I thought I always felt anxious just because of life. From being a kid to a teen I was dealing with everyday racism; a family member with mental health probs where I’d get blamed for ‘setting them off’ to point where it was actually enabling them; it not being acknowledged by teachers or Drs that I had learning differences and was Neurodiverse; my Dyspraxia and Hypermobilty Syndrome were undiagnosed and symptoms ignored even after multiple GP visits; I totally failed both A-levels, because of other people’s errors/and then a huge chunk of my hard work work getting lost.
As an adult, when I’d go clubbing I’d either get totally ignored by blokes (even shoved out of the way) or they’d bluntly pursue me for one thing only. Such a head-fuck! In my second job a group of people who I thought were my friends were secretly excluding me from nights out and taking the piss behind my back for a year. Then in my very next job it happened all over again with three other ‘friends’ who, after six months started trying to manipulate and lie to me, like it was a game. I didn’t trust my own judgment or perspective on anything for several years afterward.
I’d managed to cope with the anxious feelings by talking to (actual) friends and doing lots of fun stuff (everything to the extreme) and pretending all of this was just average daily life. I was ignoring that many things were way more difficult for me to navigate than my friends, for so many reasons I couldn’t understand and that I really wasn’t ‘fine’. Not remotely. When I got overly emotional I blamed the beer I’d drank or that I was over tired. Then, when I finally got diagnosed with several chronic illnesses I was obviously relieved but understandably anxious too.
Basically, I thought it’s not the mental illness ‘Anxiety’ if I’ve always got a reason to feel anxious right? Wrong!
Now, for the past few months the fact I have and have always had anxiety has become so obvious to me, that I can’t ignore it anymore. I was so busy coping with other shit going on, oddly enough, the importance of my mental health got shuffled to the back of my mind. I’ve been having the same two upsetting dreams about being left behind or ignored; I’m stewing on negative thoughts that I can’t shake and over-thinking people’s actions; lately I’ve had a constant wobbly feeling in my tummy that either ruins my appetite or has me running to the loo because the food has flown right through me.
I realise this current anxiety is down to several situations that have all collided at once. It’s wildly skewing my perspective, making me needy and fearful and even effecting my decision making and actions. One of those things was being unable to bear going through five hours of being on my own with my wildly see-sawing thoughts, no matter how much I distracted my self with manicures, makeovers, films and ice cream, they’d creep back. It resulted in me (at least once a day) phoning and/or texting the one person I was meant to be giving a little space to, and yet somehow, never mentioning my anxiety to them. Not once.
Hopefully now I’ve recognised all of this and having talked some of it through with that person, the anxiety will calm down a lot. They were patient and surprisingly empathetic. It turns out that they’ve had anxiety for years, over-thinking and worrying about me! Since the talk, I’ve already stopped having the dreams so that’s a lot less mentally exhausting. I also feel very relieved, although still a little uncertain. They’ve also said it’s a weight off their chest, just saying it out loud.
There are still some incredibly important things up in the air but only time – rather than numerous phone calls – will reveal how those will work out, so I’ll just have to wait. Gosh, I’m crap at waiting….