Not Another Anxiety Article

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I am ever cautious when it comes to a case of self-diagnosis.

One too many times after a serious night out at university armed with no dinner and quad vods (four shots of vodka for one British pound. Yup you read it right) lying in my bed unable to even look at the light from my phone and covered in Supernoodles, I convinced myself I had somehow contracted alcohol poisoning.

Then there was the time in second year when I decided I must have cervical cancer because I had irregular periods. Classic. And luckily for me my old friend Google completely backed me. Hint, if you ever want a friend to indulge your hypercondriac tendencies, Google is your bezzie.

And I am even more cautious to prescribe myself an anxiety disorder, which at best I am under informed about and at worst completely blind ignorant.

But the more and more I think about myself and my character and my tendencies and the way I conduct my life, regardless of whether it strictly falls into the category of ‘social anxiety’, I am aware of a crippling anxious influence in my day to day life.

Now this does in no way control me, it ebbs and flows on the outside, rearing it’s head to varying degrees depending on other factors. You know, have I just eaten a whole profiterole stack and my sugar levels are crashing into orbit, have I just watched a particularly gripping episode of Don’t Tell The Bride etc.

But it’s there, none the less.

I had never considered it before as a problem, rather than just ‘part of my personality’ – I even once mistook it for high emotional intelligence – ie. I am so empathetic and considerate of what other people are feeling and thinking in a way that many people are not….yeh I know awks.

But the more I continue to think about it (and of course over-analysing never did any millennial female any good I’m sure) I feel it’s something I need to address.

For example, I shouldn’t be convinced that as soon as I leave the office my colleagues are talking about me and hate me and think I am dreadful at my job. I do.

I shouldn’t be convinced that my friends think I’m irritating and annoying and will eventually disown me and leave me alone to watch Netflix re-runs and drown in Tesco Chinese meals for one for the rest of my life. I do frequently think this.

I shouldn’t end up doing all the washing up in my flat, because I’m worried my flatmates will think it wasn’t me and I’m convinced none of them like me but they all just hide it from me and continue to co-exist with my habits (for some weird and unperceivable reason rather than just ask me to move out?!)

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For the record, I don’t just think I’m emotionally stunted and people are actually and plainly sending me all these ‘we don’t like you’ messages and I’m really bad at taking a hint.

I think I fabricate it all. I think I’m cripplingly worried that I will offend other people, people will misunderstand my humour for rudeness, my apparent confidence for narcissism or just truly and simple people will decide they don’t want me around anymore.

If things go wrong with friends, even as little as someone doesn’t text back – which strictly speaking isn’t anything wrong at all ahem – I will rack my brain for hours to think of anything I could have done to cause offence. It is not conducive to a sound mind and productive work, let me tell you that.

And thank god I don’t have to use Tinder because that would just be a minefield of despair, dinner dates and tube journeys frantically refreshing my WIFI at any station.

In an article I read recently, a psychologist summed up the reasons she believed many twenty somethings are suffering with similar feelings to my own; ‘Young women were brought up with the illusion that they can control their lives…so they feel a need to control the uncontrollable.’

In a nutshell. She is right.

I want to be able to control and know for certain the feelings and perceptions of those who I don’t. And won’t if I continue to behave like an erratic anxious bundle of nerves.

I am lucky that this has never manifested itself into something more, many women are debilitated by their anxieties. But nevertheless I don’t want to downplay, dismiss or patronise myself because the feelings are real. They are genuine.

My partner-in-crime bed-partner told me; ‘You just care too much what people think. Just stop caring.’

Oh if only it were that simple my friend. Oh if only.

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  • Totally get this – I’m exactly the same! Have you read this article? http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jan/01/drowning-commitments-stop-giving-a-damn-sarah-knight – I found it really useful! x

    Sophie Cliff

    • I’m so glad someone else feels the same and can relate! No I haven’t read it but the title looks promising – going to bookmark for later :)xxxx

  • Oh lovey this made me sad you feel like this! I don’t suffer from anxiety but I do love to overthink things, and the best thingsthat stops be doing is asking myself ‘thought or fact’ – sometimes I even write this down! So, for instance, using the friend not texting back example – you have to write down/separate in your mind all the FACTS that can back up the idea that he/she has fallen out with you, there has to be evidence behind it! Then, anything else you are thinking are just THOUGHTS, and you have to dismiss them. If it’s not fact, it doesn’t matter. It’s amazing how many things you learn to stop worrying about – it definitely is hard at first to eliminate the thoughts, even if you identify them as thoughts doesn’t mean you dismiss them from your mind. However, the more you do it, the better you get. I do it now without even realising – it really was a life changing tip for me!

    xxx

    • Helloooo! Lovely to hear from you – hahah oh thanks – I absolutely don’t want people to feel sad about it because I’m a very happy person and COMPLETELY content with life :) (honest!!!) but I think that is actually more of the point I wanted to put across – you can have a perfect life but for some reason that part of your brain is convinced it’s all going to come crashing down….STOP BRAIN. I LOVE your little tip – I’m definitely going to start doing that. Maybe you can be my life coach?xxx

  • This is such an important post, and I can completely relate. Sometimes it’s good to just talk about it, or in this case write about it. “Just stop caring” is one of my least favorite things to here, and you’re right: if only it were that simple. This was a great read.

