Monday, 25 April 2016

Is it something I said?

If you're not an 'anxious' person, then what's to follow here may completely baffle you.  As it should, really.  If you identify and find yourself saying, "yes! this!" then, my fellow worrier, all I can say is- I'm sorry.  It's a ridiculous way to feel and to think and it's completely out of our control- even though we know it's ridiculous, there it is.

I'm talking about social anxiety.  Over thinking- particularly about conversations and happenings from the day, weeks, months before,  Usually when you should be drifting off into slumber.  There it is.  That little inner monologue, insisting you replay and analyse something you've said or a situation that many wouldn't even give a second thought.  Here's an example.

Whilst in a busy pub, I popped to the loo.  Not the cleanest of loos... not the nicest of pubs- but here I am in a grubby little cubicle I've cleaned as much as possible in desperate times.  As I tentatively take a seat the door to the ladies slams open with a loud "Who's in there?"

Well.  I'm not sure how to answer that.  I mean, I know who I am, but I don't recognise that voice so I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is for this situation.  Should I answer with 'me'? Too vague.  But she won't know my first name and in any case it will likely be followed by 'Leanne who?' and clarifying my surname still won't help the situation because, as we have established, I don't know this person.  So, I'm lost for an answer.  I consider, 'who's asking?' as a response but I am not equipped with a stab vest and don't feel confident enough in my self defense abilities in such an establishment.

I've clearly taken too long considering my answer as a loud "HELLO?" is bellowed accompanied by banging on the cubicle door.


There, I'm pretty confident in that response.  Although I do sound quite timid.  Perhaps I should've opted for, 'what?!'.  No, still too aggressive.

Anyway, whoever this is seems pretty satisfied that she doesn't know me from my feeble reply and simply says, "Oh. I thought you was my mate."

But what now- am I required to say something more?  Need I confirm that we are not, indeed, 'mates' and maybe a friendly laugh?  Just a laugh of acknowlegement, perhaps? Do I say nothing?  Should I offer to be her friend?  No, no, that's a step too far- I'm confident of this at least.

I opt for nothing,

I get out of there as quickly as I can so I don't have to come face to face with her- that would be even more awkward.

There you have it.  Situation over, we got through it.  Moving on.

Oh no.  No, no, my brain isn't having that.  It's 1am- I should be sleeping, but MY mind is replaying this little meeting over and over, still questioning what I should've said and why I couldn't just answer instantly and why doesn't anyone else go through this ridiculous inner turmoil?

I'm pretty sure some do- which is why i'm putting it in print.  You're not alone if you're an over thinker.

You may not even notice that I'm shy or a worrier.  As the years go by I'm getting pretty good at painting on a brave face and faking it.  If, however, I am being quiet- don't assume nothing is going on in my head.  It's quite the opposite and whatever I have to say is swallowed up by my inner voice.

Maybe one day I'll learn to quieten it down altogether.  Until then... erm... well, I'll have a think and get back to you.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Know this- it's not you

Sometimes I write to clear my thoughts, to switch off.  If I didn't, I'm not sure I'd manage to find sleep again.  Some things I write and erase, gone and forgotten.  Others I keep, some as memories and messages to pass on to my children when they are older.  I find comfort when I identify with the thoughts of others in writing, so I'm sharing in case someone finds comfort from my thoughts, my fears. 

To my son:

When you achieve something my heart swells with pride. Something, anything. Be it something new or something you've done a thousand times over, I beam. My heart aches in so many different ways. It aches with a fierce need to protect you. It aches with sorrow that life is that much more difficult for you. It aches with anger at those that may judge you, may hurt you, may never understand you. It aches with fear that I cannot do enough to help you. Above all else, it aches with pure love. You are different. That's not a bad thing- quite the opposite in fact- you're different in a way that amazes me every day. The way your mind works is unique to you and you teach me a little more about you every day. You've come such a long way in such a short time- so many achievements, all incredible in their own right, collectively astounding. Know this- if there is something that you can't understand, that you can't seem to learn, that doesn't make sense- it isn't you. It's the way you're being taught, being shown. Don't give up. Try new ways, keep trying, keep experimenting- you'll get it. It isn't you.  Don't be forced into the way things 'should' be. You've taught me the greatest lesson I could learn- to be myself. That it's ok to be myself because I can feel how much I want for you to be yourself. To be comfortable with who you are. I'm so proud that every time you are held back you find a way through. Every stumble, you carry on. Know that I am there with you, showing you the way, holding your hand and picking you up when you fall. I will help you in every way I can- I will show you how to cope. I will use that ache in my heart to remind me of how strong and determined you are. I will not let my fear hold you back- I will use that fear to push you forward. I will love you, not in spite of, because of all that you are.