I have been trying to write this for a while but I haven’t been able to because I am not sure where I stand with it. I have no idea when my anxiety started getting worse, but suddenly things that hadn’t been difficult for a while, like serving a customer in work, became impossible. Beta blockers, prescribed by my psychiatrist, stopped the physical effects (my hands visibly shake. The sort of shake that looks like I am in withdrawals. Try operating a till with that) but did nothing to stop my actual anxiety.
Gradually, as my anxiety got worse, and worse, my world shrank. The pool of people I felt comfortable with dramatically decreased. I stopped going to uni because I was so worried about talking to people. Talking on the phone was impossible. Answering messages, or even receiving them became such a terrifying idea I had to deactivate my Facebook. I lost contact with pretty much everyone except my boyfriend and my immediate family.
The strangest thing is, it isn’t even lonely. The feeling of anxiety was so strong even considering a social setting, it was far more pleasant to be alone. Working in retail exaggerated this. I am honesty not sure how I got through it, but when I finished for Christmas I couldn’t even bring my dog for a walk during the day in case somebody said hello and I had to respond.
Finishing work gave me enough energy to reactivate Facebook. I even managed to message friends for the first time in months. I went back to university, something that was looking doubtful and something my multi disciplinary team thought I wouldn’t be able to. In a way, that part of my life has improved drastically. I feel like I am excellent at putting on a show and making sure everything appears perfect on the outside. Will I ever not have anxiety? I know it has definitely been better and worse. I want to have friends again, and go places. I know I do let anxiety hold me back, although I hate admitting it.
I do judge myself harshly. I am 21 years old and feel so anxious about having to make small talk with someone on the bus I will walk 30 minutes home after being on my feet for 9 hours just to avoid the possibility? I want to be confident and bubbly and not give a fuck about what people thing but I am trapped. It’s almost like the real me is trapped behind a glass wall. I can throw myself against it but I cant seem to break through. I am not accepting that this is my life. I am not going to spend the rest of my life quiet, floating in the background.
Immersion is good, in moderation but I am exhausted. Working 40 hour weeks (even though my job was lovely) put me under so much mental pressure and took so much energy to get through, now that it’s over I have crashed. I can sleep for 14 hours and still need a nap a couple of hours after I (finally) wake up.
How do you cure anxiety? Medication works, but being tranquillised is only going to bring me so far. Eventually, something is going to change, or it isn’t. learning techniques and coping mechanisms only work in the moment. I think my anxiety has steamed from certain events in my life, and a genetic predisposition. There is a reason my body lives in fight or flight mode and I can’t imagine medication changing this hardwiring.
It’s easy to talk on days when the world seems bright and filled with possibility, and nearly impossible when it doesn’t because what’s the point? Reading over this post makes me feel anxious- it isn’t uplifting, what if it makes people feel bad, what if people think I am attention seeking, or overly gloomy, or pathetic? Because I feel like I am attention seeking, overly gloomy and pathetic. I also feel like it’s important to talk about suffering rom anxiety when you are in the thick of it, when your world is tiny, when you have no hope of ever being able open a text you receive so less actually reply.
Some day, I will look back on this post and think, wow, I have come so far. Maybe other people reading it will think, wow, I’ve come so far, or I’m not alone, or even thank god I don’t have social anxiety. Maybe they will think, wow, what a blatantly attempt to seek validation and also desperately grim and gloomy piece of writing to put on the internet. But hey, I have already thought that about myself to the point where I have actually overcome it because it’s boring and repetitive. If anyone has any tips for overcoming anxiety pleases comment them or message me (you can leave a private message here). If you feel any of this resonates you, and you might have anxiety, go to your doctor becasue there is so much that can be done to alleviate it!