Sorry been quiet for a couple of days…it’s sort’ve been a mad rehearsalrehearsalgiggigrehearsal few days. Fun, but stressful and no time to even think. 😛
Last night was the summer ball for the music society, which I am President of. Not only did this therefore involve a huge amount of organisation, and inevitable drawbacks and problems, but I was also spending the whole day completely anxious about the number of people. In President mode I was worried about too little/too many people arriving and there being an issue with caterers. However, my general anxious “people will judge me” was kicking in stronger than ever.
I commented the other day on how this blog has unintentionally been providing some help and support for people with other mental health issues. So I thought maybe I’d write about other areas of my mental health, rather than the abuse itself, to see if it’d help. So currently anxiety is top of the list…as it so often is.
What was I so concerned about? Well firstly large crowds make me feel anxious anyway; I can’t keep an eye on everyone to ensure everyone is safe, and neither can I clock everyone and make sure I am safe. However, this was different because I knew everyone in the crowd, and had no reason to doubt my own safety. So it wasn’t that I was concerned about.
Initially I couldn’t place why I was getting so worked up throughout the day. I felt myself growing steadily more obsessed with my appearance, leading to an almost-meltdown with my girlfriend when getting ready (I became fixated with my bad roots and large hips) and nothing she said, despite her hardest efforts, seemed to help. My make-up was definitely all wrong, I told her, and my hair awful…my hips huge…I’m too small. Too small too small.
I never normally give much care for how I look – I dress casually and comfortably. But last night, for whatever random reason, I was like something possessed when getting ready, and in the end turned to answering emails as a form of distraction. During the day I’d got snappier with everyone, and just kept worrying about the “people.”
What the hell? What was I feeling so anxious about? What was the little vulnerable part of my head having a heart attack about? I knew I wasn’t concerned about my looks to gain attention – I hate it – and had been reassured constantly by my girlfriend that I looked fine. So what was the issue?
I was scared of being judged. Ah.
I remember it occurring to me sometime in the morning, whilst walking to campus, that although I know a lot of the people coming…this will be the first time I’d see a lot of them since “coming out” as an abuse victim survivor and starting this blog. The thought had only been fleeting, but it triggered anxiety that only increased as the day continued. What had I expected? Certainly not for anyone to talk to me about it; this wasn’t my concern. I guess I was scared that people would see me differently; that they’d talk to me the same but their eyes would show me they’re judging, or that they’d avoid me full stop. I was anxious that my every move would be watched and scrutinised. At one point it was so intense I was half-convinced the whole ball would turn and shout LIAR! or DIRTY! or DISGUSTING! or DRAMA QUEEN! at me. Anxious that I’d walk through a room and hear the whispers: “oh yeah, her, she’s the president…but did you know she was raped repeatedly since she was a child and tortured, and lost babies, and blogs about it? Disgusting huh?”
Of course nothing of the kind happened, and everyone was as bubbly and lovely as ever, with no hint of judgement. It was an amazing night, with a good turn out, no dramas, and good music and food.
So then the next stage: beating myself up for having felt so irrationally anxious. How could I ever think that my friends would behave like that? What kind of person am I to think that they could? I must be a bad person, just like the abusers said.
And round and round the cycle goes. Thankfully when there’s good memories at something I’ve been worked up about, such as the ball, the cycle is pretty short-lived… so thank you to everyone for making last night so special…
A few emails have said me just talking honestly about what it’s like has helped. I can do that. I can’t be a therapist but if talking is helping then cool. So I thought, maybe I could write a quick day in the life of “anxiety,” and just talk honestly about what it’s like. I’ve never really even discussed the depth of the anxiety to my closest friends, as there’s been slightly more pressing matters…. and also part of the anxiety is “they won’t want to hear. I’ll annoy them.” So the anxiety is kept silent.
Unsurprisingly, most of my anxiety issues stem from my past, and focus mainly on either what people are thinking about me (based on far too many betrayals) or on whether I can trust people or not (again based on far too many betrayals.) Betrayal, for me at least, has been the most damaging part of all my past. When a person is an abuser, you know the rules won’t change… but when a person you love and trust turns out to be an abuser, the whole compass is turned around. It’s extremely damaging.
So. A day in the life… generally speaking, this is how anxiety affects me every day.
