Tag Archives: anxiety

Fear of likes

I signed in to do a post about plants, already feeling slightly anxious about various other things in the day (the effect of which is that I feel like I’m running late for something and need to hurry! hurry! hurry!… even though there isn’t anything I’m supposed to be doing).

The first thing I see in WordPress is the notification icon at the top of the page saying that some people “liked” the post yesterday – and then I feel scared, like something terrible has happened.

This is a stupid reaction, obviously. When something supposedly good happens it would make more sense to be happy about it. That’s one reason anxiety is annoying: it’s so clearly ridiculous.

I’ll come back later. Now is the time to go outside and get some work done and use up some energy and calm down. That would be sensible. I would really prefer to be sensible all the time.

But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe in some way anxiety is just my brain refusing to do what it’s told, throwing a little tantrum: “You’re not the boss of me! Quit telling me what to do!”

In case

My parents flew back from their holiday this afternoon, so I drove Mum’s car up to the airport at Coolangatta to ferry them back to their place.

It’s not that I’m a nervous driver, but more that I’m a nervous everything: the one-hour drive up the freeway on my own makes me worried and fearful – every time, even though nothing has ever gone wrong and I have no reason to suppose it ever will. It’s just anxiety, I suppose.

One thing I do beforehand that seems to help is to think about the things that might go wrong and prepare for them, in case. Obviously there’s a danger this might just aggravate my fear instead of easing it, but it does feel like it helps, so I keep doing it. And sometimes I get a good laugh out of being so ridiculous, which helps more than anything else.

Here, for the amusement of both of us, reader, is the list of things I took along on the drive this afternoon, just in case…

– water, in case of thirst or in case I started to get a headache and needed to take tablets
– headache tablets, in case of headache
– aspirin, in case of stroke
– bandaids, in case of cuts or (because I have new shoes) blisters
– an extra pair of socks, in case the car broke down and I had to walk a long way in the new shoes, in case the bandaids weren’t enough to ward off blisters
– extra hairbands, in case the one I’m using broke
– a torch, because I’d need it to see the way into the house when I got home tonight, or the car broke down and I had to walk along the side of the road in the dark
– a battery, in case the torch went flat
– my mobile phone
– my mobile phone recharger, in case I got stuck somewhere along the way or my parents’ plane was delayed and there were lots of calls to and fro to organise things or for any other reason I had to use the phone a lot and it ran out of power
– a book, in case I had to wait a long time at the airport or in a broken-down car
– a hat, in case I had to walk in the sun
– a coat, in case it got cold
– extra money, in case of need
– handcream, in case the air was dry
– extra tissues, in case I used up the two in my pockets
– my address book, in case I lost my phone and had to call people (I can’t remember numbers)
– an extra lip-gloss, in case I lost the one in my pocket
– earplugs, leftover from working at the factory, but you never know when they’ll be handy
– three biros and one felt-tip pen, because I hadn’t realised there were so many in my bag
– paper to write on
– Tic-Tacs, in case of bad breath
– a mirror, in case I got kidnapped and held in a confined space with only a small window facing the sun (I could use the mirror to signal for help)
– and finally: elastic bands, because you never know; they’re useful for lots of things.

I made it up the highway and home again, safely. As always. And it’s always a relief afterwards.

What I’m reading, Tue 20th

Paul Graham, Writing and speaking, Paul Graham blog, March 2012

Talks aren’t a good source of ideas. Good speakers succeed if they can motivate or move the audience, not because they have anything intelligent to say. They don’t have to make you think, they just have to make you feel. (I think this partly explains the rise in popularity of video online.)

But this part of his post partly explains why I hate phone calls:

Just as a speaker ad libbing can only spend as long thinking about each sentence as it takes to say it, a person hearing a talk can only spend as long thinking about each sentence as it takes to hear it.

In a phone call there’s never any time to think. I hate that. I can’t think and speak at the same time; I can’t think and listen at the same time. The whole phone call experience, just as in face to face conversation, is just about reacting – reacting – reacting. I hate that, and I’m no good at it. It never feels safe. I never feel in control of what I say – there’s no filter between what I think and what I say, I just blurt anything or everything or nothing, who knows. And I never feel in control of how I respond to the other person because I don’t know what’s coming next: What’s the reason for the call? What do they want? What am I being asked for – to do or be? I’d prefer it if they could give me a list of what’s coming up: “Next I’ll be talking about A, for which I’ll expect your support and warm congratulations; then we’ll move on to B, when I’ll be asking you a question, for which I’ll expect a fast response even though I’ll give you no time to think about it; and then C is going to be a doozy: I’ll reveal my plans for the next 10 years and ask you what you’ll be doing! Can’t wait, hey?”

I just don’t get real life, probably. It’s too quick. I don’t fit. I wasn’t made for it.

And that’s why I like writing things down: time. Lovely slow old time. It’s a luxury.

Rise and shine a light on those worries

Woke up at 05:00 because of a headache. I took some tablets and then couldn’t go back to sleep, worried the tablets wouldn’t kick in, and wondering how I’m ever going to handle working for someone else again. If it was now, would I take a day off sick, rendered stupid by calmative headache tablets? How would I get to and from work if I couldn’t drive? What if the headache came back during the day and it was the sort of job involving customer service and I ended up puking? What if the business only had a few employees and couldn’t stay open unless I was working? What if all this happened in my first week of work?

The tablets took 40 minutes to start working. Then the sun came up, about 05:55 – which is nice to know; lately I’d been wondering how early it was now.

And I’ve already been through my feed-reader’s overnight updates and it’s not even 07:00 yet.