Okay so I realised when reading over the current posts I have up that I only mention my specific diagnosis of anxiety once! I was specifically diagnosed with social and attachment anxiety (or social anxiety and attachment disorder) due to the emotions, triggers and reactions I have and feel to situations around me. There are many emotions I feel when my anxiety kicks in, and I can't talk about each and every single one, but to put it down to a tee, everything I worry about, become anxious and panic about always relates in someway to other people.
For me personally, and others who have this specific anxiety, there is a constant undying need to please others and make others happy, along with the fear that if someone leaves you alone, you'll be 'lost' forever. It has lead to me frequently putting everybody but myself first in life and this has had detrimental effects on my health and sometimes my education too. If you asked me what I thought my friends thought of me, i'd use words such as clingy, annoying, needy, irritating. I feel this because in my irrational mind, if they don't reply to a text, if they're generally in a bad mood and this shows through our conversation or if they ignore my calls, that means they hate me, got fed up of me and don't want anything to do with me anymore. This is also how I feel too when out and about shopping which I talk about in this post. Now, I've learnt to not bombard them with texts, I just play a continuous game of 'what if's' in my head until I have convinced myself I am a rubbish friend who no one likes. Rationally, I know i'm a great friend and I suppose I could thank my need to please people and make them happy for that, but it's awful what happens to my thought processes when my anxiety kicks in. Nowadays, my close friends and family recognise the common signs of me overthinking thoughts like this and are able to nudge rational Lucy out of her hiding hole in my head. Of course, these are not rational thoughts to be thinking and I know that but I can't help it when it's happening here and now.
Meeting new people is always hard for me due to the fact my irrational side is constantly telling me 'they're judging you'. I struggle with this even with those I've met a few times before but haven't seen in a while - I don't want them to think bad of me. Starting university was a real hard time for me, having to meet new people every day for weeks on end, and even on the first day of my placement blocks, I struggle to divert my thoughts away from 'they're judging me, they don't like me'.
For me, the hardest part of this form of anxiety, other than living away from home, is the aspect which normal 20 year old people don't usually have to deal with. Nights out and parties. After a few tough nights out in the past, wherever there is alcohol, loud music and a confined room, I will not go out unless i'm with one of two people - my boyfriend or my best friend. They're the only two people I trust to be with me in what seems like a quite literal 'panic at the disco'. Drunk people, crowds, hot and sweaty rooms, loud music and the fear of being left alone surrounded by this are not my idea of fun, however, with the right people, I do enjoy myself. Both of them know when to take me out for a breather and both make sure I'm having fun and not just braving it. If i'm not having fun, we go home, and that's never shown to be a problem with them because I do usually enjoy my nights when I'm with them. This does cause problems, mainly due to the fact one of them is in Lincoln and ones in Loughborough and obviously we all have different friendship groups, so when my friends from Leicester ask me on a night out, I have to politely decline because the fear of being out without my 'safety nets' in an unfamiliar city is too much for me to handle and isn't healthy for me. For some, they see it as an excuse, others completely understand but it is something I'm slowly trying to work on and be more confident about. I think the main thing for me is, if i'm having fun and surrounded by the right people who know me well, I have just as good of a night as any other ordinary 20 year old, but that doesn't mean I don't worry about it weeks before it actually happens.
The main aspect to point out though is as long as I am comfortable and happy in what I'm doing, i'm absolutely fine, hence why once I've settled into a placement or a group of friends, I'm very good at thinking rationally about things. I suppose its just a fear of the unknown. I hope my openness and personal view on this topic helps some people feeling the same way, or even people who can see themselves in an aspect of my anxiety. I also hope it helps those who do have a friend who never wants to come on a night out understand maybe why that is. Remember, this is only one form that anxiety takes and it is specific and different for each and every person.
Love Luce xo