So, like many of you, I struggle with anxiety problems. I actually manage it quite well though to be fair. I'm on Sertraline, and for the most part, it's kinda saved me a lot lately. I still have a difficult time going out though. People have come to ask me on the day/night nowadays, because they know if I spend time thinking about it, I'll stew, and think of an excuse not to go. This makes me sad, because I really like going out. I don't have many friends, but I really like going out with people from work (I work in a school, and the people I work with always guarantee a terrific night out)
But I do worry while I'm out. Take last night for example. It was someone at work's birthday, and we had a night out to celebrate. The anxiety started when I was thinking about getting a taxi to go out. My mind RACES with stuff like that, and I would have been happy to shell out for an uber, which is more expensive, just to avoid talking to someone on the phone. Luckily, someone at work picked me up and dropped us both off at the club we were going to. Now, I knew 10-15 people at the party, and there were a lot of younger people there, so I knew it was a "Safe" environment (If you struggle with anxiety, you'll know what I mean by that). I had a few drinks, and for the most part was pretty much enjoying myself. But after a while, panic kinda set in. It wasn't an anxiety attack, I know what they feel like from experience. It was more of a "I need to know EXACTLY what's going on here" kind of mindset. I tend to overanalyse what's going on, start watching people intently to see what they're up to, and stuff like that. And I also was concerned with how I was going to get home after. Thankfully, my mother had just finished work and offered to pick me up. As soon as I got out of the club, I immediately felt better. I was on my way home, and the fear kinda washed away.
Now, what's kinda getting to me is how she reacted to it. For the most part, she's very supportive. She knows I have problems with anxiety and depression, which I'm medicated for, and as a rule, I handle it quite well, just through years of experience. But I got this nagging feeling like she was disappointed with me on the way home. I was explaining in the car that I started feeling anxious, and mentioned how I know it's ridiculous, but it's irrational. She agreed how daft it was, but empathized with me. But I couldn't shake this fact that she was "upset" or something with me.
Now, I try to tackle my anxiety head on. I sometimes do things out of my comfort zone to try and shock myself into doing it. I took a lot of inspiration from Dan's "Anxiety as an Ally" that I've read multiple times over the years. I've been to the biggest arcade in Europe (which happens to be in the next town over!), I've been out with a friend in town (Which might not sound like much, but I get really nervous when I'm out at night), I've spoken in front of the whole school, etc.
How do you guys cope? How do you explain it to people? I've seen lots of different explanations over the years, but I think this summarizes it best:
Anxiety is a liar. Your brain just wants to show you the worst case scenario. Who knows why? Maybe so you can be prepared, just in case. But anxiety doesn't know something you don't. It's not logical. It's a lie. You can't keep the liar from whispering to you, but you can choose not to believe it.