I am an anxious person. A very anxious person. I like to know exactly what is going to happen, and I like to plan for all eventualities. I’m not very good if I don’t get the chance to plan.
This especially applies when I go to new places, or do new things. It magnifies if I’m alone doing new things.
And so this takes us back to last weekend when I, alone, got a flight down to London to meet up with a friend for the Harry Potter Play. The flight part, I was fine with. This is the bit most people would be nervous about, whether it was the flight itself, or airport procedures, but I know airports and I know planes. Their one of my happy places.
So I got off the plane and had to get from Heathrow to the middle of London.
And this is where my anxiety kicked in. I’d checked, many times, which tube line I needed to get, how long it would take, where I would get off and which way I had to walk. But the tube strike happened and I had to research other means of getting from London to Heathrow. Which was fine, thank God for the Heathrow Express.
But I sat on the train, and I sat checking Facebook and Instagram and the likes, not checking the map to make sure I knew exactly what I was doing. Not checking which tube line I needed once I got off at Paddington.
And it struck me that there’s a fine line, especially with my own anxiety, between been over prepared and under prepared.
I need maps. I need google maps to tell me where to go and I need building maps to tell me exactly which floor I need to be on, which wing, which corridor. I need specific details for me to feel only about 20% comfortable about going.
Does my anxiety get worse because I fret over things? Am I prepared enough but I insist of mulling over the details again and again until I can’t think of anything, until I can’t breathe easily until I’m at my destination? Am I capable of having a basic plan, an outline, and leaving it at that? Can I just google map it when I get there instead of having the route memorised in my head? Can I trust in myself that if I can make my way to Australia and back alone then I can get on a tube with a million signs and announcements?
You’d think so.
I think this is something I need to work. Not letting my anxiety take control, but instead taking control of it. And I know that that is one million times easier to say than to do. But what if I have it in my head that I need to stress over these things so much and that’s the only way I’ll be prepared enough? When in reality, I don’t. I can manage without. I can function perfectly fine not knowing every single detail that’s going to happen to me. That I can do this.