Recently a lovely reader contacted me and asked for some advice and what my experiences had been with anxiety. Therefore, I decided it was only right to write about it and tell you guys my experiences and also make some points too.
So many people who haven’t actually experienced anxiety have assumed you’re nervous and scared about many things but there’s so much more to just that. There are different forms of anxiety – such as generalised anxiety disorder, (or G.A.D for short) or social anxiety and many other forms people don’t research into.
So what have my experiences been? I’ll tell you how I believe my anxiety began to spring up and how I thought I knew something was wrong.
In 2009 (when I was 9 years old) I went on a family holiday to Centre Parks. It was of course a brilliant holiday for me and my family. However, on the way home from the holiday we were involved in a car crash. I remember almost all of it and the trip in the ambulance to the hospital. This was the first situation I found myself feeling anxious about car journeys- especially long ones. In fact, I’m in the car right now writing this and I’m still looking up every now and then to check we won’t crash.
Since then I have been anxious about being in the car and as I said,especially to places that are a good few hours away. I’ve only ever found myself in one situation where I have had to try and calm down from almost witnessing a car crash. (I’m never watching Mean Girls again after that happened)
Back in 2014, I did a Christmas school production of Scrooge! The Musical. In the lead up to it I did begin to feel nervous which is of course, completely normal. However, my friend went into hospital and I found myself at one of the rehearsals beginning to worry about her, and starting to think about the bad things that could happen to her. This put me in a state where I would burst into tears even if I wasn’t thinking about her or her state. (She is fine now – just to let you all know).
When I began to feel “nervous” about the show, I found myself in endless states of random shakes, and my breathing would increase to a pace I couldn’t slow down which made my chest very tight and I began to find it even harder to grasp my breath. I started to feel light headed and finding myself panicking before the opening night and the closing night.
Of course, I went to the doctors. Due to the way my chest had been behaving and reacting to these moments of panic, I found out I was asthmatic. (Which didn’t help with the shows as I was in pretty much every song)
Even after the shows I found myself anxious about exams, stress, my results and how my future would pan out – which again is normal for someone in the middle of their first GCSE year. Back then, I think the only major thing in my eyes back then was the fact I didn’t know what was going on.
As a person, I was never someone to hide away from the crowd and shy away so during the shows I wouldn’t even class them as panic attacks or anxiety now. I think the main reason I began to feel anxious back then was because Scrooge was the first “major” show I had done. Now I look at it and think it was definitely nerves more than anything.
The next most recent experience after the show was a pantomime I did with my drama group in 2015. During these shows I wasn’t as anxious as I could have been. The opening night was pretty scary for me as we had a damn big audience so there were an awful lot of people I had to cope with. I had solos during these shows and I also had a mini principle role whilst being in the chorus.
I found myself to be okay during this time – until the last night where one of the chorus members decided to make me look like a complete and utter fool. In the chorus, I played a villager and an evil sister. Being an evil sister meant I had to look as scruffy as possible with my hair. I had to backcomb my hair to try and make it a little bushy and wild.
I had just finished my hair when one of the chorus members came over to me and told me my hair wasn’t big enough so she grabbed me and pulled me over to sit so she could do my hair. When I say I looked like you could have found me in the forest as a bush would definitely be me saying that perfectly.
I went out on stage with hair bigger than everyone else’s. Apparently I looked like everyone else but of course my inner thoughts disagreed. I can’t really name this as to what I think it was but I think there was an element of social anxiety in there to make me worry about my appearance and what people might think.
After the show I found myself sat in front of the mirror for a good 45 minutes brushing the strands of my hair back to its somewhat normal state. It took 3 days for all those knots and kinks to come out. (Thankfully that girl isn’t coming back for panto this year!)
This post has been sooo long! I’m going to make a second post with 2 other of my experiences and then my advice to you if you have found you have felt these symptoms.
Click here for the second post
See you soon!