always had anxiety and just didn’t know it. I always thought I was just excruciatingly shy. But looking back, I do see the same symptoms I get now. The not wanting to talk to people I don’t know. The turning red if I have to talk to someone or in front of a group. The pounding heartbeat. The cold sweats. The need to psych myself up to use the phone or contribute to a conversation.
I have one memory from high school where I think my mom started to realize maybe I wasn’t just shy. But she never did try to get me help. I had been invited to a friend’s birthday party at a pizza restaurant, but we weren’t sure if we were at the right place. So my mom told me to go to the counter and ask. I couldn’t do it. I was almost in tears, and I knew I really should get out of the car and go in, but I couldn’t make myself move. She got so angry and slammed out something about it not being normal.
I think I started to get a bit better when I went to college because I had to do everything for myself. But then things got worse again because I got sick, and the symptoms of my physical illness caused a lot of stress and anxiety. That’s when I finally realized that maybe I have anxiety. And it’s stuck around ever since. Even with what I found out to be an autoimmune disease under control with few lingering symptoms.
Anxiety sucks. And I’m hoping I’ll be able to find better ways to cope with it. Although, I’d love it if I could get rid of it entirely, but I’ll settle for learning to cope.
I’ll see you in the next one.