This weeks post has been written under the name Rebecca and shows just how much adult life can be affected as a COA. Remember Nacoa offers life saving help and support and if you would like to post on this blog then get in touch.
This last week I have done a lot of reading online and I have come across 2 websites/blogs that I really enjoyed reading. One was blurtitout.org and the other coaisathing.com I also read some blogs on Mind and it prompted me to write this.
Its 2:35, Thursday afternoon & I have wanted to write something this last few weeks(years) but indecision has left me to-ing and fro-ing, trying to figure out what to write and where to send it! Basically over the last few years, actually, a lifetime I have struggled with anxiety. Going from being bored to being overwhelmed very quickly.
I noticed it first in my teens at secondary school, starting with worrying about friendships, what I said, how I said it. Then my appearance being really self conscious. I found myself crying in the girls toilet, overwhelmed by being prefect, by someone not acknowledging me in the street! When I was a teenager I was bold, ambitious with a devil may care attitude some of the time and with a real risk averse attitude at other times. These feelings would swing depending on my mood. Having had many years, on and off, of counselling, I found a wonderful counsellor 2.5 years ago when everything was getting on top of me and I was feeling lower more often. The initial reason for going to see Helen was because my husband was struggling with depression & I was finding it hard to cope with, as the darkness seemed to spread through every part of our lives. We went out less, said no to invites, didn’t invite people over and so our world got smaller and lonelier.
I decided then to keep my friendships on track as much as possible and I have done this mostly. I joined the bookclub and turn up most of the time, sometimes I even read the book! I go for walks with my girlfriends all of whom I met whilst my kids were at primary school. I get together with friends for coffees. This is me trying to keep my social life and my friends. Counselling has helped me, there is no doubt. I have been going for years trying to figure out how I can be happier, how to make decisions and move on towards goals.
But my underlying anxiety causes indecision, always looking inwards, doubt and inertia.
I don’t keep a list of goals or things to do, no, I have notebooks, loads of them. Some for different things like “the house”, what needs doing room by room! The job – the eternal quest to find the perfect career – my obsession! Then lists and goals about lists and goals and on it goes in a chaotic cycle. I can spin endlessly in my kitchen about what to do next, what not to do. There is always something else I should be doing. When I am unsure of myself, I put up an invisible suit of armour, to keep anyone from getting too close. I am very good at arms length relationships not letting people in too much for fear of being hurt or rejected. This is painful as I have a relentless feeling of being “left out, on the outside, on the sidelines, excluded”. This gives off a sort of aloofness and coldness so I keep people away because I am uncomfortable. It is now difficult in working situations.
I know my mum is also anxious and has a lot of these feelings too. Since I was about 14 my mum started drinking heavily and has done on and off ever since. She uses brandy to dull her feelings. I use coffee and fags as my form of escapism. The endless cappuccinos leave me buzzed up, bouncing off the walls and of course indecisive and unfocused. Stimulating myself all day with caffeine and nicotine results in a bit of hyperactive, stuttering mood which usually kicks in between 5pm and 7pm depending on the day and so I end up getting really frustrated cos no homework is getting done, I haven’t achieved anything that day, I didn’t finish half the jobs I started. Then at night I have difficulty getting a decent nights’ sleep and I don’t always feel like getting on with things in the morning.
One of the other labels I have attached to myself is “not good enough” so forever critical of myself. I wonder how much of my bad habits I have passed on to my kids. I wonder how many I have inherited from my parents. There is a lot less chaos in my life than when I was growing up. There is a structure and a routine. My husband is coping better with his depression and has just finished his counselling. There has definitely been an acute increase in how anxious I feel since having children. My eldest is 13 now! Returning to paid work after a career break of 7 years has been very difficult. My confidence in the workplace and in my ability to do a good job has practically disappeared. I could do a good interview, get the job and then feel overwhelmed by the demands of work and family. It is like a fog that won’t lift. My ability to process information and remember details has deteriorated significantly.
I am on high alert the whole time.
When my daughter was 2 and my son was 3, we moved from North West London to leafy Hertfordshire, to a very affluent town. I had a lot of difficulty back then, some 10 years ago and went to some short counselling sessions to help me focus and move forwards. We are jammers (just about managing) and I need to work, to earn. I want to work. I have been able to hold down a job for a year at the most and as little as 5 months. I keep trying, applying, getting interviews and starting again. When I was younger it was so easy, some 30 years ago, to walk from job to job but it feels much more difficult now. I am unsure of myself in a way I wasn’t then. Sometimes it’s a bit of an obsession, looking for jobs, looking at jobsites! I have been doing this for all my working life which leaves little time for other hobbies or pastimes.
I read lots of self help books in my mission to feel better. I read “Feel the Fear and Do It anyway” by Susan Jeffers, back in the 1990s. I then went off travelling for 6 months & came back suffering with a bipolar episode. This shook me really badly and I don’t think my confidence has quite come back the way it was previously. I am very sensitive to what people say and I feel atmospheres! I find it difficult to be around people if they are always complaining yet I do my fair share of that. I can make simple things very complicated.
Have a tendency to over complicate.
So for now I know I need to reduce the harmful activities in my world like too much caffeine, nicotine & I need to nurture myself. I will continue with counselling as it keeps me focused and helps me to avoid slipping into negative thought patterns.
Need to get a day job. Fit the reading and writing in around this!! Do i? Can I just read and write blogs all day? I guess that is the ideal. Want to do it anonymously.
Since reading posts on coaisathing.com, I can identify with so many of the stories. I have read so many self help books, I usually have about 3 on the go at the sametime, dipping in and out. I don’t know what normal is. I am not really sure. My own boundaries feel a bit blurred. I want to teach my kids to be emotionally resilient. If anything I want to be strong. I have a list of qualities that I love about other people and realise I need to develop these in myself. Yesterday I read Louise Hays’ top list of 100 affirmations.
I want to write a blog and have zillions of followers but I want to do it anonymously.! For now, one step at a time.
Mum of 2, in between jobs, reader of blogs!