Every second feels like a minute, and I feel the constant need to keep checking the time, to see how long until this is over. It's not that I don't want to be here, I don't want to be surrounded by so many people in such a small space. It makes me feel like I can't breathe, and I'm constantly afraid that everyone's looking at me. I start to feel sick, and there's nothing that can help. The feeling grows and grows until I struggle to breathe, feeling as if all oxygen has been taken away from me. You don't understand what's happening, and I can't explain it. You try to help, but you don't know how, and that's not your fault, you've never felt like this before.
It's not just large groups that cause me to be like this. It's worse only being with one person, as I worry about how I seem to them, and what they think of me. I start to think a lot more, as I know them personally, and worry a lot more about what they think compared to someone I don't really know. You're talking and I start to fiddle with something, anything, just to calm my mind. I start pulling at my hair band, picking at my nail varnish, biting the inside of my cheek. You think I'm not listening and begin to get angry, but I'm too scared to tell you the real reason why I've stopped paying attention. I think you'll judge me, and I'm afraid. I think you'll pity me, and I'm afraid. I think you'll patronise me, and I'm afraid.
It's the little things that worry me the most. The things you might find silly. I'm worried that I forgot to switch off the light, or forgot to bring something with me. I have to keep checking that I have everything, I’m always afraid that I’ve lost something. I worry that someone is walking behind me, perhaps following me, perhaps not. But still, I keep checking behind me to ensure no one is there. If I see someone, my natural instinct is to speed up, but that makes me look like a bad person, which only worries me more.
I get scared to talk. Not even in front of large crowds, sometimes I’m scared to talk in front of one person. Even the people I’m closest to. I worry about what you’ll think of me, so I try not to talk. Then the awkward silence overpowers me, and I wish I had the confidence to speak. As soon as we disagree on something, I worry that you’ll hate me for criticising something you like. I wish that I wasn’t like this, I wish I could have a normal conversation without worrying all the time. I wish I could just tell you how I feel, without being afraid to do so.
I try my hardest to hide how I feel, so that you won't keep constantly asking if I'm okay. Opening up and talking is the hardest thing, and you don't realise this. You feel like I'm shutting you out, but it's only because I'm afraid. You feel like I don't care anymore, but the truth is I care too much. I try to be happy around you, but it only makes me worse when I'm alone. I want to make you happy, but I haven’t even figured out how to make myself happy.
You don’t realise just how much this affects me. It can stop me doing simple, everyday tasks. I even feel afraid when I’m at home alone, even though that’s the one place that I should feel safe. Whenever I hear a voice I’m terrified that they’re talking to me. Whenever I hear laughing I’m worried that they’re laughing at me.
It’s easy to hide who I am online. It’s easy to seem positive and ensure no one knows the truth. But it’s time this changed. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in England will suffer from a mental health problem during their life. It is time to stop hiding this and start speaking out about it, making people more aware of just how much it affects us. It’s time people realised how common mental health problems are, and how they destroy us from the inside out.
This thing is controlling my life. This thing is destroying me. This thing is anxiety. And it affects millions of people.
So that’s it for today’s post, I hope you enjoyed it.
Much love, Cara xxx