Anxiety has been a big part of who I am for such a long time. I reckon half the reason why us creatives do our thing is because we want to share things with people that we can’t necessarily do in person because we are so anxious about speaking out but that’s okay. After 13 very long years I have decided that it is about time to tackle this thing and learn some coping mechanisms on how to deal with Mr A. I don’t really know what this blog post is going to be about but I suppose I want it to be a post where you can all talk about how you feel whether it is a small success or a huge milestone.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, hence the fortnight break, but I just couldn’t bring myself round to write it. If you follow me on social media then you would probably know that I’ve been to Manchester a lot this Summer. Primarily for work experience but my first placement involved me staying with my sister which meant I was travelling on public transport every morning and every evening for a week. Guess what? I didn’t have a panic attack or felt anxious even when the trains were like being in a can of sardines or when I accidentally got on the train to Liverpool Lime Street rather than going to Warrington Central. I felt completely fine. I took deep breathes when I felt nervous and if that didn’t work I listened to Headspace but not once did I have a full blown panic attack and to me that is something to give myself a massive pat on the back about. This kind of thing happens on the regular whilst in Newcastle. I can’t actually get on the Metro or a bus without having a panic attack which means traveling around the North East is difficult. I am honestly limited to going for a walk or if I am having a good day I would attempt the bus. Since returning, I’ve been on the Metro twice and just like in Manchester everything was fine. Nothing bad happened and I made it back home without having a panic attack or feeling anxiously sick.
The second week came about and this time I was staying in Manchester City Centre for a full week on my own. I knew I had people who I could meet up with but usually I hate being on my own. I really struggle to motivate myself and feel okay but in turn social situations frighten me as well. Anyway enough of that until later. Friday came around and I had managed to deal with being on my own all week and guess what? I loved every god damn minute of it! Of course, my work placement was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it but the biggest lesson I learnt was how to love my own company and the fact that feeling lonely isn’t too bad sometimes. I managed to read a full book. Shout out to Laura Jane Williams who wrote Our Stop, it was really good to get my teeth into something different. I started the Grow & Glow community project for my blog, I am slowly but surely managing to get through all the little tasks. I spent a whole day exploring and the biggest achievement of all is that I sat in numerous cafés and restaurants eating something on my own without feeling judged. To some of you reading this, it might seem like the every day musings but for me it is huge steps in dealing with my anxiety, overcoming certain situations and not having to rely on being around someone else to be happy and okay.
I came back from Manchester and there was a house warming party with my friends and a handful of new people which I never met before and that made me feel super nervous and anxious. I had spent all week working myself up about it and I let anxiety over come me. I had two panic attacks on the Saturday morning and was sick with how nervous I was. This is the part where I think students who are starting their next chapter might be able to learn something from. So, I spent the week thinking about whether I was good enough to go, why does my friend want to invite me, people aren’t going to like me, I’m too fat and that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t go but I did drop off my friends’ presents. I came home and cried myself to sleep because I felt disappointed in myself and guilty. The following day I started thinking that my friends had started a secret group chat about how much of a rubbish friend I was but I know now that it was my mind and my anxiety telling me this and it didn’t actually happen. I felt upset and disappointed that I didn’t go especially after hearing how much of a good time everyone had and how chilled out it actually was. You are probably wondering what you can learn from this. Well, don’t let Mr A get the better of you. Anxiety is in all honesty a pile of shit and it happens to all of us at different stages of our lives. Some people know how to cope with it and others need a little bit of help. If you are faced with a similar sort of situation please try and beat anxiety and attend that event, especially if it is something with friends. I certainly wish that I did after reflecting upon the situation. If you feel uncomfortable you can leave, that was an option that I had. Freshers is such a big thing during September where a lot of students are pressured into going to social events and in my opinion, I would try and go to the ones you feel comfortable with even if it means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone just a little bit. If you give yourself that little bit of a push you might actually enjoy it. As for me, I am paying to speak to a therapist. I was in two minds on whether to admit this or not but I feel like in order for me to be able to deal with stuff I need that little bit of extra help. I want to be able to go to my friend’s Halloween party this year. I want to attend my graduation next Spring. I want to learn to deal with situations that will make me react in the way that I did the other weekend and be okay about going. I don’t want to miss out on things that could potentially bring me enjoyment any more.
Do you have anxiety? How have you managed situations? Let me know if you want me to update you once I’ve had a couple of therapy sessions.
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