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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

  1. Angshuss

    February 26, 2015 by superlative

    Over the last couple of years I’ve developed a problem with anxiety. It only flares up occasionally, but the odd thing is that every time it hits me I seem to think “Oh, this is new. Where have I got this new problem with anxiety from?” If I look back at posts on this blog though, I can see that I’ve written about it a number of times, and described it in exactly the same way. Certain things set it off, usually around a loss of control or a lack of certainty, but the way I respond is always the same – I freak out, I feel sick, and I want to remove myself from whatever situation or decision that has brought it on. And then I get past it, and think it was the worst episode I’ve had so far. But who knows if it was? Every episode feels like the worst.

    In the past I’ve had freak outs about starting new jobs, buying a new car, and buying a home. I haven’t had to do any of those for a while, so most recently it has been caused by travel to new places. Booking holidays is a fun thing to do, right? Everyone likes that. Choosing where you want to go, picking a hotel, booking flights. These are exciting things. Holidays are nice.

    NO. I don’t like it. It makes me feel sick. What if I choose badly? What if it’s horrible? What if it’s a bad hotel, or we get lost, or robbed, or stabbed, or it’s not a nice city? It’ll be a waste of money. I won’t like it. I’ll be trapped and I won’t be able to come home. I don’t want to book a holiday. I just want to stay at home where it’s safe. Or go somewhere that I know, where I can get on the right train without getting lost, and feel comfortable walking around the streets.

    I’m a freak. I don’t want never to go to any new places for the rest of my life. There are lots of places I’ve always said I’d love to visit, and I don’t want to deprive Chris of going and doing nice things. But it’s only fine in theory. As an abstract concept it sounds great, just as long as I don’t actually have to book it.

    Last week I freaked out because I didn’t want to go to Nice. To NICE. It’s almost definitely nice there, it’s in the name. Who doesn’t want to go to Nice? I wasn’t even paying, we’d been given some money to spend on a holiday. But no, I absolutely did not want to go, for no real reason, and it turned into a major thing.

    I don’t know what to do about it. I hate it when it happens, I hate myself for not being able to control it, and I don’t think it’s just going to go away. We’ve arranged to go to Madrid now instead, and I feel OK about that – the trip looked more manageable to me, the hotel has great reviews on Trip Advisor, and there’s a straightforward metro from the airport. It sounds OK. I can do Madrid. It was also a way of not going to Nice, which is illogical, but it helped somehow. Once I’ve been on a holiday and I’m back home safely again I can look back and say yes I enjoyed that. It’s just that I have to get through it first, which sounds so, so bizarre.

    Chris and my Mum think I should look into counselling or hypnotherapy or something. They’re probably right. I’m past the episode now though and once I’m back to normal again it never seems worth it. I don’t know. I hate it. I hate being weak and not in control of myself. I hate not liking myself, because normally I really do like myself.

    I should probably do something about it.

    Maybe next time.

  2. #BEDM14: Fear 2, the sequel

    May 2, 2014 by superlative

    #BEDM14 topic – The things you’re most afraid of

    I wrote about this topic last year so I’ve already used up two of my biggest fears – cancer and death. I’m not doing those again, so I’ll have to think of some more things.

    Being wrong
    This one affects quite a few aspects of my life. I hate doing things wrong, or making the wrong decision, to the point where I’ll try to prepare and plan for every possible eventuality. I have to research everything, learn everything and feel I’m in complete control of a situation or it freaks me out and I get really uncomfortable and anxious. So this fear also covers moments of change in my life, especially if I’ve initiated them by moving house or starting a new job or anything similar. What if I commit to something and it’s wrong? What if I mess it up? Even worse, what if someone else KNOWS I’ve messed it up? Urgh, it’s horrible.

    In some ways this fear helps me, because it’s a good motivator to be really clever and know about everything. But it’s also a bit crippling, especially if it makes me avoid change, or expend lots of energy worrying about being wrong or losing control. People just are wrong sometimes, so I’m never going to be able to prevent it entirely. But I find it hard to let go.

