My friends and family will know that I am a HUGE worrier. I worry about stupid things and this is largely due to my mental health issues. I freak out about going to the shops, I cannot speak to people on the phone, I can’t even comprehend asking a stranger for directions. It makes me feel sick. Even going to meet my friends at the pub and having to walk in by myself sends me into a frenzy.
I was asked a question by a friend that I don’t think I’ve ever been asked before, “Why do you think you’re like that?”. And I didn’t know how to answer her, because I never realised how restraining it was. And I never used to be that way. I used to be pretty outgoing, social, borderline fearless. So I tried to sit down with myself later the next day and think about why my brain works that way. Why do small and uneventful scare me, why am I constantly in panic mode? After several hours of contemplation, I came to a conclusion…
I never experienced anything heavy… not by any stretch. I know people who have been through hell on Earth and never behaved the way I do/did. It’s just the effect certain things had on me. And it is by no means anyone in particulars fault, it’s just how badly I reacted to things I couldn’t control and how I seemed to have carried ‘a fear’ ever since.
My early teens were plagued with mental health issues, I’m very honest about that, and I told myself I wasn’t worth anything. When I broke free of it a little and got a handle on it I tried to plan my life out, because from a young age I was sure I would fail somewhere.
I wanted kids by ‘x’ age, I wanted to be married by ‘x’ age, I wanted to live in my own home by ‘x’. I wanted these things because I would have achieved what I didn’t think I could. And as I got older and when I thought things were going well and I was really happy, as most people do, you get roundhouse kicked in the face by life. Something changes… whether that is a breakup, a job loss, an illness – you get completely derailed. But stuff happens. And for some people, it’s easy to pick yourself back up and carry on. But for me, the loss of control completely threw me and I questioned myself all over again.
What went wrong? What did I do? Why did this happen?
It completely consumed me and I became so unsure of myself, which I still struggle with to this day. I put so much of myself into something, someone, anything and everything… the effects of when it all came apart completely traumatised me. Before I knew it, this fear had manifested itself into everyday experiences…
I have to know who, what, where, when, why at all times. It may seem high maintenance and irritating but for me, it’s self-preservation from embarrassment and the unexpected. If I don’t know what those things are I end up with this sense of panic and talk myself out of very normal, standard situations. It just unravels me. But trying to explain that to people can be hard because even as I write this, it makes absolutely no sense. It’s irrational and stupid and I hate it.
So when I really took the time to think about it, I realised how much time I was wasting worrying about things that have no real impact on my life. It’s a drain on my energy and was affecting my ability to live freely.
I needed to break this habit and try to rewire my brain.
I’ve adopted a more step by step approach to make it easier. I get dressed, get in the car, drive to location ‘x’, get out of the car, etc etc. Yes I’ll probably freak out on the way there, but I’m trying and that’s the main thing. Very slowly I’m starting to work this into my ordinary situations and it seems to be working for me and lately. I’ve seen the people I care about more in the last few weeks than I have in the last 2 years. I’m being asked if I want to go places, do things, welcomed back into the fold. I’m starting to feel like myself again. Of course, my other half can take a huge amount of credit for this, he’s my safety blanket and has helped me in more ways he’s aware of – as well as my best friend. But I also have to learn to cope on my own, and I am, even if it is still with a little bit of help from others.
Baby steps and human crutches are what will heal my broken brain in time and fortunately, I have some of the best around me that I could ask for…
So thank you for asking me this question (you know who you are). You gave me a breakthrough I would never of had if you hadn’t of done so. I’m forever grateful.
Until next time… ♡