Anxiety is a bitch.

About a week and a half ago I started a meetup group with the aim of forming a group of Baltimore area families  that meet-up for nature walks/hiking geared toward children. I set a date and location for our first meet-up for this past Thursday.
For days I checked it and saw no new members or any interest. I thought, “well that was a stupid idea, why would anyone come?” (I say mean things to myself, my inner voice is quite an abusive bitch sometimes). Thursday came and my son Patrick cut his toe. It wasn’t an emergency room situation or anything but he didn’t want to put on shoes. I thought, “oh well, its not like anyone was coming anyway.”

An hour after the designated meetup, I decided to go look at the site. I was thinking of taking it down.

Have you guessed yet?

YEP.

People had signed up, I just hadn’t gotten the notifications and presumably those families had been waiting on a no-show leader. I felt, and still feel, terrible about it. Excuses aside I should have been more proactive in double checking. I hate letting people down. Though my initial desired response was to just erase the meetup, I didn’t. I put an apology on the page, but I totally get if people don’t want to give it a second chance. I haven’t gone back to look to see yet.

I blame me, I blame that bitchy  inner voice, anxiety manifest that defeats so many of my efforts.

During my neuropsychological evaluation I was found to have “elevated” physiological panic, social phobia and negative affectivity, as well as mildly elevated worry fear.  Taken together it came to a determination of “Severe Clinical Severity” (which was in red block letters, eek) To say I’m anxiety ridden is an understatement.

In my mind, every day I deal with a scornful abusive voice of worry…

“no one wants to hear what you have to say, why would your ideas matter, you’re going to mess this up, what if X,Y,Z happens, its not going to work out, why bother, you’ll be an idiot, give up, people don’t like you, something is wrong, the future is empty….   etc. etc.”

Now, rational me knows its irrational and negative. It doesn’t matter much if I’m feeling stressed or have rational worries on top of it, which is often.  I listen to her, sabotage myself  and then add that to my list of past mistakes I feel guilty about.  Oh and it ends up in that negative self talk as well.

Anxiety medication has not worked out,  I can’t afford counseling at the moment, so my only means of combatting it is through expressing my feelings, and getting out more.  However to be able to do that, I need to get around that voice to begin with because it tends to be in the decision making/planning/pre event process that the most difficulty occurs, not in the actual doing. It short circuits my executive functioning.

Interacting with other adults around things that interest me is  my idea of social outside of the internet.  I do that when I attend Sherlock Holmes themed events. I do that when I help with butterfly counts, and other nature related events.  I do that to some extent in general ways as a parent educator.

I was really hoping that the meetup would be a good option as well.

Damnit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Anxiety is a bitch.

  1. dkjsv05 says:

    I suffer from anxiety/ panic disorder myself. You did more by planning a date than I ever would. 🙂 It was easier for me to accept that part of myself by realizing it is the way my brain is wired. There are certain things we can change, some we can’t. I myself grew tired of having to change for for everyone else only to still not be accepted.

    Writing is my therapy too, it helps me to sort out my thoughts, being able to see where they are, and what needs to be done about them.

    • amandasmills says:

      I find myself being a mother bear (like polar, I will eat you if you mess with my babies self esteem kind of bear) when it comes to people accepting my children as they are, and yet, I am still working on realizing there are things I cannot change. 🙂

  2. Julie Roberts Towe says:

    I can relate to this so much. As I read it, I thought, “She’s going to sabotage this.” I thought that because I have done the same thing (subconsciously, not intentionally). I plan things with passion and purpose and then at the last minute convince myself that I am nobody important enough to have planned those things. I let them die rather than risk being called out as a fake, obnoxious, or overly-confident. I’m my worst critic, too.

    I think just being aware of what our minds are doing vs. what we really want to happen is a big help. Separating it out makes it easier for me to silence it and control my choices. But I still fail in that regard more than I’d like to admit.

    • amandasmills says:

      I agree mindfullnes is helpful, to at least be able to see where the feeling are coming from/whether its logical or not. Before I was able to do that I felt it was a personal failing, flaw… now at least I realize it doesn’t make me a bad person (though it still affects how I feel/I still feel badly about it)

  3. Anna Cull says:

    Yep, that inner voice sure can be a bitch. I’ve found it useful not to argue with mine. Usually she’s just stirring and causing trouble. But sometimes she’s right… I could mess up and things might go wrong… If they do, hopefully I’ll learn something. But what if they don’t? What if things go brilliantly?!

    My big issue at the moment is an art show (my first) where I’ll be showing/selling my paintings. I can’t begin to tell you what horrible things my inner saboteur is telling me! Even if nobody likes my work and nothing sells, at least I get out of the studio for a few days and I can say I’ve had my first exhibition, right?

    As for your Baltimore group, the good news is that you get another chance to go on your first nature walk together. And if it IS just you, : ) hey, take a few photos, share them with the group, let them know what they missed and arrange the second one! I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes.

  4. wandermood says:

    Hi, I felt for you when I read your text. But hey, you organized the thing, and the people who showed probably had a nice talk to each other and who knows they even went for a little walk while they were there. I do understand your feeloing of failure though and I have stopped promising things to people because they turn into a huge weight on my mind the second after, and all I can do is let them down and back out at the last moment. I hope I can learn to know when I can do it, and when I shouldn’t. All the same, well done for you to plan this meeting!

  5. agrajag says:

    I can relate to this. I tend to need to kick myself too, to actually follow up on social “obligations”. I put that in quotes, because really, once I’m actually there I tend to enjoy it and do fine. But before that happens, I need to actually, you know, show up. And that can be challenging sometimes.

    I want to hear what you have to say. Your ideas matter a whole lot to me. And if either of us ever messed that up, it was certainly me, not you. If X, Y or Z happens, or if they all happen at the same time, you’ll still have your friends, and I’ll still have your back any way I can even though it’s hard with this pond in the way, and you won’t be alone about it.

    And I like you enough that my primary challenge when giving you compliments is making sure I don’t sound as if I want to marry you, given that it’s an entirely platonic sort of like.

    Perhaps you can wait a month or so, and then try again ?

    Me ? I signed up for a social cooking-class. Starts June 10th. Now I just need to actually SHOW UP.

    • amandasmills says:

      I like you too -in a platonic way. (I have never thought otherwise, unlike many Americans, I think opposite sex friendships are possible, I love you too, but I don’t want to marry you either) You’ve been a great help to me in the past year, a life-saver in many respects.

      yes! the showing up, IS the hardest part. I tend to relax/do fine and if I do need to get out, I don’t feel bad about leaving a little early or taking a walk.
      cooking sounds awesome, what makes it “social?” June 13th I’m giving a 15 minute talk at a Sherlockian symposium to an audience of about 300. Never done that before. Anxiety is building.

      • agrajag says:

        I don’t really know why it’s called a “social cooking” class, just that that’s what those folks who arrange the classes have decided to call it. I reckon I’ll wait and see.

        Sherlock sounds like precisely the right topic for you; you’ll do fine. I mean, you may feel anxious about the public performance part of it, but hopefully it helps a bit that it’s on a topic that you’re comfortable with and know a lot about.

        Most Americans (at least those I know !) have zero problems with friendships across gender; what I meant though, was that if a man says certain types of very nice things about a woman, then people have a tendency to jump to the wrong conclusions. (although I know perfectly well that -you- wouldn’t.)

        Thank you for the kind words !

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