    This is another anxiety-related one. I was mugged several times as a child, and was always one of the bookish, easy target sort of children that attracted the attention of the yobby East London boys I grew up around. So, not unreasonably, I developed a fear of rowdy or rough children in the street. I got good at spotting them from a distance and adjusting my route to avoid them without actually looking like I was avoiding them. I did my best not to be noticed by them. I still feel traumatised by the worst muggings and other experiences I had as a child, and I try not to think about them because of the rage they create in me at the injustice of it all.

    But the worst thing really is that my fear hasn’t gone away in adulthood. It has expanded to include rough-looking adults in the street too, but I still also feel anxious when passing a group of rowdy children or when I’m on the bus with them. I don’t think I’m afraid of being physically attacked by them – I’d like to think that even I could beat up a child if I really wanted to – but I worry that they’ll hassle me and make me look like an idiot. Children these days know you can’t do anything to them or give them a clip round the ear like people used to, so the shitty ones feel free to be horrible to people with impunity.

    Obviously I try not to look like I’m worried about it, and I don’t tell anyone because it sounds rather foolish to say you’re feeling afraid of those 13 year-olds over there. And nothing ever actually happens anyway; why would it? So the whole thing ends up being rather pointless.




  3. Moving on

    August 5, 2013 by superlative

    I wrote recently about how futile it can seem, arriving every day at my office and staring at the same two computer screens for hours on end, then leaving having not really achieved very much. I’ve been in the same job since November 2007, and nothing much has changed about it during that time. I’ve been in the same little room, doing the same work, with mostly the same people around me, staring out of the same non-window at the white wall opposite me. It had all become very comfortable, and very dull, and I could quite easily imagine that I’d be there forever simply because I didn’t really have anything else I’d rather be doing.

    But now I’m leaving. And rather suddenly. On Thursday.

    I mentioned on here about a year and a half ago (you’re forgiven if you don’t remember) that I was given the opportunity to go and work in a different office with our main web team two days a week. It was to support them on special projects and bits of web development, like making our website responsive for mobile devices and working on the new CMS we’re buying. I didn’t get any more money or anything, and I didn’t get to do any less work in my normal job – I just did my normal job in three days each week (which is generally sufficient, because it’s a stupid job), and I took on 40% more work for free because it made my life more interesting and was much better for my rapidly stagnating skills.

    Although it was a temporary arrangement in principle, it was one of those temporary arrangements that gets extended and extended, and somehow nearly a year and a half has drifted by with me doing two half-jobs in two different offices.

    But now after much prevarication things are changing. The new job wants me full-time. And that means giving up my old job, and my little room, and my pseudo-window, and my lighter coloured circle of carpet.

    I’ve known this was on the cards for a while, not least because our new CMS will mean my old job ceases to exist in many respects. So I’ve been very lucky to be able to ease gently into usefulness in another role that I can move over into just before that happens. And I do like my new job very much – the people are fun, and it’s proper web development work that stretches me and asks me to achieve things I don’t know how to do, forcing me to learn all the time.

    But at the same time I’m sad, very sad, to be leaving my old job now, and in such an anti-climactic fashion.

    Officially I’m being seconded temporarily into the new job, so I’m not ‘leaving’ my old job as such. But in reality it’s very unlikely I’ll be coming back, because once the secondment ends I’ll hopefully slot into a newly created permanent role and I’ll just carry on doing what I’m doing. So I am leaving really, but not really, and I’ve only had a couple of weeks to get used to the idea. I told my old job colleagues last week, and because of annual leave and things I’m only actually in that office again on Thursday this week, when hardly anyone is there, and at the end of which I’ll pick up my things and leave. And never come back.

    It’s not the work I’ll miss. The work is boring, and after five years somewhere everything becomes annoying. But I’ll miss the people, some of whom I’ve known for a long time. I’ll miss the luxury of a non-visible computer screen and a hands-off manager that have meant I could do pretty much what I liked, when I liked. I’ll miss being in an office on the edge of the Downs, surrounded by fields and fresh air. And I know I’ll cry when I leave on Thursday, because I always do – I even cried when I left a job I hated after two months, so I’m certainly going to cry leaving this one. I cry at television adverts. My eyes just like crying.

