This week’s Blog Tag- Mental Health- is one close to my heart.
Anxiety…stress…depression… All different sides of the same tarnished coin. It’s an issue most of us just don’t feel comfortable talking about, but it’s not something we can ignore.
I think it can be difficult for those that don’t have these problems to understand the gravity of the situation. It’s easy to say ‘oh, just cheer up will you!’… But that’s not helping, if anything it makes us worse.
Today I want to talk triggers- those little (or big) things which can trigger feelings of anxiousness and stress. More specifically, I want to talk about MY triggers. I want to share this with you all so that any of you out there feeling the same as me don’t feel alone. You’re not alone.
1.Crowds and Strangers
I feel like this is probably one of the more common triggers for those of us suffering with anxiety. The thought of being around a big group of people and having to talk is enough to make us want to curl up in a ball and hibernate forever. For me, this started when I started high school. I attended a tiny primary school, with only 12 people in my class. We were all close friends and we had a great bond. Only problem was, I was the only one to pass our 11+, meaning I was enrolled into our local grammar school alone, with no friendly faces.
My first day was terrifying, and up until this point in my life I had been a confident person, but that changed as soon as I met the 120 pupils who also attended my year group. I think there was a feeling of isolation there which i had never experienced before, and this made my life really difficult. I was too nervous to talk to people and make friends, meaning that in that few few months of school where most friend groups are made, I hadn’t made much progress at all. I had a few friends- non of which shared my classes.
The whole thing developed from there really, and the longer I left it, the harder it was. And by the time I left high school I had a small number of friends and an anxious disposition.
Starting work in retail at 18 and beginning university in the same year, it was a big shocker for me. Having to interact with a completely new set of people sent me into meltdown mentally. Physically I was attending my lectures and work, but mentally my stress was going into overdrive. Because of this, when I finally hit second and third year, my energy was drained and I had a lot of problems. You can read more about how I overcame this here: Deciding to be Happy
Public places always make me nervous, but not many more than self-serve restaurants and buffets. I feel like a rabbit in front of headlights when I think about having to get up and find my own food, drink or even just to pick up a sauce. It’s petty I know, but if I know i’m going to be going to somewhere like Nandos for instance (where you have to go and pick your cutlery, sauces and drinks) I get nervous.
For days it will be in the back of my mind, knowing that I’m going to have to stand up in front loads of people and find my way to the condiments. I think what triggers me the most, is visions in my head of me knocking into chairs or tables, or not being able to find the drinks machine and drawing attention to myself by walking back the other way. God, even writing this is making me feel anxious.
And when the time finally comes and I’m sitting at the table, knowing I need to get up and walk around, I have to watch other people first and plan which path will get me noticed the least. I know in my logical mind that no one will even take a second glance, but that doesn’t stop that devil on my shoulder telling me to stand up straight, keep my head down and not to make a fool out of myself.
So, of course, most of the time this is all going on in my mind before I even grasp the courage to get out of my seat. It’s an trigger that I know is silly, but I just can’t seem to shake it.
You know when you’re waiting in the queue at the checkout in a shop and there’s that one annoying person who is routing through their bag because they haven’t got any money ready? That’s my worst nightmare when it comes to shopping.
My anxiety with shopping stems from the worry of inconveniencing people. I have to be prepared well in advance, even to the point of having my card ready in my open purse (in my handbag) at the perfect angle for me to reach it as I get to the till. And I don’t do this while I’m stood in the queue, I usually do this on my way to the shop, you know, just in case. Of course it’s ridiculous, and I’m sitting here shaking my head at how this sounds. But this is a real issue for me. I always have to have things done ahead of time, because I can’t stand the thought of anyone being inconvenienced by me. I can’t help it.
4.Walking down the Street
This is the most frequent of my triggers, as I have to do this every day. It sounds silly, how can walking down the street cause anxiety?
Again, it’s that overwhelming thought that people are watching me, judging me. Even when I’m walking down the road. I only ever get this anxiety when I’m on my own, but I get it pretty bad.
I’m always thankful when it’s sunny outside because I can wear my sunglasses and kind of hide. But it’s too easy to be conscious of the way you walk, where to look etc… and I have on occasion lost my footing because I was paying too much attention to walking in a straight line.
That’s it for my main triggers, there are more but none as extreme as these.What I really want to get across, is we all have our pitfalls and worries. We all have times where we just don’t want to face the day, or we get anxious over silly things. But we are only human, after all. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way.
44 thoughts on “Let’s talk about the Elephant in the room…”
This post just goes to show how far you’ve come. Knowing you have a problem, and openly admitting them means there’s progress. And the fact that you still do these things, well… I’d give ya a pat on the shoulder if I could… That’s just awesome. Good for you! 🙂
Thank you! I think the hardest thing sometimes is being able to recognise that you have a problem and to be able to kind of laugh about it. I just try my best to think of positive things now, and although these habits still exist, I just carry on with my life 🙂
Haha! Thoroughly entertaining post! Loved the picture adds ahah.
Lol but on a serious note. What a deep and moving post! So insightful and filled with tons of nuggets. It was very relatable and well laid out.
Very cool post! You made me laugh with the shopping nightmare I feel exactly the same but I feel like that everywhere where you need to wait while someone else is taking the entire day to pay for something. By the way, very funny pictures 🙂
Thank you! I wanted to break up the seriousness a bit with some funny bits 🙂
Know that none of what you mention in your post are petty. I am a strong believer that you should not dismiss, that which is a significant part of you, just because other’s may not understand it.
