I've always felt that one of the hardest things people without anxiety can get to grips with is the fact that anxiety isn’t a constant thing – at least for me it isn't. Some days I can be the life and soul of the party. Other days, I’m the quiet one sitting in the corner.
It’s a really strange feeling. At times, it almost feels like I exist as two separate people. One that has his anxieties, and another that has none whatsoever. Which one makes an appearance on any given day seems to be completely random.
Of course, it can be influenced by what I’m doing and who I’m with. Like most people, I feel more comfortable being in familiar environments and around my closest friends than I am in unfamiliar territory and with complete strangers. That’s pretty normal in my eyes.
But sometimes, I can’t help but feel my anxieties creeping into those same situations of comfort. I have many memories of times where I’ve been with a group of friends and just not wanted to be there or engage in conversation – almost like I was meeting everyone for the first time again. I’ve had situations where I’m literally with two of my closest mates and felt so uncomfortable that they’ve noticed and asked if everything was ok.
When I was younger, the toughest part about if this ever happened was that I would favour giving an excuse for my behaviour, rather than just telling the truth. For example, I would say I was tired because I had a bad night's sleep instead of just saying "I'm just feeling a bit anxious today."
The reason I did this though was because I always felt it was inappropriate for me to delve into this kind of conversation, it was 'a bit too deep' for general conversation. Maybe it would make them uncomfortable and they wouldn't know how to react. In reality though, I was desperate to tell them how I felt because, I suppose, I was desperate for support.
Over the years, I've come to realise that almost everyone in my life has experienced some form of anxiety. There are a lot of people out there that know exactly what I was going through and still do to this day. I learned to be honest with people because that's the only scenario with which you have even a slight chance of them giving you some form of support.