Anxiety paranoia or reality?

I had an extremely anxious day yesterday. Something happened that just set me off and I had periodic anxiety attacks through the whole day on and off. It wasn’t fun.

I thought it would fade with a nice night in and a good night’s sleep, but I woke up today with an overarching feeling of dread and just general ‘bleh’ness.

No major anxiety attacks but a general black cloud of meh.

As my anxiety is very socially focused and tends to make me feel like I’m not good enough in every aspect you can think of, obviously this has had some affect on how I’ve been interacting with people today.

Everything I say seems to fall flat, people even remotely avoiding eye contact with me makes me think they hate me, the world is a little greyer.

That feeling of ‘am I really paranoid today or did my colleague just avoid eye contact with me when I spoke?’, ‘Was that laugh a pity laugh?’, ‘They’re just not telling me but I hurt their feelings somehow and now they don’t want to be my friend.’ ‘Yep, that must be it. I just think it’s my anxiety paranoia, when it’s really all my fault. Totally.’

It’s exhausting on these sorts of days, but what’s more annoying is the feeling that if people knew more about what you were going through, it wouldn’t even help. It would just make you look weak, or risk some sort of promotion you were going for, or make people think you were faking it. Any of the above and many more damaging thoughts alongside them.

Mental health is a tough topic, and it still hasn’t been properly understood in the general public enough to help people think they can be more open and honest about needing any kind of help.

That fear, mixed with the fear that this isn’t even just a blip. It isn’t just a couple of anxious days you’re going to have to go through till you come out the other side. It’s just how you are now. That’s what scares me the most.

That one of these days I’ll stop being able to pull myself out of it.

But today isn’t going to be that day, I just refuse.

I’ll keep feeling like I’ve done something horrible to people to make them want to avoid eye contact with me, sure. But I’ll also grab a slice of cake or a giant sandwich, something that makes me feel just that minute amount better. I’ll throw myself into work or reading or something that distracts the bad thoughts, even temporarily. And I’ll hold on to that tiny bit of progress through my own personal storm of a day.

It gets better, I’m sure of that. But in the meantime, let them eat cake.

Advertisements

The little things make a big difference

Sometimes something happens in a conversation that makes you really notice the difference between “banter” friends and friends that will last the test of time. 

One thing that really makes me notice this is the “just a joke” conversations. 

For example: one person is the butt of one of the many jokes in a particular day. In a group of friends that tend to joke a lot this isn’t particularly different in itself, but it’s the reaction that makes all the difference. 

The butt of the joke person is quieter than normal, and maybe even responds with “guys that’s not funny/that’s not fair/stop it” etc. This is when the moment arrives.

“Oh it was just a joke!”

Doesn’t seem like much at first right?

But this is a darker statement than it seems at first thought. 

It’s supposed to be a defence for the joker’s actions, a way to lessen the seriousness of the situation. But a persons feelings were hurt in this situation, and “it was just a joke” isn’t a defence for that. 

No matter the intentions, you still hurt someone, and you haven’t even apologised for it. 

What “it’s just a joke!” does is it puts the pressure on the offended person to justify their offence in spite of this statement. You’ve put the responsibility on them, and that’s not fair. 

I think everyone can agree that someone should apologise when they’ve hurt someone, no matter the scenario. A better way of phrasing this would possibly be:

“That hurt my feelings”

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, I only intended it as a joke. Are you alright?” 

You still get to state the fact you were joking, but also acknowledge how the other person was hurt. That’s the important part. 

On Traditions, Role Models, and Moving Forward

So Doctor Who is going to be a woman. I’m sure everyone’s heard already, and if you didn’t you’re clearly very good at hiding under your rock!

Of course, as is the norm when something suddenly becomes more female-friendly, some people were incredibly pissed off. Now, I’m not one to fight people in comment threads on this (though if you said it to my face I’d have a few words to say), but in this case the particular comments got me thinking about why this sort of thing bothers some people so much.

I’m going to cover some of my thoughts in points below. I’m paraphrasing and amalgamating various comments I’ve seen so if you haven’t seen this exact wording that would be why.

 

1 – “Where are all the role models for men/boys going?”

Because women getting role models automatically means men have to give up some of theirs? With how much media and people’s online lives are expanding, there’s so much more room out there in films and comic books and novels for representation of all kinds. I never want men to have to give up the wonderful variety and strength in the male role models they have growing up, I just want to give women the same thing. A Wonder Woman film having huge numbers of badass Amazonian women doesn’t negate the numerous male superheroes and supporting cast that we can also see.

