I got anxiety for my birthday

Published On: 05/08/2018Categories: Life, Mental Health584 words2.9 min readViews: 89

So it’s my birthday week.

Not that I believe in birthday weeks (or months as some others might). I’m more of a singular-day-of-minor-celebrations kind of girl.

This year however, I’ve somehow got plans almost everyday of said “birthday week”, including having over 30 people RSVP “yes” to casual drinks and tapas on the weekend. I didn’t think I even knew that many people and I certainly didn’t think they’d nearly all say yes (although I’m secretly stoked you all did).

Now my anxiety is off the Richter.

Naturally, my personality type means that I now wish I’d never made plans and the thought of the whole thing makes me physically ill. Seriously. Today alone I have had to walk outside several times and do my good old breathing exercises. I have this knot in my belly and my hands tingle when I focus on details of the event like picking an outfit, making sure I arrive on time, worrying if everyone else will enjoy themselves … it’s not even exhausting at all. *Note the sarcasm.

I am somewhat of a “catastrophiser” meaning that when I am particularly anxious I tend to skip straight over logic and imagine the worst possible outcome of any given scenario. It has also been pointed out to me that my anxiety is often triggered when I need to focus on something for myself. I am aware that sounds completely self-indulgent, but evidence has shown it’s probably true. For example, when I am at work and need to make decisions, I assess the situation and I make a call based on my expertise. And it’s fine – I don’t get anxious about it, probably because it’s not directly to do with me. However when I try to make decisions about my own life or for myself, like picking a dress for my birthday or even choosing an item to eat on the bloody menu, I get decision-paralysis; my anxiety kicks in and sometimes it results in me having a minor panic attack. Sometimes it passes quickly and I can shake it off, other times tears form in my eyes and I get those stupid hyperventilating hiccups  for an embarrassingly long amount of time. IKR – I need to get a grip.

So, my own birthday plans are scaring me a little.

Please let me reiterate that my irrational fear has nothing to do with not liking my friends or not wanting to see them. As I mentioned above, anything with an extra focus on me turns my relatively manageable anxiety into high-gear.

It’s a conflicting feeling as well. I am the same as most people in that I like some of the attention a birthday can bring: thoughtful messages from friends and family and feeling special. Everyone likes to feel special and I am no exception. But for whatever reason, my body reacts in a weird way when it comes to these sorts of moments.

It also doesn’t really make sense that I write about my fears and then post them in a public forum either. Because that = more attention. It probably seems counter-intuitive, and yet it’s something that makes me feel better. Getting my crazy out in words might not make sense to a lot of people (or to myself a lot of the time), but somehow it helps. It’s like a weird release. And I hope it helps other anxiety boys and girls out there dealing with similar situations.

It’s okay to be a little bit not okay.

Han x