Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Anxiety and me

It seems rather apt that I'm writing this post now as my anxiety has seriously rocketed since getting home from holidays.

You know that crappy 'back to reality' feeling? Crank up the volume and add a healthy dose of pure fear. I'm scared everything will have changed since I've been gone. I'm scared everyone will have realised how annoying and horrible and stupid I am and how much better life is without me and will now hate me and not want anything to do with me. I'm scared 'my ladies' will have had much better carers than me while I've been gone and that they'll not want me back. I'm scared cos I have someone new on my rota tomorroe. I'm scared I'll have forgotten everything about how to ring and do my job and won't know how to fit back into my usual routine.

And that's the key. Routine. I've spent two weeks living an entirely different life and my routine is all over the place. And I need routine. It makes everything safer and easier and more manageable. A huge part of my anxiety consists of fear of a). Not knowing the rules and b). Getting things wrong. The idea of not knowing how to be in a certain situation scares me, of behaving inappropriately or doing the wrong thing. I hate not knowing the code and how things work and how they should go.

All of which is why change and unfamikiarity and new situations scare me. I find it hard to meet new people because I don't know their particular set of rules and who I'm supposed to be when I'm around them. I struggle with new situations because I don't know where things are and how the environment works. Sitting exams I get more anxious about the logistics the turning up in the right place,  at the right time, with the right things and knowing how to act in certain scenarios than I do about the actual paper.

The anxiety stays at a reasonable level provided I stay in my safe little box. As soon as I venture out into the wider world it all gets horribly, painfully uncomfortable and I want to retreat and hide and cry. A slight change in my usual rota at work can send me into a total tailspin, of not being able to sleep for days before, struggling to get out of the house or the car or generally do anything that involves dealing with the world. A road closure has the potential to cause a major freak out.

Take the ringing holiday, for example. I enjoyed it, certainly, but it was also hugely anxiety provoking. It's not as bad as it used to be because I've been on several before now so I'm building up a solid rule book. But it's still a new place with people I don't spend large amounts of time with on a regular basis. Add to this the uni assignment that I stupidly left til the last minute and it all gets very fun. Mainly this shows itself in a massive increase in claustrophobia. I struggle with enclosed spaces, or spaces I can't easily escape from (this includes social situations, long walks,  conversations and various other seemingly unconnected scenarios). It gets worse when my anxiety is high and I generally feel like running away from everything in the first place. It's also rather inconvinient when a significant part of your day involves enclosed ringing rooms which are often cramped, hidden behind organs or up tiny spiral staircases.

The upshot being shaking, difficulty breathing, racing thoughts, tingling/numb hands, dizziness, nausea, feelings of panic and urges to run and hide and generally get away. Anxiety rocks.

Saying that I don't live life in my box. I refuse to let anxiety dictate my life and I want to try new things even if it's really bloody difficult at times. And I'm lucky that I'm able to do that. I'm lucky I am able to fight it and do things anyway, a lot of people can't I guess. I'm also lucky that I have a huge amount of supportive people in my life these days, people who will accept my freak outs and not make me feel emvarrased or weak or guilty. Plus, the constant anxiety means I often fail to tell the difference between things that are my head getting carried away and things that are genuibely anxiety provoking even for 'normal people'. This has on occassion led to people commenting 'blimey that's brave, I never could have done that' or similar.....which I find both confusing quite amusing lol. X