And this doesn’t just stop with women, there should be more representation for everyone, of all races, sexualities, genders. Why put a limit on how much there is, and then hoard it for men only?

 

2 – “But it’s a tradition for the Doctor to be male!”

Okay… but why? I get that traditions are great sometimes, especially when they’re good ones. Christmas traditions about what you eat during the holidays or where you go on your summer holidays are great examples.

But we need to keep re-examining traditions. Ask why it’s still a tradition? Is it important that it doesn’t change? Is this an inherently discriminatory tradition?

Many bad things were traditional at one time of another. Women not owning property, being married off to much older men at a young age, you could even make an argument that slavery was a tradition. Just because something has been done, even if it was for a long time, that doesn’t mean it should keep being done. Positive change is much better than hoarding traditions in my opinion. And at the end of the day, why does The Doctor need to be a man? Is it really such an important part of who they are? The Master changed, why not The Doctor also?

 

 

3 – “It’s unrealistic!”

Seriously?? It’s a show about aliens, time travel, and the main character has two hearts. The epitome of realism right there.

 

I suppose in the end it’s just about thinking about whether the change is for the best, and if we can let go of our prejudices long enough to actually examine the changes we need to make and see if we can let go of our damaging traditions.

I hope we can, and I hope that little girls watching this show will be inspired to take charge and be confident themselves in the future. And I hope that people can look past the trolls on the internet and see the positives out there that come when we include more representation in our media. I also hope to see much more of this expansion of representation in the future.

Finally, good luck to Jodie Whittaker.

The Self Doubt Spiral

See, I read that title and it seems like I know what I’m talking about, like it’s a ‘thing’ and I’m just quoting the peer-reviewed hypothesis about people with generalised anxiety and the self doubt that comes with that.

But honestly, I’m just a person stating their own experiences and wondering about how they fit in in the world. True, there is evidence that people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder do have big issues with self-doubt. This just comes with it, and can even get worse once you start to deal with the anxiety.

Your coping mechanisms for anxiety can be based around a lot of double checks:

– Do I really feel validly stressed or am I OVER stressing a small problem?

– Should this situation make me feel this bad or am I over analysing it?

– Was that conversation good or bad or hell, just neutral, and I’m overthinking it for no reason?

So even realising you’re becoming anxious when not necessary involves you doubting your own thoughts and feelings and checking whether they’re valid or not. This adds up to a lot of self-doubt, and sometimes self-doubting your own self-doubt.

Hence the word ‘spiral’.

This can be tricky to get yourself out of and if someone’s come up with a foolproof way of doing so, please, let me know. The only thing that can help me when I’m deep in one of these spirals is lots of happy TV, comfort food, and just letting myself feel whatever I’m feeling. It could be really strong or worrying or angry but if I feel it completely for even a short period of time, it lets me work it through and allows me to let it go just that little bit.

I think it also helps for others to be understanding about how much you can doubt yourself, and try not to pile on when they can and help you deal with it when it happens.

Even coping mechanisms can get you down, even if they are helping you cope at the same time. Dealing with Mental health issues is often a double edged sword, and I’ve never been great with swordplay.

I guess in the end you have to find coping mechanisms to deal with your coping mechanisms and hopefully find a way back to wherever you need to be to feel like yourself again. Good luck.

The minefield of being social

I’ve never been amazing at being social, just ask my very small number of friends, very few of which originate from before University.

But recently I’ve been noticing it more and more. I almost dread being invited on a night out when I feel socially drained (but possibly dread not being invited even more) and try to come up with some plausible excuse when I just can’t handle it on a particular day. You know some people can take the ‘I’m just not up for it’ tonight as a valid reason, but those people who are more extroverted almost see that as an invite to convince you that your reason isn’t good enough and “come on, it’ll be fun!” in its various forms always seems to come out.

It’s not like I don’t understand that it’s said from a good place, and they genuinely are looking out for your best interests and do want you to have fun. It’s not a mean thing, it’s just another thing to combat without having to explain the difference between introverts and extroverts from a chemical level or the psychological ‘spoons’ theory each time. (Look it up)

The again, I’m used to that, and it’s a thing a lot of people have to go through so that’s fine.

