As a long term anxiety sufferer I’ve had ups and down with coping and socialising. My main trouble has always been with my family, they’ve never quite understood my mental health no matter how it’s been explained to them. When I was younger this led to me becoming a misfit within my own home. Throughout my younger years I practically became a hermit. I didn’t show any signs of improvement until the end of my secondary school and start of college. During my time at college I managed to come out of my shell and socialise more, I gained a handful of friends and patched up relations with my family. The key for me in my home life was pretending I didn’t have these problems; it’s easier for my parents to think that I’m just a shy and quirky than an anxious ball of crazy. But this works for me, it’s not advice I recommend to follow it gets lonely.
After 5 years of suffering with anxiety I’m finally learning how to cope, sort of. After years of doctors recommending me to do exercise I’ve finally joined a gym and started eating even healthier, apart from an occasional drink and a cheeky Chinese, and I feel great! I’m walking around with some confidence and less fear.
I’ve started discussing my mental health and how I feel with those who I’m close with, more specifically my boyfriend, Tom, it’s made me feel less constricted.
I’ve made lots of little changes to my life, instead of becoming a full time hermit I decided to do a year at catering college which is slowly coming to a long anticipated end. This has been the most difficult decision of my life – I’ve gone to somewhere on my own without anyone I know, which forced me to socialise and make friends. Unfortunately I was scared that people wouldn’t like me so I made a false persona. I really have tried though, things went well at the start, and I fitted in well and made friends. I even got invited to a party, which resulted in me consuming alcohol and then having a panic attack. Which were FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC! Since then relations have been strained and I’ve struggled fitting in again. In the end, this will be a qualification I have earned in something that I’m not half bad at! I’m proud that I have tried something new and I haven’t fully been restricted by my anxiety.
I’ve still got a long way to go, but one day I might be able to go out with friends and their friends without ending with me having a breakdown, this is a day that I have been waiting for and I know it will come soon and until then I will keep making changes and improving. My own personal mantra is “I am Billie, I am not my anxiety”.
I hope someone may have read this and related to me or found this helpful. Please comment and tell me if you would like me to talk about my anxiety further or for any advice.