it is almost a sixth sense that i have. my picking up on a social situation before it has yet been met. suddenly then your head is full of what i call bees, which is the adrenaline that begins to course through your body. perspiration starts to roll down my forehead, and back. my palms are sweaty. my walking slows, and people push past as a fear blooms through my chest. the air restricts, and my throat is tight. my mouth is dry.
The Big Question
fight or flight?
i take flight. public toilet cubicles have become what a telephone box was to Superman. the best place to regroup, and splash water on my face ( i have plenty of gripes on public loos, by the way. i could probably review the majority of them in south east england if anyone is interested?)
people’s perception of this anxiety if, of course, that you are rude. or nuts. or both. at parties i, and my drink, walk away from groups that have slowly gathered in my once quiet corner to ask me about my book, in job interviews i walk away when the interviewer mentions a role play exercise, at fast food restaurants i do all but look at the cashier as i wait impatiently for them to bag my food. sometimes if it takes too long i walk away.
once experienced i don’t usually like to repeat what has gone so wrong. anxiety chips at your self-esteem. it clouds like an invading fog, until you can’t separate one strand of your self from the other, which is how it invades every inch of your life as it attempts to spring clean every joy from your life. hand in hand with anxiety is a glut of emotions: sadness, a jealousy of others who can accept a leaflet from a person on the street, take a phone call from an unknown number, respond to the tourist asking for directions, or order a drink in a pub without a sickening feeling of dread.
The Positive Bit
it takes a concentrated effort to kick out anxiety, in identifying where you struggle, and what you can do to strengthen. it comes down to practice, and not beating yourself up on difficult days. i struggle with what i perceive as a ‘fail’ but it is important to remember if you have failed it means you have tried, and a try is better than a no show. what has helped me is reading about the science behind anxiety. i know what changes in my body to expect. such as before i go out i will start to feel my head, and stomach, fill up with foreboding. i feel it, own it, then go about with what i am doing. it doesn’t mean the anxiety automatically vanishes. i have been in social situations over the last few weeks and have not enjoyed them one bit, but knowing what anxiety does makes my body, and what is happening to it, less foreign, and more real. throw gold glitter over anxiety, and make your invisible illness visible.
for those without anxiety i hope this gives insight to what happens when we with anxiety step out our front doors. It’s difficult trying to appear like all is well, when our heads are actually spinning, and we feel like we are going to have a
heart panic attack. That’s why phrases like ‘you look fine to me,’ or ‘you were ok yesterday,’ are guilt inducing, and invalidating our experiences. be encouraging, but not threatening (I’ll drag you from your chair and throw you in the car if you don’t get up is not going to help)
I hope you enjoyed this post. if you got this far, thank you. don’t forget to share, and leave a comment on your thoughts on going out with anxiety.