The really annoying thing is when you say something that gets an explosive reaction, and have absolutely no clue why it did so. The introverts of the world will probably empathise with this more than most.

Example:

Person A: *says something they think is innocuous*

Person B: Whoa, that’s harsh/gross/what the hell??

Person A: *confused* sorry, what did I say?

Person B (usually): *remains shocked but doesn’t explain what A actually did to get that reaction*

Therefore: Person A doesn’t understand what She/He did wrong and doesn’t learn and cannot avoid doing so again. This causes a lot of stress.

 

Personally, I’ve had this happen to me a few times. Once I even made someone genuinely upset and to this day I have no idea how or why what I said did this. I felt terrible about it yes, but couldn’t say honestly ‘It’ll never happen again’ or even apologise genuinely, since I only count an apology genuine when the person understands what they did that was wrong and I wasn’t able to.

This can be very scary for younger people, my dad for example has had this happen at school once and was extremely unnerved by the experience and still brings it up even now.

I don’t know if this is a side effect of introversion or anxiety and so not understanding the social cues enough or if it’s something that lies more on the sliding scale of Aspergers, but it’s always been something that has annoyed me, namely the lack of explanation on the other person’s part.

How is anyone meant to learn how to act socially if everyone is assumed to know everything instinctively and nothing is explained? I get learning from your mistakes, but part of that is understanding what the actual mistake was, right?

 

Of course there are nice social aspects, from all sides. I may not enjoy being around lots of people or ‘going out’ in any large dose, but I absolutely love chatting for hours and hours with a close friend, or watching a film with people I feel comfortable around, and even the small things like someone remembering something I enjoy without me having to remind them. (This for some reason affects me hugely, it’s a happy day when a colleague or friend/acquaintance says something like ‘oh, but Rebecca likes fantasy books’ and just genuinely cared enough to remember something about me. It’s the little things that matter the most.)

I just wish sometimes that more people would accommodate the people of the world who find this tricky, and make an effort to include rather than exclude. In the end, won’t this make the world a much nicer place to live in?

Moral of the day: Be kind, be inclusive, be helpful, and hopefully you’ll make someone’s day that little bit brighter.

P.s. It’s always a diary entry style rant that gets me back on this blog isn’t it? *sigh*

Why does everyone regret not appreciating the past?

I’m sure everyone’s heard this at least once in their lives: “Appreciate what you’ve got, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.” It’s usually said when referring to appreciating your youth or free time before you move into this dreaded ‘real life’ and ‘adulthood’. *Shudders*

I do get the reasoning behind it, don’t get me wrong. If you don’t enjoy life where you are now, then you’ll never really be happy. But why is there such a focus on forcing yourself to be appreciative?

My main issue is that it seems to create this air of guilt around younger people, that they’re not appreciating their lives enough for adults to be happy about it.

If you force people to be appreciative and act like they’ve missed out on their only chance to be truly happy before things go downhill then all you’re doing is creating a no-won situation. It’s impossible to not fail at it. How do you know how good you had it until you have a lower point in the future to compare your happiness to?

Happiness is all relative anyway. If we weren’t sad then we wouldn’t see being happy as the great thing that it is. If you’re happy all the time then you’re really being the ‘neutral’ according to you.

If anything, this pressure on ‘appreciating’ your time, however you’re supposed to do that (seriously, just go around saying ‘I appreciate being young and carefree!’ all the time?), just causes us to not be able to appreciate the time we’re in because we’re too worried about not appreciating it enough. And that’s just complicated enough to make sense I’m sure.

I know from personal experience that, even though Christmas is a fantastic day and I love it, I always end up feeling guilty: guilty that I wasn’t as appreciative of my gifts at the time, or of how much work people put in to the day to make it so special. And that just puts a dampener on things really.

I worried all through University that I wasn’t appreciating my time there enough, or that I would regret not going to every club available at the time.

But really, if you just do what makes you happiest in the present, then how could you possibly regret it in the future? Were you the wrong kind of happy? It just wouldn’t make sense.

I think if we shift our focus from being ‘appreciative’ and just be nice people and try as hard as we can to keep on doing things that make us happy then we can’t go wrong.

Just maybe mention your appreciation of your family every now and again, it makes them happy. And we all want to be happy right?

p.s. I know the last post I did in months was a new years resolution to post more, it’s kind of hilariously ironic. But I do mean it. *pinky swear*

My New Years resolution is to post more.