I too don’t like being around crowds, going to the CBD is the worts for me, the traffic, the people, crossing the road, etc. But to me, this is my normal, even though the sound of someone’s chewing may just have me lashing out and tearing their skin off their lips – my neurons just can’t deal!
Living with anxiety is no easy feat, and I take my hat off to you for sharing your story on your blog. All the best!
Yeah that’s true! I suppose when we live with it every day it does become normal. Thank you, I just wanted to share it in the hopes of helping people not feel like it’s something to be ashamed of because its not!
Having a fear of something is completely normal. All of us have something that we fear of. Some things are common while for some people, there can be something very different. The major thing is to identify our fears because that’s the only way that would let us overcome it.
Completely true, I think a lot of the time the hardest thing to do is admit you have an issue and to be willing to deal with it in a constructive way
This helps me understand it a lot better. It sounds like doing seemingly normal things requires a lot more effort when you have anxiety.
It really does, everyone has their own quirks but living with anxiety can really make things a lot more stressful than they would be to others
Anxiety really affects all parts of your life. It is good to know a snapshot of how you feel in these situations.
Thank you 🙂 I think that sharing my story is a good way to help people understand what it’s like to live with
I’ve suffered from anxiety for as long as i can remember and its really overwhelming at times. I don’t have social anxiety, mine can just come and go. I don’t like being in a situation that I’m not in control of. There is truely nothing harder than battling with your mind everyday.
Yeah i’m the same with control, I’m the kind of person who will have things organised weeks in advance and if someone else isn’t ready or prepared its easy to get stressed out over it
You just have no idea what someone else is going through on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing, it really opened my eyes.
Thank you! I feel like most people don’t even think about how overwhelming some situations can be for people with anxiety, and it’s hard for them to help because they just can’t contemplate what’s going on in our heads
I totally get it ! I’m currently started seeing this therapist at my school because it come to the point whre my anxiety is geting in the way of my grades and im tired of it. =) wish me luck.
Exactly! I did the same in school, the hardest thing was admitting to myself that I needed help
Good luck with it! You’ll feel so much better after 🙂
It took great courage to post this. I used to suffer terrible social anxiety. It took a great deal of work and years to overcome it, but I have (I still get anxious at times, but it’s nothing like it used to be). My anxiety itself caused me so much anxiety! It was a vicious cycle. One thing that helped me in situations such as what you’re describing is something a counselor suggested to me. Instead of focusing so much on myself, focus on others and what I can do for them. While it seems there is no blessing in feeling the way you do, it does give you the ability to be very compassionate and empathetic to others.
I suffer from anxiety too and this post really hit home. the meme with the giraffes really made me chuckle too!
Haha I think it’s always good to break up a serious post with some humour 😊
From someone who lives with anxiety, I completely understand you. At some point, I even started avoiding places that I knew would potentially cause a panic attack. I still have some episodes once in a while, but I think I have made so much progress. As for restaurants, that’s something that I just don’t feel comfortable with (for other reasons). I have gone through a few situations that made me very picky about food, and now it makes me feel very uncomfortable to go out to eat with people. I prefer to do other things, but eating out is something I always avoid to the maximum ‘Oh let’s all go to dinner together’ that’s something I absolutely dread. Not to mention everyone keeps looking at what I eat or don’t eat, and that makes me even more nervous and socially awkward. Me, wishin you the best.
Exactly, everyone has their own difficulties and issue with certain things, and I’m the same as you with trying to avoid any situation which might trigger me. I think it helps people to know that others feel the same and have the same/ similar problems themselves 🙂
Yeah, that sounds like me in a nutshell, but I had to pretty much cure my Anxiety by forcing myself to meet new people. I wouldn’t recommend it but I had a friend with me who had the idea of making a meetup group to meet like minded people so we could be awkward together and it working… for now ^_^
Maybe not the best method but I can see how that could work, I think when I started my job and uni it sort of made me a little bit better for a while
I’m glad you recognise what triggers your anxiety as shows you’re true to yourself. Mental health is still under-recognised in today’s world so the more people that speak out about it, the better. Thanks for sharing – I’m sure this post has helped lots of others who suffer with anxiety on a daily basis.
Thank you! It took a bit of courage to post this but in my mind I just wanted to show people that it’s nothing to be ashamed of
I love the humor you brought to this post. Even the simplest of tasks are not so easy for many.
Thank you 😊
Such an insightful post.Many of us take these things for granted.I am glad you bringing the attention it deserves for people who suffer from anxiety and the understanding to those who do not.You are doing great job. Be awesome 🙂
Thank you! It was hard to write this post but I wanted to do it to try and help people 🙂
Such a great post. You never know what someone is going through just by looking at them walking down the street 🙂
I don`t blame you. I`m often anxious too. Over the past couple of months, I`ve learned to let go a bit of my anxieties but then I often felt like I was an inconvenience to people around me. I think a great way to help reduce anxiety is to have a balanced perspective of reality.
Exactly, the hardest thing is to be able to know you’ve got a problem and consciously let go of it, I have learned to take each day as it comes but i still have issues to work on, but thats fine- we all do!
Great post!!! My hubby gets really bad anxiety. He hates going anywhere where he will see people he doesn’t know.
I’m the same! Its difficult to force yourself to do things that you know will cause anxiety
Nice post! Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations.
I agree! I think it can be very much a defense mechanism for some people
Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch
break. I enjoy the information you present here and can’t wait
to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, very good site!