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Another day, another rejection.

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So getting a job (one that puts my degree to use) is possibly the biggest worry in my worry bag for the minute, and has been for some time.

And so weirdly enough, getting ‘rejected’ once again for a position I would have liked, brings to me a mix of feelings. Amongst the feelings of worry – that I will never get a job I want – it brings a sense of relief.

Let me explain. Getting a ‘’we would like to interview you’’ email is one of the things I dread, and hope for the most. Of course I want the job, and I have also done extra courses in interviewing skills for this exact reason. But it terrifies me. The thought of getting to the place of work (I seem much more confident when actually applying for the job however) and then finding the right department, then of course the most important thing in doing a ‘good’ interview. The few weeks preparation time that they give you for the interview is deadly, as the anxiety builds up even more so. I study Google maps over and over again, and yet still worry about how to get there. I do a test run of the route, and worry some more.

Yet I still apply for jobs, as I need to get one and I deserve one. But as I try to overlook where they are (within a 20mile radius)…I just wish I could see one job advertised ‘Worrier needed, 39 hours a week. £30,000 a year, holiday and bonuses, with chance to be promoted to chief worrier’’. Yes…that would be ideal..

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My graduation, my day.

3 years ago, my social anxiety was huge and I had very little self-esteem. The thought of actually going to university, terrified me. My worries included so many people, so much work, big buildings, long lectures, affording it, not knowing anyone. Everything about it, worried me. I remember saying to a good friend of mine ‘university will either be the making, or breaking of me’. After almost quitting 6th form after 2 weeks, I didn’t think for one minute my anxiety would survive University.

I was so so so wrong. I took the leap of faith and through myself out of my comfort zone. I ended up meeting 4-5 amazing people, and suddenly I started to reach my potential. One of my biggest achievements was completing a lone presentation in front of 20 other people. With no notes, no nothing. And I did it all, and it was fucking fantastic.

So the 19th of July was my graduation. And I almost forgot my social anxiety. But sitting in my seat, 30minutes before I was due to go on stage (for a whole 20seconds) it hit me again. I would be walking along that platform, in front of hundreds. Would I fall over? Would I be sick? Would I forgot to nod my head to the chair? It feels so daunting, so scary. I say out loud to myself ‘I can’t do this’ and seriously consider just walking out. But the person speaking, suddenly gets my attention. They speak about how some of us have had personal battles, not just academic ones. It hit me, if I don’t get up on that stage, then my anxiety has won once again. I contemplate this, sweating and feeling sick. My row is called up, and I say to the helper ‘I have never felt so scared in my life’. They tap my back and say that I will be okay, and it will be over before I know it. Do I want it to be over? How will I feel once I finally get my degree? My name is called and I walk, I nod my hat to the chair, I shake hands with the lady giving out certificates. I say thank you.

And before I know it, is it over. But not only did I win my degree, I won my sanity. Not only can I say that I now have a 2:1 degree in health studies, but I walked across that stage. I did the thing that 3 years ago I never ever thought I’d be able to do. University, was the making of me.

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What is GAD? My view..

Although I suffer from a few disorders that are focused around anxiety, the disorder that I have suffered from the longest, and the one that affects my daily life, is GAD. Hence why I decided to write this blog. A friend has recently asked me to write a post on explaining what GAD is, in simple terms.

What exactly is GAD?

GAD stands for generalized anxiety disorder. It is a long term condition; I believe that some individuals have suffered from it for years without even realizing that they have a mental illness. The most prominent symptom of GAD is constant worrying and feeling of dread within you daily life. Unlike related things, such as panic disorder and phobias, if you suffer from GAD the worrying is less intense, but also lasts much longer. For example, over the past 4-5 years I have been suffering from GAD, I don’t remember a day going by where I wasn’t worrying about something.

You still worry about things that everyone else worries about, such as money, society, how you look, starting a new job. However, a GAD sufferer’s (GADS) worry is more intense, more long lasting and often the situation is completely blown out of proportion. For example, you may text a friend and they only reply in a short way. To a normal person, they may shrug it off or think nothing more. To a GADS their mind runs wild. Have I said something wrong? Oh they don’t like me. I won’t text them again. I will delete them on facebook for damage limitation (yes, I have done this).

I remember as a child (and I am unsure if I suffered from GAD then), seeing a news report on the war in Iraq. For months I worried it was going to come to England. I couldn’t sleep, I was sick. I thought, ‘how come no one else is worried? What will happen to me? How will I die?’

The thoughts disable you throughout your life, and may stop you from reaching your potential (not going to a social situation, staying in a job you hate, not driving etc). I sometimes feel that my worries are another person, sitting on my shoulder following me around. Or my shadow. They are just there.

Your anxious thoughts are uncontrollable, you can’t turn them off (treatment can help of course). Uncertainty, well, it almost kills you inside. I have to plan things, and stick to the plan and although my daily anxiety is still there, it limits it. However, this brings its own problems and you are often seen as ‘stubborn’ rather than anxious.

You may not be able to sit still, or relax. I am always told that I am ‘rushing around’ and my mother says ‘you always have to fit something into every minute of the day!’. You may have trouble concentrating, or completing tasks because your mind is racing on other things, and the worry and dread is just horribly overwhelming.

Physically, you may have trouble sleeping, or staying asleep. I used to have nightmares of random stuff, and also I have been known to sleep walk and sleep talk which I believe is because my mind just can’t relax.  I have also recently developed sharp chest pains, which the GP has put down to my GAD. You may also experience stomach problems.