    In some ways, the manner of this transition is very good for me. I’m terrible at change and I tend to get very anxious and freak out during the first two weeks of a new job. I always settle down, and I’ve learnt that it will pass, but it’s not a pleasant time for me. But this way I’ve been eased into the new job and got to know everyone first, and now I’m just dropping the old job. So it’s perfect really and I couldn’t ask for more. I mean, I could have been made redundant in six months time when my old job disappears. I cannot complain at all about this.

    But it’s still sad, and odd, and disconcerting, and not how I thought I’d go. And I feel bad that it’s been so abrupt for all my old colleagues, some of whom I already won’t see again and of whom I’m very fond. We’re going to try to arrange a belated already-left leaving celebration I think, which is nice of them to want to do. And I’ll no doubt cry at that as well.

  4. Something difficult

    May 16, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it

    This is another difficult topic for me, and I’m late starting this post because I haven’t known what to write all day. To be honest, I have a very fortunate life, so finding something to complain about regarding my ‘lot’ isn’t easy. Yes, I have various annoyances and things that stress me out sometimes. But generally I live a secure, comfortable life that would be the envy of many. I’m in a long term relationship with someone I love very much; I have a nice home in a nice town; I have a secure job doing something I quite good at; I’m fairly healthy, minor ailments aside; I have enough money to do pretty much what I  want and I never have to worry about how to pay bills or putting food on the table. It’s a lucky life really.

    Well, not lucky as such, because I have worked quite hard to get a good education, and I’ve always been prudent with money. So some of it is luck and some of it is hard work and being sensible. But whatever.

    There are only two things that I can think of that I suppose I wish were slightly better in my life.

    One is that I struggle a lot with anxiety issues. It’s not all the time, but whenever things go out of my control or I’m in a new situation, I find it very hard. It seems to have got worse in the last ten years or so, possibly because as an adult those occasions come up less frequently and so are felt more acutely. When you’re starting a new school or college or university every few years, you’re used to that change in your life happening, and it’s unavoidable because it’s a part of growing up. You just expect it. Once you’re an adult though, starting a new job or moving house is something you have to decide to do – and that’s where I fall down a bit. Making it my choice means I’m responsible if I get it wrong or make a bad decision, and so I get much more stressed by it. I really don’t like that about myself.

    I’ve got a book on overcoming anxiety which I’ve read and thought was quite useful. It doesn’t really change much though – I just forget it all when I get stressed. I think I’m a bit better for knowing I get anxious – because I’ve also learnt from experience that it will pass, and that an initial freakout I may experience is just that, and it’s not the end of the world.

    But yes, I do wish I wasn’t so anxious. So that’s one thing.

    The second is that I wish my Mum and Chris liked each other more. They get on fine, and they’re perfectly nice to each other, but they wouldn’t seek each other’s company or anything, and if you said to them they could never see each other again I don’t think either would be sorry.

    I do know why they don’t really like each other. With Mum, it’s because she doesn’t really like anyone apart from me, and any partner that I have will be someone who takes my attention away from her. With Chris, it’s because Mum is hard work and not easy company and doesn’t really give very much back. He also doesn’t like that she monopolises my time and has in the past put strain upon our relationship.

    So that’s why, and I get it, and it’s not going to change. But I wish the two of them were more like me and Chris’ Mum. I love Chris’ Mum, and she thinks of me like her own son. I could spend a day on my own with Chris’ Mum just fine. I think she’d probably love that actually. So it’s easy for me to be around her, and to be at her house, and Chris doesn’t have to worry about keeping everyone happy and civil because it just happens on its own. I feel like… I’m papering over the cracks all the time. Or trying to hold loads of barrels together with a bit of rope and they keep threatening to burst out and roll away. 

    So yeah. I’m not doing anything about overcoming this, because I can’t really. People are people, and I’m not the first boy in the world to have a slightly fraught mother/partner relationship. But this and the anxiety thing, they’re both things that I wish were a bit better in my life.

  5. Something wicked that way went

    October 3, 2012 by superlative

    I never got around to writing about how my parents’ trip to Brighton went a couple of weeks ago. They did come in the end, despite Dad’s black-out-in-the-lake disaster, and Mum did decide to let him drive because it was just easier.

    Their visit went fine, although the same as last year I found it quite stressful having them around and I was thoroughly worn out by the time they went away again. We didn’t have any major issues this year though, and I didn’t end up shouting “This is a fucking disaster!” at them in a pub like last time.

