I’ve shied away from posting on here for a few weeks now, partly because I haven’t been totally sure of what I would write about (there’s half a post waiting to be finished that I started about three weeks ago and then just kind of lost interest in it), but also because I’ve been too distracted to even write anything.
However, these past two weeks or so have been rather different to those preceding it. I’ve felt some of my old anxiety behaviours creeping back in and I’ve had a couple of days of genuine depression that I haven’t felt in a while.
Attempting (and failing) to join in
I suppose the one thing that has kind of triggered it all has been my work. I’m not 100% sure whether I’m happy where I am and it feels like it’s been increasingly difficult to try and talk to people. I understand that people have work to do and they’re likely too busy with things to be able to talk, but there seems to be this general feeling I get from most of the people there that they don’t want to talk to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
This past Monday was a particularly talkative day in the office where I work (which in itself was pretty strange…) and I tried my best to join in. I remembered what I had learnt at my CBT sessions and tried to push past the fear of speaking out loud in the middle of an open plan office. But when I did, it was almost like I’d said something incredibly strange or offensive – the whole room would just fall quiet. Those extra couple of seconds prior to anyone actually saying something again started to affect me to the point that by the end of the day, I was feeling pretty down. I was welling up while I was driving home, not only out of this general feeling of being an outsider, but also through the frustration of not being able to do anything about it.
The week prior was supposed to be the work summer party, which had been hastily arranged for a Thursday (which just so happens to be the day I work from home every week). There wasn’t a plan, it was just a kind of “keep this day free” thing. Well I had been off the day before to go and watch cricket in London with a friend and, to be honest, the last thing I wanted to do was sacrifice my day at home. So I didn’t go.
As it turned out, it was just a short session with a few people at the pub having a few drinks, so I’m glad I didn’t go. But I later found out that the proper summer “party” (I use quote marks because it’s a few people going for a curry – not exactly what I’d categorise as a party but hey ho) had been moved to this coming Wednesday. The thing is I only found out about that by accident overhearing a couple of people talking about it. No one had said anything about it to the whole office which kind of felt like only a select few people were supposed to go along.
Comparing myself to others
I know it doesn’t sound like much but little things like that start to build up and start to affect you a lot more than they would affect someone without anxiety. It’s very hard to look past the feeling of being unwanted anyway, let alone when little things like that start making it easier to believe in it.
It doesn’t help that the newest guy there – who’s been there a couple months less than me – seems to get on with people a hell of a lot better than I do. He seems to be able to have conversations with people who I can barely get a second word out of. Yes, I know I shouldn’t compare myself to someone else because we’re different people… but it’s hard not to when you already feel like an outsider. I suppose it’s my way of trying to figure out what someone else does successfully and trying to apply it to myself.
I’ve noticed a couple of people in particular seem to be rather wary of me, pulling faces if I’m to say anything. Faces that read “what a weirdo” whenever something passes my lips. But the whole office in general feels like the same, which just makes me think, what’s wrong with me? Is it the way that I’m saying things when I talk? Is it my facial expressions? Is it my sense of humour? Do they just not think I’m funny in general?
It’s obvious to me (and probably you by now) that the big issue is my work. It’s affected me so much that it’s made me doubt whether I’m even in the right industry. I’ve been searching for jobs online to no avail. But I’m in this quandary where I’m just starting to make some head way to affording a place to buy so I feel like I’m stuck.
What’s really annoying about all of this is that I know this is my anxiety. I know that what I’m thinking isn’t the right way to think about things. I know that I’m falling into the same cycles I was in during my therapy, only that time I had some sort of outlet in a therapist who I could talk to every week.
I’m going to try and use the self help tools my therapist recommended to me to get through this. Hopefully it should make a difference.
P.S. Sorry that this post has been pretty hap-hazard and depressing. I’ve got so much on my mind these days that it’s actually quite difficult to organise it into something that makes total sense!