Gone are the days where I’d go away every weekend on a camp, or flying, or trekking, or somewhere new and exciting. In fact, gone is the person that existed when I was 14, an eager Air Cadet, ready to take on the world and pretty much kicking butt at everything. Kicking butt at everything other than maintaining my own wellbeing (apparently). When I was younger I was feisty, sensitive, yet feisty. I was confident and outgoing – I’m still confident, confident at leading teams, at helping others but I’m not confident when it comes to myself.
I spent 3 years in the Air Cadets (those not from England, it’s basically like the Air Force, but a version that’s less work and more play!) I’d take every opportunity thrown at me when I was in the cadets, I can remember being devastated about not being able to go spend a week in a tent at an RAF base because it was flooded out. Nowadays that’d be a sign sent from heaven. Things have changed. Just like things do…
Things change, and we learn from our experiences. For me tonight it seems that all my experiences are taunting me, they are teaching me that the world is a terrible place, and people are terrifying.
Tonight (as you’ve maybe realised) I’m feeling particularly upset, and angry at things that have happened in the past. I’ve come to notice how much I’ve craved solitude over the past six years. I used to spend almost every night and every weekend with my friends, I used to fight for my own opinions (even if I knew I was wrong), and I used to get bored if I had a spare five minutes.
Now I beg others to let me be alone, I plan things – I plan my day so I can fit all my work in and then be alone in the evenings. If I get asked out by my friends I think of every possible reason not to go and then kick myself for being so silly. Honestly, I have missed out on so much over the past few years. But the thing that I am most disappointed and ashamed of is how much I have let my passions and interests slip away. I’ve stopped doing things I like, I’ve stopped socialising, I’ve stopped believing in myself… heck I can’t even walk to the shops where I live because I am constantly being dragged down by my own self. Anxiety has directed my life for far too long, and though I’m willing to change this (I’m desperate to change this) it just doesn’t seem possible.
Anxiety is not a mindset. You can’t switch anxiety off. Anxiety is physical. Anxiety takes over my whole being, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can’t do anything but sit down unable to move but desperate to run. Sometimes anxiety isn’t so obvious, sometimes it appears simply as thoughts… thoughts that convince me nobody wants to see me, nobody likes me, I’m wasting everyone’s time, they all think I’m silly, they don’t want me there, they’d rather I weren’t there… what’s the point? Like really, why even bother?
And then there’s the anxiety and hate that is my body. Anxiety is my body because I couldn’t honestly tell you a time when I looked at myself and was okay with what I saw. I eat food and I then can’t leave the house because I am far too fat. I’m far too ugly and I am far too embarrassing.
So I crave my friends, I crave trips to the pub, I crave lazy days, I crave adventurous days, I crave weird days where we all go a little hyper, I crave days where we are hungover and feeling sorry for ourselves. I crave to go sightseeing, I crave to simply watch a film with my friends, I crave shopping trips, I crave trips to the cinema and above all I crave being able to be my old self.
But anxiety doesn’t let me. No matter how hard I try, it finds its way to the forefront of my mind, of my body. I forget how to breathe, I forget how to think, I shake like there is no tomorrow and the only company I have is the horrible, self-loathing, nervous, foot-wobbling, tear-inducing, hate-inducing, pain-inducing company of my dear friend anxiety.
If anyone figures out how to smoothly end a long-term relationship with something as annoying as anxiety then do let me know…