I am someone who suffers from anxiety…
- General anxiety – check
- Social anxiety – check
- Anticipatory anxiety – you got it!
- Rumination – yeah – gotta go the full hog and over think every nuance of that last situation or conversation or how dumb I must have sounded etc etc etc
Don’t get me wrong, I can function as a “normal” (whatever that actually is?!) human in society… and I work in retail so I have to deal with human interaction on a daily basis.
I am just damn good at hiding how I feel… I have learnt to be good at pretending I look happy, pretending that I have it all under control…
Sometimes it does get me in the moment, sometimes I cant escape it and that’s when my hands begin to sweat and my mind turns to mush and my inside self gets transported far away and gets to watch me try and function without coherence…
Symptom check list – just to name a few:
- Lost for words
- Unable to make eye contact
- Blushing or getting a nervous rash around my neck
- My mind is racing
- I feel fully aware of how ridiculous I must appear (though I know now this part is not true at all)
I think the worst part of losing myself in an anxious situation is that once its over and I have returned to myself I now get to spend the next few hours reminding myself just how stupid I looked and sounded, how dumb I must have appeared to the other person involved. Thinking like that only makes me feel worse about myself, only lowers my self-image even more….
Today on my way to work I remembered that the gas station I normally go to (and by that I mean the ONLY one I go to) was being dug-up and reworked… just the thought of having to go to another gas station nearby has my anxiety going in a downward spiral…
- How will I get there – what street will I take
- What side are the gas pumps on in correlation to where I should park
- If it is busy will I end up being out on the road waiting in traffic to get in there
- What if I end up jammed in between two other cars
- I don’t know how this other station works!!! I don’t know what to expect
- Do I pay at the machine or do I have to go inside
- Is it self-service!! What if I do it wrong, it might be a system I haven’t used before
- Oh-My-God – I can’t, I can’t do it…. but my gas is low, I really need gas..
- I can’t, I am terrified…
- I should have just enough to get to work and back, just enough….
That’s pretty much my life on a daily basis… something that someone without anxiety would find minimal is a huge freaking deal to me. The worst part of feeling that way is that I am fully aware how ridiculous it is, how strange to obsess and worry over getting gas from another station… I just can’t control it.
Anger and frustration and hopelessness sets in and I feel like such a big failure… a failure at life and at being a fully-functioning human.
Later when I arrive home after work I say to my partner “If you need to go anywhere in the car can you please put gas in because its low, I’m sorry… I just couldn’t get it from that other gas station”.
He knows I have anxiety, he still doesn’t understand though and he asks me why I couldn’t do it, he wants me to explain the irrational fear of it all… I do, I try to explain it… I hear it sounding pathetic and ridiculous and while I try to make it sound feasible I wonder about what kind of weak ridiculous person I am.
I wonder how I ended up this way…. but that’s another post for another time….