Ah anxiety that old bitch.
You may not know it when you meet me but I do suffer from anxiety. It has got a lot better the older I’ve got but it lingers and pops its ugly head when you least expect it.
I’m in no way saying I suffer on levels as some people, where it can completely affect their lives and become a mental health issue. But it’s an issue that needs addressing.
The reason for this blog was to highlight how I’ve changed and grown so much as a person in the last few months since leaving mum and dads and moving to Birmingham on my own.
When I was at home, granted it was a small town with not much to do, but the idea of doing certain things on my own would freak me out. I’ve been to the cinema once on my own and yet I find it this enormous hurdle I can’t get past to do again. It’s not as if I like talking once the film is on, it’s more the driving and walking in by myself that freaks me out.
I’ve even eaten at a restaurant by myself twice. In a previous job when I needed to leave the hotel for food. Eating alone is not all that great in public places, as a veggie your food arrives so fast and with no one to talk to you kind of just eat it and you’re done. The whole going out for food and chilling with a book in your own company doesn’t quite seem as sexy and metropolitan in real life it does on screen!!
A little throwback to my teenager years. I actually spent a week at home from college because the idea of leaving the house scared me, I never said it at the time but I was terrified of the walk to college and going to lectures. The idea of being around people scared me. (I spent that week playing Final Fantasy 8, like a boss!).
To this day, the idea of living alone by myself scares me as I know I have a small part of me that could easily become a hermit. I know I would just go to work and come home. Unless I had plans on weekends I won’t leave the house. Again, being around people and outside by myself causes me to feel a little panicky.
The only time I’ve had a major panic attack was when I was taking driving lessons at 20. My whole body shaking and my heart beating so fast I could barely get my shoes on and open the front door. It turned out it was a reaction to my instructor so I stopped using her and hired someone else who helped me pass! But with her I felt sheer panic of being outside AND in a car!
When I made the choice to move to Birmingham it wasn’t a scary thought. The fact that my landlady has made me feel at home has helped enormously!! I’m glad I decided to not live by myself just yet. Maybe in the next 12 months I may feel as if I could. But yes, it’s scary because I come from a big loud family and the quiet can be disconcerting.
But being here I’ve been forced out of my comfort zone more than I thought.
It’s also given me access to more exposure in terms of my blog! I’ve met fellow bloggers and creatives…the fact that they are also Asian has helped!! Probably the first time in my life I’ve felt included within the Asian community (including how I feel within my own family sometimes!)
As a person, I’ve grown so much, in terms of my independence and being happy doing things by myself without too much of a panic. It’s still there lingering to get out but I’m getting very good at ignoring it.
Below I’ve listed the things I’ve done by myself since moving.
- Went to The Glee Club to watch a comedy show
- Went into a pub (argh!!!) and to a networking event at Old Joint Stock Theatre and randomly spoke to strangers (first time I introduced myself as a writer/blogger)
- Went to Birmingham Improv Festival to see Jumprov – first BAME improv group
- Walked into town by myself and done surveys/questionnaires for work
- Went for a walk around Edgbaston Reservoir
These may not seem like big deals to a lot of people, but the fact that I did them (whilst sweating profusely) means that I’m starting to kick anxiety’s arse. It’s just making me a much more confident person. The going into town was a big deal, even when I was home the idea of grocery shopping or popping into town to run errands would be something I would put off doing. I can’t really explain it but if I can avoid going out I will. Which is weird as I love being outside…with company!!!
NB…Still not gone to the cinema by myself…god damn it! (Baby steps I guess).
Have a good day xo