Something I’ve never really spoken about on my blog is mental health – I am an advocate for being open about mental health and I discuss it in private but I’ve not really felt like I had anything to say about it on here, until now. I’ve been learning a lot recently about what I can and can’t handle in terms of anxiety and stepping out of my comfort zone, and I’ve felt prompted to write about it.
I do think it’s good to step outwith your comfort zone – that’s how you grow as a person and how you grow your confidence. I try to challenge myself in terms of anxieties and trying to conquer them, but I forget that there’s only so much I can handle and sometimes I over-do it. I never want to say no or feel like I’m missing out because I’m anxious about things, sometimes I think that feeling would be worse than anxiety, but it’s a needs-must on more than one occasion. Feeling left out (FOMO) is something I struggle with pretty badly, but I’ve recently learnt that doing something that puts me so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t think about anything other than how anxious I feel is not worth it. I’ve gotten pretty good at events recently, I’ve been invited to a few blogging events and I normally always try to find someone I know that’s going who I can buddy up with, but it doesn’t always work. The first event I went to by myself was terrifying, and it took me an hour or so to warm up and start properly chatting to people, but I did it and had an amazing time. That was worth the anxious feeling beforehand. On the other hand, I went to a mini-flat party with my boyfriend and I knew maybe one person there – nobody really tried to speak to me or get to know me or Max, so I retreated into my little anxiety bubble and just tried not to cry the whole night. That was too much for me, I felt ridiculously uncomfortable and just wanted to go home, but I couldn’t say that because the chances of Max leaving because I felt anxious were very slim.
I’m beginning to learn to give myself credit for things more, instead of cursing myself for not being able to do something or for worrying about something minuscule. There’s too much self-deprecation nowadays and we need to take it right back to simple terms and applaud ourselves for making that phone call to book an appointment or for managing to get on the train by yourself. They may not be a big deal to other people but they’re a big deal to some and I of all people understand how scary both of those things can be. There was a work event recently that I was worried about so much that I made myself ill – not properly ill, but my anxiety is linked to nausea and the two things I hate most in the world are nausea and the hiccups. I had gotten into this mindset of “well there’s nothing I can do about it so I may as well suck it up and worry about it” when actually, I could just be honest about how I was feeling. I was ridiculously nervous to even admit that I was struggling with the thought of this event, that gave me about as much anxiety as the event itself, but being honest about it was the best thing I could’ve done, and I’ve learnt from that now. I feel quite lucky though, not everyone will be surrounded by people who are as understanding as that and god knows I’ve had my fair share of skepticism surrounding my own feelings.
It often seems like no matter how much you stress that you can’t do something, there will always be people who just don’t understand and tell you “it’ll be fine” and “you should just do it anyway”, not realizing how big of a deal it is to you. There’s a few people like that in my life, without naming names, and it is really, really upsetting. Being made to feel like you’re abnormal and pathetic is not a nice thing, and I’m sure they don’t mean to do it and more often than not it’s probably my little brain over-thinking the tone they said something to me in, but it’s true when they say nobody understands anxiety unless they suffer with it themselves. Sometimes I just want to scream at them “just because you can do it doesn’t mean I can”. They don’t realize that it upsets me more than anyone else – I wish I had gone to so many things that I was too anxious to do. I wasn’t declining the invitations because I ‘couldn’t be bothered’ or ‘just wanted out of it’, I’m not myself at all when I’m anxious, as I mentioned earlier, I go into this little bubble and don’t try to speak to anyone because I’m focusing on not crying/freaking out. I’m not sure that’s the best impression to leave people with at a fancy event.