It feels rather narcissistic to start by apologising for not posting anything lately, who do I think I am, the Queen of England? Nevertheless, it seems rather rude not to explain my absence, so for the couple of people that might read this, I’m still alive in body if not in spirit!
I try not to write anything too personal here: I’d much rather post a few badly written puns and a speech about my love for Taylor Swift than something that might expose too much of myself. Also, I find it hard to imagine anyone caring about my troubles when they undoubtedly have much bigger ones of their own to deal with: this isn’t therapy.
I might delete this yet, whilst typing I feel slightly foolish: I’ve been struggling with my anxiety lately. There, I said it. It reminds me of the time I tried to tell a guy I liked him but couldn’t get the words out, so I typed it on my phone and showed it to him instead. I’m not sure which situation was more painful. Anyway, as I’ve been feeling pretty low I decided to take a break from blogging to spend time with friends and family to get out of my own head for a while.
In all honesty, not much has changed. I still love cheese and wine and have a deep, inner hatred for queue jumpers and public transport: it’s like I’ve never been away.
From a young age I’ve been a worrier: for months leading up to my first day at secondary school I would quiz my older friends about the prevalence of bullying and exactly how I should act in order to prevent it happening. I became so fixated on the idea of high school and how terrible an experience it was going to be that I tried to mentally prepare myself for every possible disaster that could occur on my first day, no matter how unrealistic my theories happened to be. I have to tell you, that’s a lot for a 10 year old to deal with.
14 years later and everyday tasks such introducing myself to people I don’t know or having to confront someone who has wronged me still fill me with the same dread I felt on the first day of high school. When I’m feeling anxious I can’t recognise the difference between rational and irrational worries, so I assume that every small issue will result in worldwide disaster, which manifests in the form of panic attacks.
Whilst it’s something I’d rather not have to deal with, what’s even worse is people who make assumptions about my issues with anxiety. Just today someone asked whether I’d tried to to “calm down” in situations where I feel anxious – I wish I’d thought of that! If only I’d grabbed a pina colada and chilled out with the latest issue of Marie Claire – all of my problems would be solved!
I understand that anxiety isn’t something you can see and perhaps it is all in my head, but pointing that out really doesn’t help. As it happens, instructing me to stop exaggerating and being so dramatic isn’t what I’d like to hear either. As my mother always tells me: if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.