Basically, GAD is chronic anxiety. About anything, and everything. A barrier to living your life the way you want to. And yet, I would say…It is one of the most common ones out there. If worrying  is affecting your life, then you need to get some form of help.  No matter how small you think it is, or how small someone says it is. It is your worry bag, and your life.

 

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<3

you should never ignore someone’s pain
or act as if it doesn’t matter.
for no matter how small their worry is to you
and how simple to solve it may seem,
to them, it is a disaster. and we all want
someone to calm the storm, not tell us
it doesn’t exist

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What exactly is, the worry bag? And who are worry bag helpers?

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These two terms, will be used a lot throughout this blog. I thought it would be best that I write a post, explaining what they are and how they have came about! 🙂

What is the worry bag/a worry bag:

I was once told, that a way of coping with my GAD was to put my worries into ‘boxes’ or ‘bags’ within my mind, to try and seperate them. This was because I was suffering from so many random, little, big, funny worries and I needed a way to  disconnect them from the rest of my life. However, this didn’t work for me as the mental illness (gasp!) is quite ingrained in my life now. But the term, worry bag, stayed. I see it as a bag (not real) in my head that contains my worries. Sometimes it’s more or less empty (in which case I worry that I am not worrying) and often it is…half full. I worry about money, my clothes, the car, is my hair greasy, is my stomach fat etc all the things that go through my head. And maybe once a weak, it ‘explodes’ or ‘breaks’. This is when I genuinely feel that I can’t cope with my anxieties.  I see it as a lighthearted way of trying to bring myself back down to reality, when I feel so overwhelmed. 

Who are the worry bag helpers?

There are a few amazing people in my life, who just have the talent for reducing my anxieties with a few words. They know me quite well, when to say something and when to keep their mouth shut. They aren’t experts in the fields I speak to them about, but they have sure mastered taming my worry bag. I have always said, telling me ‘It will all be okay, don’t worry’ is counter productive and will just make me worry more. My worry helpers effectivly go ‘Yes, this is the problem. This is how we can solve it, you aren’t alone’. They don’t try to say my worries don’t exist. Because, although the actual problems may not be real, for me living with GAD the worries are very much reality.

I just want to say to them, thank you. You deserve a medal for achieving the status of ‘worry bag helper’. It’s worth more than an MBE I promise you. 🙂

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I can smell something worrying..

Now one thing my anxiety ridden brain does, is shuts down reasoning. As soon as it detects something that isn’t right (regardless of situation), that is all it focuses on. It doesn’t matter what it is, or even if it the thing I sense is normal. I go into my panic mode. Making me look like a thick bitch (even if I am on my own).

An example of this is follows. Recently a good friend of mine has reported to me her car has a fuel leak. She says this calmly and just a matter of fact. I am surprised because a fuel leak automatically attaches a bomb to your car that will blow up in 2325415 seconds or when you accidently change into 3rd instead of 5th gear (which I have a habit of doing when I panic).

I then get into my car. I think I can smell something. It might be petrol.  It might be oil. It’s probably brake fluid. It most defiantly isn’t the smell of the sun beaming down on my steering wheel/dash board.  For the next 50 miles I look down at my fuel gauge. It isn’t going down. There is a blockage somewhere and the petrol is coming back up. It goes down slightly, there is a leak! It has decided to fucking leak on me now! I knew it! (I am secretly happy now I think there is something wrong!)

I think to myself, I have a service in the next few weeks. I will ask there. I will ask my neighbour (another worry bag helper) when I get home to change the whole car engine just in case. (A hint to any mechanics out there reading this, you could make a fortune out of me without much effort).

The next few days, my petrol gauge hits the ¼ mark. I have to fill up as soon as possible, because ¼ of a tank will probably only do 30 trips to Morrison’s.  

I head to the filling station, my windows down due to the heat. And as I watch the guy in front of me fill his car up with fuel it dawns on me. The smell that is in the air…I most certainly do have a petrol leak.

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The roundabout.

 

So tomorrow is a big thing for me, not only am I driving to Leicester for the second time but I also have an interview for a job that I really want. I admit it, my worry bag is full ( I will explain my worry bag in another post, it is really awesome it deserves its own post!!). The way my anxiety works is that, it attacks the thing that I feel most confident about. And in this case, that is driving.  I have been driving now for 3 months, and to be honest I have got on really well with it. But tomorrow, I face the roundabout. THE ONE.  This is what I am talking about :

 

 

 

 

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Scary isn’t it? It is just going to swallow my car in and force me to go in the wrong lane and crash and almost die. I have now been driving for 2 years (and 3 months on my own) and the idea of getting into lane and driving round a giant piece of grass is like the hardest thing in the world (not!)

 

 

 

I have text my good friend Andy (One of my fellow worry helpers) to look on google maps with me in order to tell me what lane to go in etc. In hope that he can remotely control my car and direct it the right way just in case I forget that the lane marked A47, is to go to the A47 (I always wonder why they can’t make it more simple for us drivers).

 

 

 

And as for my interview, I have prepared for it. Read the core values of the department over and over again, seen many samples of ‘intervention plans’ and wrote down many different questions. I should be okay. It’s at 10.30am. I am looking forward to meeting the worry bag filler of parking, and have planned to meet my old friend social anxiety at the main reception at 10am.  Should be fun and games (completely forgetting, this could be the start of my career!! (but that isn’t something positive really, is it? No, of course not.).