Awake. I’m awake. Am I hurting? No… okay that’s weird. Is someone going to come and hurt me? There must be. Surely there must be. Maybe today my friend will turn out to be a bad guy too. Just like she did. Oh how could I think that? That’s horrible. Stop it. stop it stop it stop it.
X hasn’t replied to the text. They hate me, I know they do. Everyone does secretly. I’m just disgusting…and steal so much time with these bloody flashbacks. Oh stop it. Stop thinking that. They’ve made me think like this, the abusers. They simply haven’t replied to the text because its 7am and normal people are sleeping ,right? Oh god i don’t know. Maybe I should send them “sorry” just in case. In case of what? Well maybe they’re annoyed with me. I don’t know why but they might be so I should say sorry. Oh don’t send the text, you’ll irritate them then. But if I don’t send it they’ll be angry. But maybe they’re not annoyed anyway. But maybe they are. Oh brainmush.
(With friends). What are they thinking? I can’t feel their pulse, clearly, I’m too far away. I can’t feel whether they’re normal or angry. Like the abusers. Their heart races. Oh god I don’t know if my friends are angry. Do they look angry? No. But..maybe they are. And I don’t know. Maybe they’ll hurt me for being so bad. Oh STOP thinking like that; it’s awful. They’ve done nothing but help me. Why can I think they’re bad. But then she did nothing but help me either, and look how that ended. Oh my friend’s looking at me. Fuck. Do I look scared? Try and look happy. Smile, for crying out loud. How can I say “I’m scared you’ll hurt me” when I know they won’t do. Brain why do you have to be so ridiculous. Smile, smile and pretend everything’s okay.
Oh he’s stressed. He’s saying it’s coursework but I bet it’s not. I bet it’s me. I’ve been so selfish taking all their time. Just like they used to tell me when I was little. Selfish selfish selfish. But then they’d rape me and beat me up, or put me in a box of ice cold water. MAYBE MY FRIEND WILL DO THAT TOO THEN. Isn’t that what happens? If people think I’m selfish they’ll torture me? Oh god. Oh god oh god. Why do I need to be so selfish? I don’t want to be. Hang on, it might just be coursework. Look, he’s got Word open. But maybe it’s a trick. Maybe he’s hiding. Oh STOP it. stop it stop it brain please. How horrible are you making me to be thinking like this? 😦
(eating). There might be drugs in this. There might be drugs in this. There might be drugs in this. There might be drugs in this. There might be drugs in this. There might be drugs in this.
I think everyone’s watching me eat. They’re judging me. Watching each mouthful. “Fat cow” they’re thinking, I bet they are. Fat fat fat. Oh I can’t swallow. I must swallow else I’ll gag. SWALLOW. But they’re watching me. I’m sure they are. No no no they’re not, look…they’re looking the other way. Stuff your face whilst they’re not looking. They’re probably still thinking though. Oh my god I can’t swallow. I’m too fat to even swallow. Just eat and convince them you’re okay. Stuff it. As fast as possible. Eat eat eat. Right, drink lots to clean your throat. To the toilet, and throw away all the judgement and fat and now I’m calm again. Phew.
They know. They know I’ve thrown up. Look. I’m sure they know. What are they thinking? How disgusting I am? That I’m still fat? Oh STOP IT they are my friends. They want me to eat so I’m healthy. No but maybe that’s a trick. Maybe the food is drugged.
NO NO NO NO NO.
Why am I so horrible to think they’d be like that? 😥 No. I don’t think that. The anxiety does. The anxiety monster thinks that they will and he controls me.
I know my friends are safe and care. The anxiety monster cripples me.
She hasn’t spoken to me all night. I’m in the same room!! But she’s talking to other people you daft cow, and I’m talking to other people too. I don’t even have anything to say tonight. Because we spoke all day. Just relax! But maybe she doesn’t want to be seen with me. That’s probably it. She doesn’t want to be seen next to me, I can’t blame her.
Oh quit it brain. Go to sleep. And oh look… lot’s of nightmares about getting left behind.
Jesus pathetic really. Horrible anxiety monster.
So that’s a typical day. And I feel horrendous and guilty as anything every night when I go to bed, for having been plagued endlessly by irrational thoughts. I’m scared to post this, if I’m honest…because I’m scared my friends will hate me for now knowing what I think. Or what the anxiety monster thinks.
But… honesty helps. So this is me simply being honest. And man do I hate myself when I think about it all 😦
Anxiety. I hate you.