a young woman's experience with anxiety

Archive for July, 2013

Good News =) & Good Struggles?

I got my driver’s license!!! After four years of taking driver’s classes on and off, I finally took the road test for the first time on July 18 and PASSED!!!!! It was one of my goals for this year.

My anxiety did affect how well I did (ugh) but I had an amazing driving instructor who did a relaxation exercise with me beforehand (lol) and I MADE IT!!!!

Whoo-hoo, so my new license should be coming soon. Very proud moment. =)

Now, I was a little perturbed by the fact that I drove beautifully over to the road test site, only to mess up over stupid things at the road test. It really bugs me.

It made me realize, though, that the influences around me have a big impact on how I feel. My driving instructor and my the actual road tester both encouraged me to just slow down and relax, and I haven’t heard that from anyone in ages and it really did help.

On the flip side…

Life-wise, I’ve been struggling lately. In the best way. Anxiety really changed me as a person, unfortunately, and I’m finally getting that person back to the surface but it’s hard. To not have people around you who are stable and supportive of your efforts just sucks beyond words. To have no one to cry to or to hold you when you’re going through hard times, it just…it’s not right. But I’m dealing with it.

When your mind ping-pongs all over the place, and adds new neon-colored ping-pong balls every second, it’s understandable to just want to break down and cry. Lately, I’ve really been working on just focusing on what I’m doing…instead of playing ping-pong. And I do well…until one sparkly ping-pong grabs my attention and then I get that urge to play. And so I do, since it’s,  you know, interesting. And then I’m back in the match again.

So hard. Yet, I must keep at trying.

 

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Friends

How do you make friends?

I used to know how and I used to do it effortlessly.

But, then, you know…I was 10.

I’m 23 and …I have no friends. Well, I have acquaintances and people I text/call occasionally but they’re either old friends or college friends who all live out of state. Oy…no bueno!

I guess it’s because I’m confused (about myself.)

I’ve been extremely unfulfilled socially for a decade. I started surrounding myself with “safe friends” in high school. Basically, I felt like “safe friends” wouldn’t reject me and I didn’t necessarily like them (rude I know). The part that gets me is — there was a mutual friendship attraction (lol) between me and other people but I distanced myself from them. I brought these behaviors with me to college, too, even though I tried not to.

At some point, I stopped picking “safe friends” and went for people I actually liked. But then I kinda took on the role of “counselor.” Someone who gave good advice. I was afraid to show my “flaws” with them, afraid they’d reject me for them and I was lonely and thought this was the only way someone could like me.

Then in the past 2 years, I switched schools, worked a lot and was afraid to go to the school’s clubs, etc so I made no friends.

😐

Why does my behavior sound SO RIDICULOUS now that I’m looking back? I knew then that I was acting pretty strangely. I just didn’t know how to stop it.

So now…I’m like…who am I?  I know who I am but I’m still afraid to show it sometimes. Old situations, unfortunately, hold me back from being myself now. Sometimes I still feel like that awkward 12-year-old girl who was the only girl of color in her entire class. Which is a shame.

I’m so used to giving people what I think they want instead of who I am. Only to later find out, what they wanted was the real me. They often seem to end up dating/being interested/befriending someone who has  the same characteristics I kept on the down low. So it’s like…a wake up call.

So…now what?

learning how to cope with life.

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over the past 12 years, beginning in puberty, i’ve dealt with every type of anxiety symptom imaginable — obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, various stomach problems and the list goes on. but it doesn’t matter how it manifests — the problem is the anxiety behind it.

i only knew how to cope with the world by getting anxious about it. i felt like if i controlled everything around me, freaked out about stuff, worried my ass off…then i could avoid the pain that’s in life. now, of course, i didn’t choose to have this reaction – it’s just my natural inclination. but, obviously, life didn’t just stop because of how i reacted to it.

there’s ups, downs, complexities and mean people regardless of how i feel about it. and i’ve tried to do it my way for awhile, and how’s that worked out for me? not great!

so, i’ve had to learn how to cope with life as the crazy mess it is. uncertain, no guarantees, mistakes, heartbreak. then there’s good stuff too… babies, the feel of the ocean, laughter, hugs, good food, good music, friendships …it’s all a mess. and i am not exempt from it.

here are some important coping skills i’ve learned recently:

1.) acceptance is a common thread throughout several books i’ve read and was a common topic of my many therapy sessions. acceptance of my situation, my emotions and myself — this has really helped me tremendously.

2.) living in the moment is also a necessary life tool. living in “What If”-land never did me any good. living in the moment, sure i made mistakes and things didn’t always run smoothly, but i was much happier. it’s still very much a challenge for me but i’m trying.

3.) we can only control ourselves – not other people. worrying about what someone else is doing or thinking is a sorry waste of time. they’re going to think whatever they want whether you worry or not.

these are new life skills so patience is number one. it’s truly like learning how to walk. it’s gonna take awhile for you to get your footing. 

by the way, back in September, i made a post on tips from Dr. Claire Weekes. you should really check it out if you haven’t.

a whole bunch of posts are coming your way, gang!

wishing you the best,

anxietyflower

helloooo, new followers!

a big HELLO! to all my anxiety buddies out there — NEW and OLD! thanks for following me and i hope that i’ll be able to help, or if not, at least give you that “you are not alone”-vibe! because you’re not 🙂

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i haven’t posted anything in awhile, but i do have some posts partially-written and will be posting within the next few days. maybe even tonight. i’ll see what i can do!

hope you guys are doing okay today and always.

much love,

anxietyflower