Where it all began
I’ve suffered with some form of anxiety for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories was in Primary School when I was invited to a friends Birthday party at an indoor play park. I was so nervous and shy that I made myself sick to avoid going. From that point everything changed.
My anxiety slowly got worse. I found certain situation more difficult, speaking to a classroom full of peers was near impossible. At the time I thought it was normal, I had always been shy and my mum agreed.
Going from Primary to Secondary school was pretty difficult. I got split from my friends and found it hard to socialise with new people. Eventually I found it impossible to eat in public, if we went out for family dinners I’d eat the smallest thing and in later years I stopped attending altogether. One Christmas the family went to our local Indian Restaurant but I felt so uncomfortable after getting dressed that I vomited and stayed at home by myself.
After that moment I kind of pieced everything together and knew something was up but I was so afraid to say anything. I put myself under so much stress not being able to speak to anyone that I started self harming throughout my GSCE years at school. I began to get bullied too, because I was quiet and different from most of my peers. I liked different music, different fashion, different everything. I was a bit of an emo. I was underweight, it was something I’d battled with since childhood. I’d been to the doctors and was taking weight gaining milkshakes and pills but nothing seemed to make me gain weight. I was always bullied for being “skinny”, “weak” and “too thin”. It wasn’t the best time but after leaving school I stopped self harming, worrying people would notice.
After that I tried my best to be social with the very few friends I had. I centred myself around the online community. Speaking to people on MySpace and on chat rooms and forums for hobbies and bands I had interest in. I got confident speaking to people I didn’t know online, they didn’t know what I was really like, my past and everything else. I could tell them as much or as little as I wanted to.
I became a bit of a hermit in college and left after one year because I didn’t feel confident carrying on. The next few years were a bit of a blur. I did some stupid things but eventually got a job I liked, saved some money and went abroad with my boyfriend for the first time. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I was so nervous for eating out in public, we had to find quiet or dark places or ask to be seated in a corner. Around that time I moved to London with my mum for a fresh start. But I didn’t know anyone other than her (and my boyfriend of the time who lived in Manchester).
The next year I very sadly suffered a miscarriage and everything seem to have spiralled after that. I lost control of everything and everyone around me. I left my boyfriend because I thought it was the best thing to do at the time. I was worried about what he thought of me for losing her, worried he blamed me for the loss.
Blogging and anxiety
I was made jobless and spent most of my time online again – reading blogs and using Tumblr to speak to people. Eventually I decided to give blogging a go for myself – I’d seen so many great opportunities for bloggers to meet other bloggers and that was my only hope in blogging, that I could find some friends and have someone to talk to. Do normal things that girls in their early 20’s do.
However blogging wouldn’t wave goodbye to my anxiety. The main thing stopping me from making friends and enjoying social situations was my social anxiety. As I blogged more, then came opportunities to meet other bloggers at events and meet ups. I attended a few, determined to step out of my comfort zone and sort this out for good. It was no use. I felt so awkward, out of place, of course I’m not the most social and I’m sure most people do think on first meet that I’m just rude. I’m not. I just find it so hard to start conversation at first meet – however know me for years and I’m completely different with you. It’s baffling.
I found a new job. The one previous to this one I’m in now. At the start I was so nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was a very public job in the eye of passengers. It freaked me out. But I can happily say that over time it gave me confidence, I was able to speak to strangers for more than 30 seconds without panicking so much. I still had my odd moments but I finally felt things were getting better.
However over the past year I’ve got into that slump again. My mind is numb, full of worry for so many things. I started taking sleeping tablets and I panic leaving the house alone. Speaking to strangers. Going to the shops and to work. Pretty much everything causes me to get those anxious feelings and habits back.
Trying to get better
In recent months I’ve read so many Anxiety, Depression, general help blog posts from bloggers – some of my favourite bloggers included. I had no idea so many other people had suffered such similar experiences as myself. It was a relief. I was able to comment on and speak to girls who knew how I felt. I had no idea how much the online community would influence me to seek help from a GP.
It was only recently that I decided to speak to my GP about my situation. After telling her everything above and filling out a few questionnaires she diagnosed me with social and general anxiety, gave me a prescription of medication to “take the edge off” and advised me of counselling and CBT. I can’t tell you how I feel, the weight that’s been taken off by taking that step to tell me GP that I’m not okay.
Although I’m nowhere near cured, I feel such relief from speaking out and I really urge anyone who reads this, knows they’re in a similar situation, to do the same. It will be scary at first, approaching your GP is a big step but it’s in the right direction.
You’ve always got a friend in the blogging community.