It’s blogging time of the week again. It seems to have come around quickly this week, which is a good indicator of how things have been I guess. I have been quite busy since I last wrote, trying to get on with life and manage things as best I can to present as a normal human being (whatever that is).
At the weekend I went to a friend’s wedding. It was the first non-relative wedding I have been to and it was a truly beautiful day. It was difficult to attend though, my anxiety was incredibly high throughout and it brought about all the feelings I have surrounding my inability to find someone and settle down. Still, I am proud of myself for going anyway, despite only really knowing the bride and groom and I am very grateful to my brother who traveled a long way to come and be my +1, which made the day much more manageable. It ended as a happy day all round.
I have also been continuing to attend my Adult Learning course on non-fiction writing, which is going well. It pushes me outside of my comfort zone both in terms of writing and socially but that is just another challenge to rise to. I tell myself each week that if I can survive the mammoth trek on public transport to get there, which causes my anxiety to rocket, then I can survive the course itself. So far it has worked.
The theme of the week has definitely been anxiety though. I also needed to use public transport to get to choir last week, rather than relying on a lift, and that set me off spiraling into anxious predictions and catastrophising too.
Before I was diagnosed with my personality disorder and even before my anorexia was identified, my GP told me that I had Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression. Although the depressive episodes I experience are fairly easy to spot and obvious, the anxiety that takes over me often goes unnoticed even though it can be totally overwhelming and all encompassing. To me, it has just become another thing to battle and hide from people. But I do struggle and the struggle starts before I leave home.
I always know what time I have to be somewhere and how long it takes to get there and what times the bus leaves etc but I always panic that no matter when I leave, it won’t be early enough. “What if the bus has broken down and doesn’t come? What if there’s really bad traffic and we take ages to get there? What if the train turns up early and leaves ahead of schedule?” (Yes, I know this is incredibly improbable but still not impossible. What if my watch and the clock on my phone are wrong and the clocks in the station are different..?) So, I always leave extra early to avoid all these potential pitfalls. When I get to the bus stop though, the thoughts take over again. “Should I sit down on the bench to wait? What if an elderly person sees me and needs to sit down?” I look like there’s nothing wrong with me but my PoTS genuinely makes standing to wait incredibly hard. “I don’t want to cause an argument but I don’t want to faint either.” Then the bus turns up; “what if I have to stand? Where should I sit? I need to be within easy reach of a bell to make sure I can get off when I need to. Those people are staring at me, they think I’m stupid.” And so it goes on; constantly checking my watch, wondering if I will make the connection or get to the destination in time. “What will I say if I’m late? What if the appointment gets shortened? What if I have to miss something important?” But equally, I stress about being early and being judged for that. I am very good at catastrophising.
There is no doubt that my inner monologue needs to change. I would love to have the thoughts in my head being more supportive, telling me calmly that I am fine, in control and what will be will be. I can think those things but it just doesn’t come naturally. Instead it is all negative, self-deprecating stuff. I am not the only one to notice this about me. I was talking about it with my recovery team today and I think it is one area that if I can improve then it would have a huge impact on my life. Not only would it help with my GAD but my chronically low self esteem and the negative thoughts that fuel my personality disorder.
I’ll add it to my ‘must try harder’ list!