I’m sitting here feeling very sorry for myself right now.

I am sick. Like cough your brains out, aching all over sort of sick. Not fun.

But I have been quite busy this past month that I haven’t posted in. I finished an assignment for my online degree and I got a new job.

What job is this I hear you ask? (Or you may not care, but I’ll tell you anyway.)

I am now an Editorial Assistant at Macmillan Science and Scholarly. I am super excited and also super scared.

It’s the job that I think I’ve been waiting to get for quite a while now, but, like most people when they finally get their dream job, I am now panicking.

What if I start it and somehow stop liking it?
What if I’m really bad at it and they all hate me there so I get fired?
London is big and scary, what if I get mugged?
What if I get attacked?
What if the bosses only seemed lovely when I met them and they actually turn out to be mean and scary?

That’s just a smidge of what my brain is throwing at me right now.
I know a lot of it is irrational and can be logically argued away, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts from going around.

But for now I’ll keep on saying to myself: it’s the job you wanted, it’s the job that could get you on the road to becoming an editor, it’s the job that could help you discover what job is the job that will make you truly happy in your life. Besides, it’s a full time job, and that’s better than any part time one anyway.

So wish me luck as I step into this ‘real world’ I’ve been hearing so much about.

It should be interesting at least.

Is it a fad or just more accepted?

Let’s start with a revelation shall we?

I realised about a year ago that I fancied women. I’m still not sure if that means that I’m gay or bi, but that’s my thing to figure out.

Also, an ex boyfriend of way back of mine has told me that he figured out that he was bi and another friend is now gay.

Now, out of all of my friends, that isn’t really a huge number, (I’m talking facebook friends here, so not my close real life friends) but it’s still much more than I thought I’d have in my friends.

Anyway, I had a conversation with my parents a while back about how being gay has almost become a ‘fad’ thing that everyone feels they should be. Like all women are saying they’re bi to be trendy or something.

But I’m not so sure.

I think it’s just that people are feeling more accepted nowadays and so they’re much more likely to be open about who and what they are.

And I think that’s great.

I mean, there still are a few people out there who aren’t so happy about it, but there are always some residuals from something like this that’s been going on for so long.

My mum is still not too happy about it, though more because she’s worried about how much harder this could make my life and she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to me, which I suppose is fair.

But we’ve come a long way in such a short period of time and honestly, I think maybe it just seems like a lot of people are coming out nowadays because we don’t realise just how many people 1 in 10 (on average) really is. And the fact that celebrities are coming out also makes it a much bigger thing.

There are some cases, however, where girls are saying that they’re bi-curious, just to get some guys attention. Now, I’m sure it’s not many cases at all, but it can marr it for the rest. Just like one false rape claim can cause people to be much more sceptical about real rape cases which just makes it harder for them to be processes properly.
So basically, that should stop.

But I think overall the mass coming-outs are just because we’re all being much more accepting of people’s freedom to find out their sexuality.

And I think that’s an amazing thing.

Finding a new way

So these past few months out of University have at least taught me one thing: There are many ways to get what you want out of life.

And that’s without actually getting there myself yet.

My goals were this:
1. Write. It doesn’t matter if it’s books, articles, this blog, whatever, just write.
2. Be happy in whatever job I end up in.

I thought to get those things that I’d have to be a professional writer, or editor or something. But what if I can be a data analyst and freelance article writer? Or work in finance within a publishing company whilst writing as a hobby?

There are are so many possibilities to do what you want in life. Even if it seems like there’s only one path.

Hell, my mum thought she was going to be a doctor, failed her A-levels, did a zoology degree that she hated, then went into computer programming and now works in finance. And she’s very happy with how her life turned out.

I mean, there will be people like my dad who knew what they wanted and went down the straight path to it. But others will take more of a spaghetti junction kind of route. Yes, we might take a bit longer, but we still get there, and the journey might be super stressful, but it also might be far more fun.

Right now I work part time in a shop. Is it what I want to do for the rest of my life? No.
Is it a good job that helps me earn my keep at home and stops me from going stir crazy? Yes.
And besides, I knew the first job I got out of university wasn’t going to be my lifelong career.

I just hope that the route to that will be a hell of a lot of fun, and I’ll love it when I get there.

(Apparently I’m also a novice motivational speaker on the side, who knew?)

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