Staying Inside: A little chat about anxiety

Last weekend, I cancelled two social events. I feel pretty shitty about it. I went out on Friday with people from work, people who I am FINALLY feeling comfortable around (only took me nearly two years) and I had a blast. Seriously, you should’ve seen the abs I got from laughing so hard.

But then on Saturday I was invited to an event with lots of people I didn’t know very well. And I should have gone. It would have been an amazing opportunity to get to know some other people I didn’t know all too well, helped by being a little tipsy. But I chickened out. The pressure of having to make small talk around people I deemed cooler than me was too much.

Then I was supposed to go and see some school friends. Again, chickened out. And it’s not that I don’t know these guys, or that I don’t like them. I don’t know, I felt all socialised out? If that makes sense.

I’ve recently reduced my dose of antidepressants. I went on them just over a year ago because I had horrendously low mood and debilitating anxiety. I went to the doctors last month (for migraines, completely unrelated) and as an aside, she asked me how I felt, mood wise, and if I felt okay and reducing them a little, with the end goal of completely coming off then. And I’d been thinking that myself. A million things are a million times better in my life than when I first went on them, and I know it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain to feel depressed, it can also be due to external factors. Like not feeling like you have any friends, and feeling so stressed and on edge at work because you’re so anxious and might cry at any minute, and being scared to talk. I feel so much more like myself, I feel at home with my colleagues – now friends – I know what I want to do with my life. I’m happier, I feel less exhausted by just being alive, and my mood has dramatically improved. I still have off days, but everyone does.

So I’m feeling confident about reducing my does. And I’m also feeling more confident in general. I don’t get as sweaty making important phone calls, or talking to strangers, or asking questions where I might feel the person I’m asking will think I’m stupid. I feel much better about putting forth my opinions. A little bit of life experience will do wonders for you.

But, and social anxiety was always one of my biggest parts of my anxiety, I have another event coming up next weekend. (I realise it kind of sounds like I’m a very social person who always has events coming up. But I don’t. They’re a bit like buses…) And I don’t really want to go.

But this is one thing that being on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication won’t necessarily help. I obviously have ingrained issues around this. These people are my friends, I often enjoy myself while I’m out, I build things up to expect them to be awful in my head, so that I’m not disappointed? I don’t know.

There isn’t a real point to this post, just a little insight into what’s in my head about my anxiety and depression and how yes, some of it is chemical and out of my hands, but in other aspects, I have to be proactive. I have to leave the bad experiences behind when I felt like a stranger around people I’d know for ten years, and work towards new, better experiences.

I can’t let my mental health issues rule me. Or at least, I have to try not to.



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