    We did a few nice things together, including going on the Brighton Wheel, having a walk on the pier, and going up to Devil’s Dyke for lunch. It was nice to see them really, and getting away from home for a bit seemed to do both of them a lot of good. Mum always likes the sea air, and I think it’s just good for their mental health for them to be in a different environment for once and to have some different company. Otherwise they’re just at home together the whole time, they have no real friends, and they drive each other a bit loopy.

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted a picture of them on here, but this is what they look like if you were wondering:

    Mum is hiding under her hat, but you can sort of see them both.

    The worst bit for me when they visit really is my preoccupation with ensuring Chris doesn’t get too fed up or annoyed. He always says it’s fine, and when it came to it yes it was absolutely fine, but because I don’t want people to fall out I get quite wound up about it. Both times that they’ve come have been Sunday to Wednesday in any case, which means Chris is at work during the day, and he only sees them for a couple of hours at dinner time each evening so it doesn’t really have the scope to be that much of a problem. Nobody likes having their in-laws to stay though, even if it is in the flat upstairs, and that was partly why I was so glad when they got off safely at the end.

    The next two times I spoke to Mum on the phone after they left, she told me she was ‘not bad’ and then ‘fine’ when I asked how she was. That never, EVER happens, and is the most positive response I’ve had from her for years, so the trip really must have done them good.

    Dad has been alright too since his black out and hasn’t had any more. He turned all pale when he stood up and then sat back down quickly the other day apparently, but to me that just makes it sound even more like his blood pressure is just too low for some reason. His hospital appointment is on Monday and my brother is taking him there, so hopefully they’ll just scan his brain and rule out some of the more dire things we’ve been imagining it could be. I guess we’ll just see what happens.

  6. Vroom vrooooom!

    March 7, 2012 by superlative

    I have had another rubbish month for blogging, to the point where I have actually received complaints about it. Who actually wants to read this stuff?? Well apparently you do, so you’ve brought it on yourself and I have no sympathy.

    I have been crap at writing on here because I’m insanely busy with work, and trying to do my normal job in three days a week plus a new job in the other two days is seemingly a bit ambitious. I’ve managed to get back on top of things this week, but it is hard going. I’ve also had quite a lot happening at home, so there has just been no time for anything, and blogging got pushed out.

    My main news from the last month is that we (well, Chris) have bought a new car! This is him, and his name is Thunderbolt:

    Chris has wanted a convertible for aaages, and he’s earning pretty well now so he decided just to buy one. Our old car (dear old Columbo, who I’m going to miss terribly) was on his way out a bit, so we knew he needed replacing soon, and in a bit of a whirlwind of activity Chris found Thunderbolt online, we saw him the next day, and test drove and then bought him the day after that.

    It all seemed to happen REALLY fast, and even though he’s second hand and wasn’t all that much money, and Chris was paying out of his savings so it wasn’t even my money, I found that the whole process made me insanely anxious and stressed. I was worried we’d get ripped off, that the car would have a major fault, that the garage wouldn’t do the work they’d promised to do on it before we picked it up, that it wouldn’t be ready on the day we were supposed to pick it up, that they wouldn’t take Columbo in part exchange once they had a closer look at him, ALL sorts of things. I don’t really know what’s happened to me in the last few years, but I have completely lost the ability to cope with change and my anxiety levels have gone through the roof. Buying a house, starting this new job, and buying a car have all been a nightmare, and I’ve worried myself to the point of feeling sick all the time. I really don’t want to be that person (effectively my Mum but not so haughty) and I need to find a way of nipping it in the bud now while I hopefully still can. I’m not sure what to do about it though. I’ve got a book on anxiety at home somewhere that I need to try to dig out, and there are various types of therapy I could try. When I’m in between big stressful events though I don’t feel especially anxious about things, so I end up not doing anything about it, and then something else big happens and I wish I had. Hmm.

    Anyway, that was an interesting (boring) diversion about my anxiety issues. Thunderbolt seems fine so far, touch wood, and we’ve had him nearly a week. The weather has unfortunately not been nice enough to have the roof down, but he is very big and comfy and Chris seems to enjoy driving him. I always refer to our cars as him, by the way. I hope everything stays fine and his big end doesn’t go after a fortnight or anything. What the hell is a big end anyway, and where does it go? Can’t they just fix them in place more securely? I might have to look into that.

