I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Referring back to my Red Mist Syndrome post, anxiety and confusion kind of went hand in hand with why I was so angry all the time. Eventually I learned how my mind worked and was no longer confused, but the anxiety still lingered.
This isn’t the kind of anxiety that would happen before an event or when I was due to speak in front of an audience, this is the kind of anxiety that just lives within me 24/7. It doesn’t go away. On a good day, I probably have very little anxiety, but on a bad day, don’t expect me to go outside (unless its for my voluntary work).
My voluntary work is actually the only thing that gets me out of the house when I’m feeling super edgy. Regardless of even having a panic attack that morning, I will still follow through with it.
I help out at a wildlife rescue. We mainly deal with birds and I absolutely love it. I have been there 2 years now and it has actually given me so much confidence in dealing with people (even if its intentions are for animals). In fact, I am the most likely person to deal with people who turn up with an injured animal or new people who would like to begin helping out. Lucky for me, it’s only a small place. Having about 4 people at max, on site. So for dealing with the real world for the first time, I couldn’t have gone to a better place. It’s made me realise that I can do these things, and truth be told, I enjoy it. I enjoy meeting new people and helping them out. It actually gives me a bigger reason to believe in myself and know that I can do these things despite my anxiety.
But, there are things I can’t do. At 20, you’d expect someone to drive, have a job, possibly even have their own home. But I still live at home and I can’t drive. Worst of all, I can’t step outside the house on my own (I do however, attend the rescue on my own, with the aid of my parents getting me there). This is my biggest challenge yet. I have been out before on my own, but I faced some nasty experiences when I did. I was approached by a drunk man who asked for my number, I was followed by a girl who asked for a fight, and I had a group of drunk men try to hit on me. Because of these unsettling experiences, it has made me more fearful of entering the big, wide world on my own. Everything is so unpredictable.
I’ll admit, I have no idea how I am going to tackle this step, because it’s not even as easy as saying to myself “It’s absolutely fine. There is nothing to be afraid of.” Nothing even dims it down. However, I am grateful that I am able to understand my anxiety and at least manage it when it is at its lowest, and I am extremely grateful to have my family, friend’s and boyfriend, always supporting me when I need it most. I know for sure that I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.