Back to reality, please

The last few weeks have been pretty tough. Maybe I’ve not been updating for a while because I just haven’t had the heart to share, or perhaps I’ve been scared to, but whatever it is has had me retreat into myself to the point where I’ve just been taken over by sadness for the last few days. I was debating even writing but I felt it might do some good to get it out, and I logged on… and saw my last post. Which kind of brought me back to my senses.

There’s been a few things getting to me lately, namely my dad possibly moving away, my mum still not talking to me, friends moving away, a habitual lack of sleep and just being in pain a lot of the time… it’s all got me pretty down, and I haven’t been myself lately – I know it, but I haven’t been able to shake it. I keep thinking about 18 months ago, when I first sat down in front of someone from the medical profession instead of relying on the words and encouragement of friends and family, feeling scared, alone, anxious and generally not really good enough for anything. After a few weeks I started to feel better; I started seeing friends more often, spending time with my dad lots, making a concerted effort to get over whatever “social anxiety disorder” this person thought I may have, and just back into being positive and comfortable and optimistic. It worked, for a while – I hung out with people all the time, I took up new hobbies, I found Sweet, I got a new place… and things were really good. But in the last few weeks I’ve felt myself slipping. I see opportunities for me to grow and contribute as a person, yet feel crippled by the fear of what other people might think about me. What if I’m too quiet? What if my accent’s too strange? What if I speak too fast? All my flaws one high school history teacher had pointed out in front of the class during a presentation one time come flooding back, and I feel paralysed by anxiety. I can’t go for promotions or new roles at work, because they all involve speaking in front of others, or giving presentations, or talking at staff meetings. Heck, I can’t even give a coworker a goodbye speech after organising a group gift and making a big goodbye card. I’ve stopped going to devotions at work because I’m afraid I might get asked to speak. I try and avoid sitting at the back of the bus so I don’t have to use the back doors for fear they won’t open and I’ll have to yell “back door!” in front of a bunch of strangers. It’s ridiculous, and awful, and I can’t get over it.

I feel like I’m retreating, reverting back to the shell of a person I used to be, so afraid of other people and scared to take risks. All I want to be is someone who can make a positive difference in other people’s lives; I don’t want to be the centre of attention but I want to be able to go out and not be afraid to order food in front of people, I want to be able to contribute to group discussions and have my ideas heard and appreciated, I want to be able to get up in front of people like I used to, when I was in stage school, when I was in a punk rock band, when I was in plays and dance classes… I don’t know why, or how, but I feel trapped by my insecurities and by fear, and lately it’s just taken over. I’ve been miserable for the last few days because I just feel I have so much to give, but unable to ever get anywhere because I can’t get it out. I’m too scared of other people. Recently I’ve felt like everyone has so much more going for them; friends, family, travel plans, jobs, scholarships… I want so much to be a part of it, to be able to give and express and not worry about being too quiet or too fat or unfit or too ugly or too shy… I want so desperately for this feeling to go away, to go back to how things were a few months ago… to be happy and content again…

I know how lucky I am… I’m lucky enough to have someone remind me every day how lucky I am to live in a country where we have so much, we have jobs, a roof over our heads, food on the table, no war or terrorism or disease to worry about… how lucky I am to have a wonderful place to work in, to have a father who’d do anything for me, to have a love so strong I know to the bottom of my soul it will always be there, to have friends who’ll be there no matter what. I’m so lucky and thankful for all of that, I really am. I just want to feel good again, confident again, liked, respected and not scared and insecure again. How do I make it stop? How do I get back on track??

I think I just need to put things into perspective and do something to get over this. Realise just how lucky I really am. Actively face my biggest fears and actually go to Toastmasters instead of talking about it for 6 months and never venturing out. Keep stretching and exercising and trying to get past the pain. Sing in front of somebody. Contribute to discussions, call people and hang out again. Count my blessings. I don’t like how I’ve been thinking for the last few days, and we’re about to enter football season (meaning I’ll see Sweet for about an hour or two each day for the next 8 months, and I want those two hours to be filled with happiness and gratitude, not self-deprecation and anxiety). I want so desperately to get past this, and as of right now, I’m going to take a long hot bath, rinse the last few weeks down the drain, clean up my house, and start tomorrow fresh. I have a whole summer ahead of me. And I want to make it the best one yet.

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6 comments

  1. I’m so glad that you’re looking into this- anxiety is so common and so normal, but letting it control you isn’t ok. Wanting to do something about it is so huge, because like you’re saying, you know you can contribute so much and want to. Take it slow, but just start doing things that make you uncomfortable. You’ll see that nothing bad happens and slowly it’ll get easier.

    When it comes down to it, it’s a process of learning to trust yourself, your voice, and your abilities. That will improve your quality of life wildly, no matter where your life takes you. =)

  2. Ok, enough said. This was probably the best article I have read on Back to reality,
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