Living with anxiety

Now having anxiety isn’t something I go shouting from the rooftops about, yeah I’ll reblog or retweet the occasional quote about it, but I don’t tell people unless I’m either close to them or feel that they need to know.

My anxiety is mostly social anxiety, however I do get anxious in general too. It’s a massive drawback, to the point where it was actually half the reason I lost a job. I had been working in a cafe for a couple of months and due to living in a small town there were obviously days when it wasn’t very busy, but it started to reach a point where I was being sent home early most days because my boss just couldn’t justify paying me to stand around doing nothing when we had no customers, which was completely understandable. Now I had told her about my anxiety at my one month review when she mentioned that I didn’t interact with customers as much as she would have liked, she said she understood because her son had been shy when he first started working there, but he was fine after a couple of weeks – this was the first thing that got me, there is a huge difference between being shy and having social anxiety, shyness can be easy to overcome, anxiety on the other hand is definitely not.

When it came to the day I lost my job, her words were “you’ve been here 8 weeks now, you should be talking to the customers more”, and if it wasn’t for my anxiety I’d have shouted at her there and then. It’s not that easy – I can’t just switch my anxiety off. I actually felt that I had got better with it, not much, but to me it felt like a big step. I genuinely feel that as an employer she should have helped me to use my job as a way of improving my ability to talk to strangers rather than criticising me for it.

Luckily my current job doesn’t involve talking to strangers seeing as it’s a factory, I struggled with talking to my colleagues to start with but as I settled in it became easier as I got to know people. There’s a few people I speak to at work everyday but most people there speak little or no English, which for me actually makes things easier because it means they don’t try to talk to me and therefore I don’t get anxious about it.

I’ll leave this here for now, but my anxiety is something I plan to revisit in future posts. Hopefully many people in similar situations to me will be able to relate.

Kimberley

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One thought on “Living with anxiety

  1. Being a social anxiety sufferer myself, I feel very upset hearing about your former boss thinking shyness and social anxiety are one and the same when she contrasted her son’s shyness to what you go through. It just is ignorant sounding on her part, and I feel so strongly about this because I know what it’s like for someone to not understand the gravity of how social anxiety affects me. I’ve had this happen to me with my parents because in their culture they just don’t talk about mental health. I don’t think the gap between my parents and I will ever close in this aspect. Even now when relatives notice how quiet or not as talkative I am, they’ll say I’m just shy or timid.

    I got similar criticism from a former boss when I confided in her about my social anxiety, except she told me I had to push myself more and can’t expect everyone to wait around for me. A part of me felt she was right, but on the other hand, I also felt she really had no idea how much effort it takes me for me to do things that “normal” people don’t bat an eye when they do it.

    If the job at the factory is less nerve wrecking for you but still gives you the chance to interact with people in a less stressful setting, then that’s good. I wish I could be at a similar job. Currently I’m unemployed and bored on some days. 😦

    Like

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