Really cheesy title I know, but I am at a loss on what to name this Anxiety blog post.
Over the years I have had the above phrase said to me over and over again, and yes in some instances and scenarios it does work, but not in all.
In fact, hearing it repeated again and again would really bug me and cause me to become defensive. Could they not see how hard I was trying, how much work and energy I was putting in to it, yet I did not find it any easier to do.
I’m not talking about sport or a career, the “IT” I am talking about here are the triggers for my Anxiety.
One of the areas I find difficult is the school run, most days I end up with a panic attack because of it. I was told “the more you do it the easier it gets”. well, I have been doing the school run for 5 years or more now, it hasn’t become any easier. I used to think it was the amount of people, but due to the lockdown those numbers have dwindled and there are different drop off times, yet I still find it hard. It’s not the amount of people, it’s people in general, it’s being visable and the fear of making a mistake, saying the wrong thing or making a fool of myself.
Talking to People
Talking to people is a trigger for my Anxiety. It’s not just groups of people or public speaking, in some instances it can be individuals as well.
As a child, I only spoke to the people closest to me, I found speaking to people outside of that group very difficult. I was painfully shy.
Part of the fear of talking to people was down to trust due to childhood experiences. But, it was much more than that, speaking became a huge trigger for my Anxiety, so I would try to avoid talking to people as much as I possibly could.
Several times I heard the phrase “the more you talk to people the easier it gets”. No, it didn’t. It didn’t matter how many times I tried, it didn’t get any easier so I gave up. I just avoided people instead.
Fast Forward a Several Years
In more recent years I learned that avoidance actually created it’s own problems. By avoiding one Trigger, it would grow larger and spread in to other areas and more Triggers would creep in. Which left me needing to avoid more and more.
Once i realised that, I made it my mission to avoid avoidance where possible. I made myself talk to people, I went to the events at my childs school, I would go for coffee with a friend. It didn’t matter how much I put myself out there, it didnt get any easier, it still triggered my Anxiety and left me exhausted and in pain.
Through CBT, more so the recent sessions of CBT I have had, I have learnt it’s not just about emersing myself in the situations that trigger my Anxiety. It’s about, working out which thinking styles I am engaging in, challenging those thoughts and conducting experiments. It is also about working out the Core Beliefs and values I hold about myself, challenging them and finding evidence for and against them. We often hold on to the Beliefs we formed in childhood through our experiences, finding the evidence to support them as we go through life. Those beliefs don’t always deserve a place in our lives now, yet we still hold on to them.
Changing those thoughts and beliefs takes time and effort; I know I have to keep chipping away at the ones I keep hold of, gradually breaking them down and forming new ones to replace them with. Building up my Self-Esteem.
By doing that, I hope that I will be able to overcome my struggles with Anxiety. Maybe I will find talking to people much easier.