What happens when a confident person becomes ill with anxiety?
I am not a shy person. I am quiet, yes, but I would say that I’m quietly confident. I am not naturally nervous in new situations, and I can talk to anyone. I have lived and worked abroad, and moved and made new friends more times than I care to remember. I can stand in front of large groups, give presentations, talks, you name it – I can do it.
But I have a problem. A problem called anxiety.
Because the truth is that even though the above is who I am, forms a large part of my personality, it’s been almost a year now since I last felt entirely comfortable leaving the flat on my own, and recently it’s been getting worse. Groups of people terrify me and I wouldn’t touch public speaking with a barge-pole!
Anxiety is a constant part of my life just now. On a good day, I can go about my day. I am aware of the undercurrent of quietly-jaw-clenching anxiety, but I can use whatever confidence I can muster to push past to get stuff done. I function. By the end of the day, my teeth ache and my head aches from the constant tension.
On a bad day, it’s not so straight forward. Even considering going out makes my heart feel fluttery. Like a wee bird that would rather be elsewhere. But, again this can usually be pushed through with confidence (sometimes with the help of medication).
It’s when it’s at it’s worst, when I have a panic attack and then definitely I can’t leave the house until I calm myself down enough to start breathing again, when I can’t seem to find any of my own quiet confidence, enough of my own true personality, to push me past the physical and mental symptoms. This is what I resent most.
I just can’t get used to trying to do the things I used to do so easily, and the anxiety saying: ‘no…no way’. I will always resent the fact that anxiety has taken away parts of my personality over the past couple of years. I don’t want to get used to it either. I know It’s going to take a bit of work, but I’d like the old me back, please?
I think that’s why anxiety is such a debilitating illness; it can strike anyone, and strip down all their reserves. So who ever you are, no matter how confident and self assured you may be naturally, you can be well and truly knocked.
If you are being knocked down by anxiety (whether you’re confident or not!), and you’re not sure how to get back up, here are some great places to get advice: