Being Open about Anxiety for the First Time with Parents: Pt 3

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”

Being Open about Anxiety for the First Time with Parents: Pt 2

This is the part that is actually about me telling my parents I have anxiety. See part 1 for contextual waffle.

It was in the last couple of days before I was going to be moving back to university for Term 2 (just over a month ago). I was in the back room trying to study but thinking about anxiety (as per) and my parents were watching a film in the other room. I was mulling over the prospect of telling them about it for the umpteenth time and having just about come to the conclusion that I should tell them had got on to thinking about the how. Then I looked at my phone and the grade of my first essay of the year had come through. So I checked that and it turned out I’d got a C which wasn’t like me so I started panicking about the future and my grades and job prospects etc etc… And I felt so over the edge that I wanted to finally get anxiety into the open now without any further ado. But they were happily watching their film so I didn’t, I just sat there hyperventilating and staring at my laptop screen.

Then their film finished and my dad went to bed pretty promptly so my idea seemed to be blown. Mum was in the front room packing up Christmas tree decorations and I really just had to say something, even though this wasn’t the calm let’s-all-sit-down-together-and-I’ll-explain-that-I-have-anxiety-like-a-rational-human-being scenario that I’d intended. I composed myself a bit more and we Continue reading “Being Open about Anxiety for the First Time with Parents: Pt 2”

To be Open

So a year and a bit ago I wrote this blog post¬† about having a dilemma regarding whether to open up to people about having social anxiety. That was just before I started uni. I’ve been at uni forever and a day now. So update time it is.

So I started uni and everything was surprisingly hunky dory with that. Not that social anxiety went away or anything, it just was a lot better than expected. I also went to the counselling people as I had been planning to do once I had moved away to uni, and I went there for 10 weeks.

The first time I opened up about social anxiety with someone in my everyday life was shortly after starting this, because I was meeting up with the pastor’s wife from my new church in my university town every week to study the Bible and pray. So when prayer requests were being bashed around it seemed fitting to mention anxiety, which really didn’t turn out to be that painful a thing to do. I was objective and undramatic about it, I just said how it was and she completely understood and prayed about it.

Then in the summer just gone I was talking to someone I’ve been friends with since school days on snapchat and she casually made a comment about her social anxiety and fear about this phone call she had to make. So I asked if she was serious about having social anxiety, and so she said how she had Generalised Anxiety which included social anxiety for her and she’d just been put on medication for it. So I shared about my own social anxiety too and we had a really long conversation about both our experiences. We talked about it some more recently. She is starting to work towards a career in politics so mental health is one of the things she wants to campaign for, so sometimes she asks me for ideas, and I love to try and contribute these. We’ve been friends like 10 years now so it’s pretty surreal to find we both have these experiences with anxiety and can share both our points of view with each other (that sounds like I’m pleased she has anxiety though, I’m not I swear).

I haven’t opened up to the entire world about having anxiety like I envisioned in that earlier blog post. The thought is still tempting at times but I haven’t deemed it necessary so I haven’t done that, so far. So far I’ve opened up about it to 3 people. The third happened like last week, that was much more of a big deal and incredibly challenging to do, so recounting this episode is something I’ll talk about in an upcoming blog post I think ūüėõ

Anyway, hooray. I must do coursework now so TTFN.

 

To Be Open or not to be Open?

Recently I’m turning over in my mind the question of being open about my social anxiety with other people. Telling anecdotes about “that awkward moment when” seems to be a new craze and naturally I’ve got plenty of them up my sleeve. But admitting to¬†people that what you’ve got isn’t just shyness but an actual condition is a whole other ball game. I keep imagining possible situations and what people might say if I was open about it. The idea of it is strangely appealing, yet not quite appealing enough just yet. I imagine many would be very understanding about it, others might get kind of preachy, some sceptical, and others might think I’m attention-seeking.

Is it worth it? Does opening up bring relief or is it best not to tell the whole world? Should you just save it for trusted friends? Or would it be good to raise more awareness for issues like this that not everyone knows exist? I saw some stats somewhere that S.A.D is the third most common mental health problem after depression and alcoholism. If so, we could have all met someone that has this and never known.

If somebody could give me a witty or insightful reply to the question, “So are you usually quite a shy person then?” that’d be great. Saying, “Oh I have social anxiety and I¬†always get tongue-tied when I¬†meet new people,” seems rather a severe bomb to drop on someone you’ve only just met. What do you say?? I usually end up apologetically¬†saying¬†“Kind of, sorry” or “Not always,” but this is a conversation killer and makes me sound like an uninteresting and/or dumb person, which is hardly the first impression I want¬†to give.

Then again, I’m not sure why these people think “Are you always this shy?” is a socially acceptable thing to say. What kind of answer do they expect? Pointing out a stranger or acquaintance’s apparent personality defect simply isn’t kind, even if said with good intentions, and it’s certainly not going to break the ice.

I know that this blog is so new that nobody’s really reading yet, but if by some small chance anyone is, I’d love it if anyone has any suggestions or answers to leave a comment.