Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Anxiety Therapy

As part of my cognitive behavioural therapy, I'm supposed to admit all of my perceived faults to a friend, in order to make them real and less evil and invented in my mind. Instead of burdening any of my acquaintances with this load of pseudo-psychology bullshit, I'm writing it all down here.

Anxiety is not the most fun affliction to suffer from. I'm not going to pretend it is the worst thing a person could have, because quite frankly it appears to be a wuss' disease that a normal person would take in their stride - but this is the whole "deal" with it, the whole aspect of it that makes it so unbearable at times; it convinces you that you are weak, which makes it worse.

I used to suffer severely from depression, and although I have perked up quite considerable, the whole ball ache of social anxiety disorder is still raging it's way though my personality like a 1990's BSE scare through the newspapers. I just wanted to note down how ridiculous my affliction is, so that:
a) other people who suffer from anxiety can laugh and say "me too"
b) people who do not have it can laugh and say "that is retarded".

So, where to start? I sometimes have panic attacks on the bus to work. My panic attacks are almost exclusively situated on public transport, probably so as many strangers as possible can witness my breathing exercises and assume that I am a madwoman. However, one of my most spectacular attacks was during the ordering of a meal at a pub in Lancaster with my good friend Sophie. Apparently choosing a sandwich can sometimes be enough to tip me over the edge. (In the end I chose grilled Mediterranean vegetable with mozzarella - a god choice, but slightly spoiled by my continuing need to bolt through the doors into the icy street.)

Anxiety is not always characterised by panic attacks, though. The main annoyance of it is an almost constant feeling of nervousness, on a par with waiting to go into a gym hall full of hard plastic chairs to either get injected with something or take a maths exam. Sometimes, I will be so anxious about where a TV programme's story is heading that I will have to make an excuse and leave the room. I currently have stomach ache because Liz Lemon decided not to move to Cleveland, even though I have seen this particular episode of 30 Rock almost half a dozen times. Sometimes the music in adverts and films make me want to cry, and I think it's just because of the mounting tension. I do understand that this makes me sound clinically insane, but I can assure you, I am not alone in this.

I feel sick whenever my phone rings, dating back to the days when my boss used to ring me to tell me I was late for work despite having the day off, so that I would cover a shift thinking I was supposed to be in anyway. Trains are my safe place because you are never in any one place at any time, and so none of the views are relateable to experiences I have had - catching trains however, makes me want to run all the way home and hide under my bed. Once I threw up simply because I was in London.

If I forget what I'm talking about in the middle of a conversation, I go dizzy and the room starts to go out of focus. I have once fainted because I forgot somebody's name while talking to them. If I have to approach somebody I have never met, I will unintentionally offend them as a means of breaking the ice, as having people hate me is better than thinking I'm a gibbering weirdo. I have punched a lot of my friends, simply out of embarrassment. I am not supposed to drink because it makes me belligerent, but I do anyway because otherwise I can't control the unlimited spray of boring anecdotes that come out of my mouth in order to mask silence which I perceive as awkwardness.

I go out of my way to solve other people's problems because it gives me a sense of control. Once my contract is over this Christmas and I move back to Leeds, I have no idea what's going to happen, and it scares the shit out of me.

So there it is - Anxiety basically means you have a phobia of being alive. Now aren't we all glad I'm on medication?

Check your anxiety symptoms here: NHS.com


chestymorgan said...

Youre definitely not alone!behind my chipper smutty facade is an absolute basket case.I'm still obsessively checking the twitter dms to make sure no pseudo marxist bints are wishing death on my child.I'd like to flick the v's and laugh but paralysing nerves dont let me.gratuitous hugs from us both XXXX

Pinklilycat said...

Just wanted to leave a massive hug here and say brilliant and brave piece.

Katie said...

i can't believe people are Dming you abuse chesty, how awful!
Thanks to the both of you, I hope you have a brilliant chistmas :) xx

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