So today Kieran went out for the evening, and while he was out I stayed at his house, had dinner with his parents and watched a film. They’re lovely people and lately I’ve been WAY more confident, so 9 times out of 10 I can behave like a normal human being around them. I just want to stress how lovely they are, and how much they try to make me comfortable, and normally it works. It was a lovely evening.

Except.

Except.

Right before uni, I kind of defeated my anxiety more than I’ve ever done before and don’t have to deal with it nearly as much, and as if to reward me for this victory it doesn’t pop up much but when it does, it’s when I least expect it. Like tonight. Meal, film, friendly parents, all I had to do was behave like a normal human. BAM. Anxiety brain pops up, and, oh, what d’you know, I’m battling it all evening. It’s the anxiety brain that makes you forget how to do things like answer the phone/talk/move your limbs as if you actually control them/speak English. I was determined it wouldn’t make me mute again and we wouldn’t spend the evening like this:

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To anyone else, it was a chance to relax, no worries involved. To me (anxiety brain) it was an evening of constant pitfalls where I could make a muppet of myself. Thing is, I know I’m a nice person to talk to. Kieran knows it. So do his parents. Anxiety brain, not so much. So it was me vs anxiety brain all evening. All of a sudden I couldn’t remember how to make conversation- what did people talk about again? Weather? Work? What? Tried to tell them about my course, all of a sudden forgot what I was studying. Remembered it was English. Suddenly forgot how to say English. The word didn’t sound right, was I saying it right? Tried to talk as if I was a human and not a nervous wreck: how long did people make eye contact for? Forgot what they were talking about whilst trying to maintain correct eye-contact time length. Never mind the fact that I’ve known these people for over a year and am comfortable around them, anxiety brain was having NONE OF THAT.

Tried to help in the kitchen.

Thinking: I’ll just loiter here for a bit, see if they need help

Anxiety brain: You should stand silently for a bit, and then leave without saying anything.

Me: What? Why? You sure?

Anxiety brain: Totally. Leave the room without saying anything, then come back in a few minutes later and repeat.

Me: Ok, great, I’ll just hang about in the hallway for a bit and try to remember how to talk.

Kieran’s mum tries to hand me a plate of food.

Thinking: Yeah I’ll just take that, I know how to control my hands, I can DO that.

Anxiety brain: What would happen if you dropped it? You should drop that. Drop it. Drop it now.

Aaargh.

During dinner:

Anxiety brain: You haven’t said anything good in a while. You should talk now… But we have nothing to talk about. But you should also eat and drink whilst making conversation.

Try to do all three at the same time and almost choke. Now look like a person who cannot feed themselves.

Thank god Kieran’s parents are wonderful!

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