    Amber | y a c h t s m a a n

    • So glad you enjoyed this Amber and thank you so much for your lovely comment – it’s really appreciated :) and glad you could relate – nice to feel you’re not alone! xx

  • nicole

    I loved this post! I have a lot of anxiety tendencies which I just put down to being who I am! I would hate to diagnose myself with something unless it was done professionally! I would go to the doctor…but that causes me anxiety x

    http://thriftyvintagefashion.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Thank you so much Nicole! So glad you liked the post :) yes absolutely I don’t believe I should self diagnose but I do often believe that anxiety is in my life a lot xx

  • I really don’t think you have to worry about self-diagnosing, all you need to figure out is whether something isn’t right, and you’ve obviously already done that…you’re halfway there! There’s no danger to realising that you need to focus on an area of your life and try and make it more positive and think about what thoughts are rational and what thoughts maybe aren’t so rational :)

    What really helped me was reading some incredibly cheesy self-help books about it, it’s so interesting to read someone’s perspective where they don’t consider other’s people’s opinions the be all and end all! It’s like whaaaat? people can actually live without that worry?! Have a look into some! Thank you for sharing xxxxx

    Jesska – Opal Soul

    • I love this comment Jesska – thanks so much for taking the time to leave it! I completely agree that taking time to be introspective is a positive thing and helps you to make yourself happier in the future :) I definitely will look into that! xxx

  • I really like this post, it’s a welcoming refreshing change to the usual ‘oh my god I’ve got anxiety because I’m shy blah blah’ posts. I’m sure you know what I mean!

    I think anxiety is in ALOT of peoples lives and more often than not it’s perfectly normal anxieties but in some cases they can grow into crippling anxieties. When I graduated from university in 2011 this happened exactly to me, I had very similar thoughts and anxieties to which you experience now, however they got completely out of control! To the point where I couldn’t text anyone, couldn’t answer the phone, I couldn’t answer the door and eventually couldn’t leave the house. Anxiety completely overtook me to the point where I was too scared to socialise with anyone and became an agoraphobic mess. I partly put it down to a combination of not recognising what was going on, being too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it and just dismissing it all.

    It’s great to see you discussing and being open about it all and I totally get it! Never ever downplay what you are feeling. I would never wish what happened to me upon anyone else. xxx

    • Hey beautiful! So lovely to see your name popping up in the comments – especially when you write something as interesting and insightful as that! Thank you for sharing your experience and I’m so glad that it’s something you are now able to recognise and talk openly about it, I think it’s 90% of the problem. I absolutely agree that downplaying and patronising your own feelings is one of my greatest failures. If it feels real to you, it’s real enough to be addressed. Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment my dear xxxx

  • Girl, I hear you. I’m always so cautious to use the word “anxiety” to describe myself because it has never actually been affirmed by a doctor. But certain emotional tendencies that I have always lead back to me believing and being so sure that that is what I suffer with. I sometimes can’t make eye contact but at the same time I’m chatting a million to the dozen whilst my neck comes out in a rash. Afterwards I’m thinking “oh jeez did they notice I couldn’t hold eye contact. Did I speak too much. Did they wonder what sort of diesease had manifested on my chest and neck?” so I completely feel you. Then it’s another extreme, I get a tight chest and suddenly I feel sick and just instantly think I’m going to get sacked first thing in the morning. The most bizarre feeling? I’ve just been praised in front of all my colleagues at our end of year party. It’s crippling at times but now i’m learning to deal with it, like when I take my contraceptive pill – that’s changed things dramatically. I also make sure I’m walking to work and getting that extra exercise, I’m eating healthier and I’m practicing mindfulness which is really helping a bucketload. Don’t get me wrong there are struggles momentarily. I completely, 100% know what you are saying & you are not alone.
    Bee | QueenBeady.com

    • Thanks so much for leaving such a lovely and thought-out comment Bee – I completely understand those feelings but also don’t want to prescribe myself a condition like you said. Especially because I know so little about it. It just is something that I’m very aware of in my feelings. I completely agree that getting that extra walk, eating healthier and practicing mindfulness can have such a positive impact – I’m trying to do the same to make a good start to the year :) thanks for being such a supportive star! xxxx