    Other than that I have just been drinking too much, not getting enough sleep (while drinking), and thinking I really must cut down on my drinking. I don’t get wasted all the time or anything, but I had started to drink out of habit in the evenings a couple of weeks ago. It was just a cocktail or a glass of wine, so not loads, but it wasn’t very good. So now I’m cutting down a bit and only drinking when I’m actually socialising or for a treat.

    Mum is hmmm OK, not great. That’s about as good as it gets with her. Their gypsy curse this week has included: the downstairs phone breaking; the battery going on her car so it wouldn’t start and she had to get the AA out; a blind falling off the wall when she pulled it; and my Dad fainting for no reason and banging his head on the dining table. So pretty much par for the course with them really. Dad has been to the doctors already and been told he has low blood pressure, and now he’s having some tests done. I’m not too worried about him as yet, but I’m glad he is getting checked out.

    It’s just bizarre that they have so many stupid things happen to them though, it’s non-stop. He’s still waiting to hear from the police about his accident thing that he lost his job over and that he might get prosecuted for. If I wrote down all the unfortunate things that have happened to them over the last year I think it would make me want to shoot myself (or them, as an act of kindness). But it does at least make me realise, anxiety issues or not, I have a comparatively good and easy life and so I should be grateful.

  7. If you can’t afford to buy it, rent it

    July 2, 2009 by superlative

    I think that we’re leaning a bit more towards renting a new flat rather than buying now. After a few weeks of looking, we’ve found that we aren’t even seeing any places advertised that we want to go and view, let alone would consider buying. There just aren’t enough things coming on the market at the moment, as all the sellers are waiting for prices to pick up again. So all the things that do come on the market are there because the seller has to sell for some reason, and there’s not a lot to choose from.

    So anyway, I had kind of gone off the idea of moving at all, as it’s summer now and our location in town is quite useful in the summer, and I’ve done some work on making our flat a bit nicer. But Chris is still fairly keen on moving, and having had a look at some adverts there are some really lovely places around that we could afford. We could never afford to buy them of course, but we could rent them and still stay happily within our means.

    We’re off to see one tonight that I think only came on the market on Monday. It looks really nice in the pictures: it’s a Regency flat right on the seafront with a gorgeous big lounge and views of the sea. Look how nice this is:

    Of course we wouldn’t have that furniture in it, we’d have our own stuff and make the inside look a bit more modern, but the rooms are nice and big and the view is great. I suppose it’s at the top end of our rental budget, but we can afford it alright, and we should still have a bit of money left over to put into savings each month.

    Saying all that though, I can still feel my nerves setting in a little bit. I can’t remember when I turned into an anxious person, I’m normally too rational for it, but the fact is I am anxious about a fair few things now. And with things like flats it’s the commitment that makes me nervous.

    What if we end up not liking it? What if the neighbours are horrible? What if the landlord whacks the rent up after a year? What if the landlord decides to sell it? What if it’s the wrong decision??

    All those things go round and round in my head until I think “gaahhh let’s just not move! At least we know what we’re getting with the flat we’re in now!”

    BUT, in lots of ways we do quite want to move. It’s too noisy on the road we live on, the student neighbours next door can be a pain, and we’d like to have a proper guestroom instead of a sofabed in the living room.

    And if you look at my nervous questions above, you can pick them apart and they don’t sound so serious.

    What if we end up not liking it?
    We can move out after a year, or probably sooner if we want. The only real issue with that is that you lose all the fees you’ve spent in taking out the tenancy and you have all the hassle of moving again. It’s not dire though.

    What if the neighbours are horrible?
    Same as above. And our neighbours aren’t great at the moment.

    What if the landlord whacks the rent up after a year? What if the landlord decides to sell it?
    What if it’s the wrong decision??
    Again, you can just move out. At least we wouldn’t have bought the place and be stuck with it until we could sell it.

    So really I shouldn’t get myself too over-wrought about it. I shall try to go and see this flat with an open mind and non-anxious eyes, and then I’ll write if we liked it tomorrow!