“Third year already, hasn’t that gone fast?”

I’ve heard that line plenty of times this summer. Most Sundays at church every conversation with anyone over 40 plays out like this. And then comes the inevitable, “so what are you going to do after that?”

It’s not a new question, but the percentage of times it gets asked has gone up a lot (probably to almost 100%) now that I’m going into my last year of university.

My answer is always vague, because I still have anxieties about how to answer the question, and anxieties about the subject itself (that’s probably not good):¬† “something with publishing and editing”.

It’s just an area of life I want to sort out on my own, in my own time, with no questions asked. I’ve had anxieties around it for years and I nearly always betray some of it when people ask me about it.

But on the other hand, I can see that it’s just a natural path for small talk to follow. When people ask me what kind of work I want to do, there’s a social anxiety-induced voice in my head asking what do they think I’m capable of, and what if I sound too ambitious and then they look at me sceptically… and what if I don’t end up fulfilling my ambitions and then Jill Bloggs who asked me what I want to do when I grow up multiple times from 2008-2016 will see that I didn’t achieve that.

It’s not like I overthink things or anything.

Yesterday at church I had to laugh when Mrs H did the “Wow third year already” line and then followed it up with the bluntest form of this question that I’ve heard so far: “When are you going to start looking for jobs then?”

Context: Mrs H was my teacher when I was 12-15 years old at a small independent school run by this church (so a lot of the people there are my old teachers!) and was obsessed with using our “daily devotions” time to go around in a circle and ask each of us what career we aspired to on a near-weekly basis. She’s always been known for her blunt honesty which, at school, could be either entertaining or terrifying, depending on the situation!

 

Reluctantly Leading a Radio Show

I’ve been helping out on this community radio show in my home town for donkey’s years, since I was about 13 or 14. And although that sounds nifty on my CV, I’ve always figured it’s fairly simple. I just turn up and talk on the show with the co-presenters, people I already know and I do a few extra things like News and Weather… When I was younger I was even more awkward than I can be (on bad days) now, but the others could spin anything like that into humour, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Not having the responsibilities of being in charge of the show helps.

The only problem is that the main guy goes on holiday every August, and every summer since I turned 18 likes to try and talk me into standing in as the main presenter. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be on holiday at the same time and be unable to do it. Other times I just find an excuse. I led a show last year with two of the others. It worked out well; I’d maybe rate it 6/10. Having to lead it makes me quite anxious because this means that it’s my responsibility to come up with conversation starters and sound charismatic about it on air (and it’s one thing to start conversations, quite another to simultaneously be charismatic, in my case!)

In short, I had to lead last night, but it we Continue reading “Reluctantly Leading a Radio Show”

Stares and General Eye Contact in Beijing

Sometimes I have an issue with feeling like I was always being stared at and finding eye contact excruciating. It used to be constant, but isn’t often much more than a niggle nowadays. Most of it tends to be imagined. In Beijing it was real, because I actually Continue reading “Stares and General Eye Contact in Beijing”

Overthinking Facebook

I should really make it a rule to not add anyone on Facebook, even if I {think I} know them well enough to be Facebook friends. I’m already a reluctant friend-adder. Definitely too much of an over-thinker for this.

Once I spent a year avoiding someone and feeling generally awkward over this same situation…. it’s kind of daft… And now I get to try and not repeat the same cycle all over. -.-

I'm usually too socially anxious to even do that. But when I do, I panic and think of cancelling it.:

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”

Being Open about Anxiety for the First Time with Parents: Pt 1

I hinted that this post was coming here, so here we go.

Context: It occured to me that I had social anxiety for the first time when I was 16 because I was really disturbed by the amount of shyness I was experiencing and this got me doing some intense googling on the topic. The idea that my extreme shyness met enough criteria to be classified as something called “social anxiety disorder” and that this was classified as a “mental illness” was probably the aspect of this which bothered me most, and to some extent still does. I feel like I’ve been thinking and perhaps overthinking this topic ever since then (the fact I have a blog about it makes that kinda self evident doesn’t it?) but in the following five years I’ve made a big thing of not talking about it (with one or two slight exceptions). Not out of any feeling of shame Continue reading “Being Open about Anxiety for the First Time with Parents: Pt 1”