It probably started the week before, but last week was the week that wore me down.
My Anxious Week
It started with a big decision regarding my future that not only affected me but I could see how it would affect many other people as well. I didn’t want to disappoint either side and I was somewhat paralyzed in my decision for a couple of days. Once I made my decision my anxiety kept me company while I tried to figure out the best way to graciously decline a wonderful opportunity and knew I was disappointing them.
I was also informed on the Friday previously that someone would be entering my apartment Monday morning, which set off anxiety in me as well. I was going to be at work during the time they would be entering my apartment, but thoughts of what they would think of my apartment flittered through my mind. What would they think of me when they saw that I had stuffed animals around my apartment? What would they think of me still having a “child’s” blanket (it’s comfy and broken in)? I went around cleaning my floors and hiding certain things because I was afraid of them judging me even if I never met them.
Monday, I was asked out and unconsciously my anxiety ratcheted up. Later that day, another guy asked for my phone number. Both which produce a lot of anxiety.
Tuesday, I went shopping and although I’ve gotten better at it, I’ve always been afraid of what people would think of me. I pretend to know what I’m doing so I don’t look like a fool and it diminishes the chance that the sales people will talk to me. I also now have orthotics because I have arthritic bunions and shoe shopping has made my anxiety worse. I now wonder what people are thinking when they see me pull out my orthotics and put them in shoes I’m trying on at the store, along with my normal shopping fears.
Wednesday, I was going to bring a box of books to the mail to send away to a company that buys books and resells them. I also had a kids program that evening that I volunteer with and I was going to send the box of books away before the program but my anxiety pushed it off and I was going to do it after. When I went after, it appeared like the post office was closed and my anxiety told me to just go home without checking, so I did. But I knew in the back of my mind that I still needed to send those books off.
Thursday, I finally got up the nerve to carry the box of books into a post office and send them away. I then stopped by the mall and bought a pair of shoes. They were supposed to be on sale but they ended up charging me the regular price. My nerves were too shot to argue when I thought the price was higher than what I thought I should be paying. When I got home, I checked the receipt and sure enough they charged me the regular price. Thankfully it wasn’t that much more.
I was going to also bring a box of books away to be donated to a book sale for the children’s hospital. For that, I needed to drop that box off at a fire hall. I drove past the fire hall twice, once before going to the post office and once after, but I never stopped. I didn’t entirely know where to park and I didn’t want to look like a fool carrying a box of books into a fire hall and have them stare at me. I also didn’t know what I would say and was afraid they might judge me for the books I brought.
By the time I got home, the cumulative experiences with my anxiety over the week played a huge toll on me and I had no energy to do anything else. I ended up reading a little in an anxiety workbook my mental health worker had given me about 5 years ago before going to bed at 9pm.
It was discouraging to realize how much my social anxiety still affects me and that despite improving greatly over the past 5 ½ years since first seeing my mental health worker and her telling me I had social anxiety, that I still have trouble doing seemingly simple tasks that most people seem to do with ease.