I have a rather bulging treasure chest of mental illnesses and as expected, anxiety plays a large part in my life and my symptoms. Over the years I have gone from the status of
Anyhoo, I was trawling the net to try to find some help for the swine that is anxiety; and I found this AMAZING site.
It is quite simply – A bubbling cauldron of spandangly insight, wisdom and tools! The guy who runs/owns the site has written a book on anxiety, but there is so much info on his page, I didn’t feel the need to purchase the book.
Instead, I used one of my many many unused and shiny notebooks (it’s a crushing fetish/addiction; since they started pimping them with flowers and butterflies (DAMN YOU CHINA with your tempting plethora of delightful goods ;)). ANYHOO – Back to the point, I now own a utilised notebook named
I wrote down key points from each page, and I’ve been reading it everyday since
So; Halloween came along and as usual I was planning on ‘bailing out of the knees up’, and sitting alone like the crazy cat lady of Norfolk that I am. Til I referred to my little book and decided to ‘brave things’ and go out anyway, in spite of the feelings and thoughts
I planned on having a coke with the ladies, staying for an hour and then coming home (more about that later)
Firstly I should tell you that – One of the reasons I find social situations so hard is because I am a thoroughly inept drunkard. I despise the taste of most drinks and if I find one I like, within 6 weeks it goes from being just palatable to bile inducing…
As we all know – Alcohol is a great friend of the anxious, as it seems to munch away at the feelings and thoughts. My anxiety is also heightened when I go out because I am known by my friends as ‘The life and soul of the party’. Anyone who knows how anxiety feels, can probably understand how I end up in a right old emotional pickle, when I wanna fall into a hole in the ground; ‘cos (I presume) everyone is waiting for me to spill a range of random and chucklesome stories!
So; My (common) worries are essentially down to
a) This false (self-induced) expectation of being the (drunk) life and soul of the party
b) A fear of silence
c) Craving acceptance, and a fear of losing it too
Instead of trying whatever new fruity disgusting puke inducing drink that I could see behind the bar, I ordered a coke, and went wild in the aisles in the next pub with a soda water! With lemon and ice I might add! (what a wild child on the loose ay! ;))
Thanks to my little book of anxiety, I rationalised the (self-induced) pressure to get drunk and when someone said ‘Oh go on, have a shot’…I said ‘NO’ thanks. No lengthy explanations or excuses, just a plain simple ‘NO ta’ was needed. And guess what? The sky did not fall in shortly afterwards, and I didn’t die either!
SIX…SIX…YES I said SIX whole HOURS later – I was still out and having the time of my life. We went to a pub that had a blues jam going on, and instead of wanting to sing and doing bugger all about it, I boldly marched through the crowd, and up on to the stage and asked
‘Please can I sing a song?’
I blasted out a reasonable rendition of ‘Stormy Monday’ and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. AND got invited to join the clan for a regular spot! 🙂 Yay!
I left home with the goal of-
‘Riding awkward silences, coping with the feelings, and showing my morose face’
But because I left home with a different attitude and a whole new set of thoughts, I was relaxed from the minute I arrived and I had a bloody fantabulous nite! I’ve been friends with my girls for 10-13 years, so the advice on acceptance made me see that the fear had no basis at all – Just more bilge from my own negative irrational thoughts.
I feel like a ten ton weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I would urge any of you reading this to check out this guys website, if you too suffer from anxiety and/or social anxiety
He explains HOW to quash it in clear plain simple logical steps, and there are many inspiring stories from people who have reclaimed their lives, all because of this guys amazing insight!
As well as learning to deal with the feelings and thoughts…He stresses the importance of healthy self-esteem as vital to the process
Here are some snippets I found in various places to deal with that little bugger too – They are helping me, and I really hope they help someone else too
1. Write down 5 things you like about yourself and even though you’ll may feel like a donk doing it…
TALK directly to yourself everyday about your 5 things
For example – “Maude/Bill/Janet/Fred – You are open-minded, a good listener, funny, warm and clever”
If you struggle to think of 5, then struggle harder! I defy anyone who believes they do not have at least 5 things that they like about themselves
(Self hatred and low self-esteem are insidious diseases, born from our highly dysfunctional pooey culture. So, naturally, saying I LOVE YOU to yourself feels weird, and a touch narcissistic!)
HOWEVER, you can ‘Plunge in’ slowly dear people :)… and if you can’t bring yourself to say it out loud, then do it in your head
This is my stepping stone to my goal of saying – ‘I Love you Dawny’
a) I say Dawny, you are blah blah blah blah and blah (insert your 5 character traits where my blah’s are, and unless you’re called Dawny, also ‘Insert your own name’ ;))
b) I then say ‘I like you Dawn… love Dawn’
Seriously, it feels weird BUT this shit is working!!! I had no idea how much negative self obsessing I had going on in my strange little head, but it was/is a constant stream of worry and self-deprecation. After just one week of listing my 5 things and telling myself I like me, I’m transformed to an extent that is both shocking and equally fabulous
For any sufferers of social anxiety, I URGE you to read the entire site and start changing the perception you have about mingling. All the worries and stress comes from low self-worth, coupled with CRAPPY THOUGHTS that we give false importance to…And you probably don’t even know your having the thoughts because they become habitual and disguised. The insidious little buggers bob about in the background of your mind, like a whispering devil camping out on your frontal lobe
If you’re in the anxiety club, I really hope you take a look as he is a wise kind little angel who’s been through it himself. Of all the advice I’ve read, his comes in 1st by miles!!!
Good Luck and Get Brave!!!
Finally, after all these years of mental torment, I feel like the old sociable and relaxed me is rearing her head again. Here’s the link – incase you missed it earlier
And though Paul (the author) has no idea I exist, I can’t help but end this post by saying
‘Paul – You are bloody wonderful…THANK-YOU sooooooooooooo much’