So Part 1 was contextual waffle and Part 2 was about telling my mum. Predictably, Part 3 will be about telling Dad.
Telling Dad started off awkward, progressing to mildly comedic, progressing to absolutely fine.
By the time I got round to talking to Dad, it had been two or three weeks since telling Mum. This was because at the end of the Christmas holidays, I hadn’t found a good opportunity to bring up the subject with him and reluctantly postponed it till my next visit home. So I came back for a weekend and it got to Sunday afternoon, a few hours before I would be getting on a train back to my university town again, and I still hadn’t attempted it. So I figured I’d have to give up looking for the perfect opportunity and just out with it. Continue reading “Being Open about Anxiety for the First Time with Parents: Pt 3”
There was a time when I was very stuck in the past at the expense of the present and future and by the time I realised all this it had messed with my thinking. Nowadays I don’t think I live with a thinking bias in any of these directions; I think about each one of them in a lot of depth.
I’ve got an insanely good memory when it comes to things that happened even a very long time ago; I can think back to things that probably should feel blurry now but actually I can remember vividly exactly how I felt and experienced consciousness in that moment. I attach a lot of emotional meaning to things I remember, even the smallest ones. I’ve a weird knack for remembering the exact year when a lot of memories happened without trying to- maybe I have a really chronological mind like that.
I’m acutely aware of the present too- I take in an insane amount of information about subtle things that are happening in a social situation as it’s playing out. It’s like I have a constant radar for figuring out how the people around me must be thinking and feeling. This is a useful skill but also can tend to hype up my social anxiety because sometimes it would be better not to know all these details… or have so many speculations about them, whichever it is.
And I don’t know if it’s starting to become obvious but I’m very much thinking about the future at the moment too. I seem to be having a mid-uni crisis where suddenly it’s going to be my final year of uni starting next September and I’d rather stay right here in this moment and ohnoworkexperiencecareersanxietyohno…
So does this make me well balanced or do I process all three far too deeply?
I just had a eureka moment while I was thinking about how my social anxiety developed. I already had detailed ideas about it but this feels like the last piece of puzzle.
So I’ve always been very much a peace-loving person. When I was little, people described me as the “peace-maker” among other kids. I never set out to cause controversy or offence but still somehow managed to do that (I’m on about getting bullied, which worked mostly on the level of social exclusion- ie: the bully turns the other person’s friendship group against them, they all make up, but then it happens again and the cycle repeats and repeats)
But I guess when you think of that kind of person you think of someone who’s unflappable and calm (At least I do). But I’m also the type of person that’s always been prone to worry and stressiness.
So maybe these two traits added together + experiences eventually produced social anxiety.
Because when I internalised the bad experiences I’d had with people, despite never trying to be provocative (I blamed myself for these things when I was like 12/13) , then maybe on a subconscious level I ended up paranoid about the way I could disturb the peace with people without even trying. So I got shy and anxious about speaking, fearing confrontation. And I basically conditioned myself to have these anxieties before I realised what I was doing.
I don’t know, it’s interesting isn’t it? I’m sure it starts differently for different people, but maybe some people can relate to this. I don’t know what practical use I can really put this information to, except to urge people (esp. teachers) to take bullying seriously… Please don’t see it as something you can ignore because it’s just kids being silly or whatever, because the experiences they have now affect how they will operate when they get older.
Sorry that wasn’t meant to turn into a preach. I do so strongly feel this is important though.