I decided that I wanted to start a new blog series where I give other bloggers the chance to write about anything and post it on my blog to help share an issue or for advice. The lovely Ida is my first guest blogger. She to me is an inspiration, she has taken an awful experience and turned it into something beautiful. Where as I’m still cautious about what I write she will say what she wants and makes it work. So Ida thank you for being one of my biggest inspriations and also for being my first guest blogger! Please check her out, I’ll link her below.
One of the things my diagnosis has given me has been the concept of ‘feeling fragile.’ There are literally days when I feel light as glass and easily breakable. Things that don’t usually bother me as much, such as crowds, social interaction or radio make me feel like my insides are locked into a birdcage and I want to get out. It doesn’t ease until I’ve gone home and I can be alone.
It happens completely without my permission. My antennas are out, mapping out any tensions whether real or imaginary and crank the volume up until my ears are ringing. It’s frustrating because it stops me from doing things. I say no to invitations. Cancel appointments.
I had to do this the other day. I had told one of my best friends that I’d be able to attend his birthday next month but after thinking about it I had to take my words back. I hate cancelling things and I did want to go. I wanted to be there to celebrate his day, but parties are the absolute worst for me.
This particular party was going to be made worse by the fact that someone I’m not friends with anymore was also attending. With the best will in the world I just realised it was going to be too much, and one of my friends pointed out to me what should I prioritise: my own mental health or powering through something in the expense of it?
This is why I keep people who are not rambling lunatics around. And luckily my friend understood. That’s the thing. If someone actually is your friend, they will understand.
I do get frustrated. Usually the things I cancel are nice things. What sort of pathetic loser can’t handle nice things? Why can’t you be normal just for once you lunatic? It’s even worse when I go even if I feel anxious to begin with and I’m so afraid of ruining everything that I end up having terrible time. But you STILL DID IT! Good for you! After something like you feel like a lost winner or a winning loser, both equally shit.
Then again, what can I do? I could power through it but I’m going to be left feeling shit at the end and nobody else would have to deal with it but me. So I’ve stopped pushing myself and have just started saying no to things. That’s because I try to keep my own mental health as a priority. Anyone else sure as shit won’t do it for me. I’ve yet to hear about anyone who’s had their ‘Martyr of the Year’ – award hand-delivered to their door after agreeing to do a bunch of things they’re not comfortable with.
Not that I want to piss on your bonfire in case this is your third day waiting outside the door.
I do recognise that part of this anxiety is trauma. At one stage I was forced to do things I wasn’t comfortable with and that left me feeling empty and hurt. Now that I recognise this past pattern I try to do my best to never find myself in that situation or head space again. What happened to me wasn’t my fault but I can decide to either learn from it or to leave myself vulnerable to be taken advantage of again.
That doesn’t mean that I shut myself completely out from the world. I know that wouldn’t help me either. It’s better to do things in your own pace. I’ve told my closest friends that I’m scared of social situations where I’m expected to behave in a certain way.
If I don’t know anyone in a gathering except the host, I ask if I can bring a friend. If constant social interaction gets a bit much, I go outside for a couple of minutes. If the topic is uncomfortable, I just ask can we talk about something else. These are just little things but they’ve helped me to have a little wander outside that borderline I’ve drawn between myself and the world. And hopefully afterwards you’re still alive and think it wasn’t too terrible. Then the next time you can wander a bit further out. Or not.
That’s the beauty of setting your own boundaries.