Every story has a beginning…

Before you read this,before i posted this i went on to Instagram and saw this and it was perfect.if-i-waited-for

Yes, I have anxiety and depression; does it defy me? No, it doesn’t. It has shaped the person I have become. I have had cognitive behavior therapy as I am trying to reprogram my thought process. So for people who know about CBT or don’t, you have to start at the root causes. I thought it would be a good idea to tackle one of my root causes for anxiety on this blog… I’m going to write a letter to my 10-year-old self.

 

So I will set the scene a little bit.

 

So the 10-year-old me was a carefree, funny and popular (yes I said popular) girl. Like most girls that age I was obsessed with the Spice Girls and no one called me Vicky back then, it was Victoria. I ruled the playground! You want a game to be invented, come to me! You want to ask a boy to be your boyfriend for the week, come to me, you want a super awesome dance routine made up, come to me! I had it all I went to birthday parties, everyone wanted to come to mine. It was a great time, not a care in the world. Then that all changed within days.

A new girl started, well she wasn’t new to me she was my next-door neighbor. We used to be best friends how great it was to have a girl my age live next door to me until a silly falling out that escalated and got our family’s involved. I’m not saying this girl came to this school to knock me off my pedestal we were 10 years old. Who has time to plan something like that when there are dance routines to plan? (You will soon realize I loved dance routines) But that’s exactly what she did…

 

Dear my 10-year-old slightly narcissistic self,

Firstly what shall I call you Victoria or Vicky I know no ones call you Vicky yet but you’ll soon learn to hate being called Victoria so I will call you Vicky. So we got that sorted, how are you?

You are getting to the end of year 6, the big school soon I know you’re excited because I’m you. What a year it’s been how things can change in a year. At least there are still good things, you have the Spice Girls but a little tip from the future, stop sticking the crisp packets with their faces on your wall it’s just weird what is wrong with you? Seriously stop it! Also, your brother doesn’t give you back your baby spice postcard no matter how much he promises but you don’t want it back though, trust me.

So things are hard at the moment aren’t they Vicky. You feel like you got the weight of the world on your shoulders and your only 10! You have gone from being the queen of the playground to no one wanting to be your friend. I want to tell you things get better Vicky but I’ll be lying to you. Instead of feeling excited for the day ahead with your friends you are now scared to step foot in there. What you are going through is called bullying and yes you made mistakes but what kid doesn’t? You don’t deserve what you went through. She took your friends and also some of your innocence, she took your rose tinted glasses off and you see the world as it truly is. How can someone who used to be your friend do this to you, you ask yourself? Was it jealousy? Was it vindictive (being mean on purpose) I’m afraid you will never know? I know you ask yourself; what did you do wrong? Well, Vicky, there was one thing. Why oh why did you think it would improve this situation by going to school with a notebook and sit in the playground and write a list of people who have wronged you? Really, Vicky, it was stupid yes you were popular but did you think that would get your friends back? So there you are sitting in the corner writing your list; plotting your revenge on those kids and they see you (yes you’re not invisible). What did you think would happen? Would they read it and apologize? Be your friend again and things would go back to the way they were?

That doesn’t happen but it’s ok. Yes, you are slightly weird, I want to tell you its ok to be different and you are who you are.

I wish I could help you understand that you don’t want to be one of the crowds, to love you for you, but I know it’s too late. Just remember this though, yes school is hard and I’m afraid it only gets harder. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

You embrace music and reading and let that be your escape. You’re a very talented singer even if you don’t believe it now. Your love for books will always stay with you and those girls, well they are your past and you can’t change what they did. But hold your head up high Vicky and smile. There will still be good times, you have the best Nan who lives opposite your school that loves you for you and plays countdown with you every day even though you cheat! (Yes I’m you remember I know you cheat). One day it will all be worth it, you will have friends and lose friends again, but there are friends who stay with you through good and bad. So I better let you get back to tap dancing in your room on the broken cupboard door (you are so bloody special) and you don’t know any bad words right now but I want to teach you one. Go tell those girls to eat S***!!!

 

Later loser (only I can call you that because I’m you)

 

P.S. You still do the best Irish jig to that bewitched song.

 

So this was when the bullying started for me and then sadly it went on for years. For me, though this is when my anxiety started. The headaches from overthinking about what’s going to happen the next day. The fear of “I can’t control this situation”.

I just wanted it to stop, but it never did. It was hard for me to understand why it was happening,; I was just a kid. Sadly this affected me, I didn’t trust people anymore!

I never had another birthday party again after my 11th, when 6 people shown up! It was like I was forced to grow up and not see the world like normal kids with rose tinted glasses. I saw the pain and ugliness and it scared me!

I would like to say I am over this now but it shaped who I am and it will always be part of the reason why I struggle with making friends and trusting them. It’s like I have my 10-year-old self in my head every time saying they don’t like you I bet they are laughing at you, not with you. I have to block it out, I have no choice because I now know there are people out there who like me for me.

 

Shopping can be a horror

So I thought my first blog could be a little a bit about my history and why I think I am the way I am. But then I changed my mind and thought I’d start with a story instead, so here it goes.

Shopping. Most women love a good shopping day; the clothes, the make-up, the Starbucks. But for me it can be a living nightmare, going around to every shop, the dressing rooms, the people, the horror!!!!! Sometimes even a trip to my local shop for milk can cause me to have anxiety sweats and a headache.

So the story starts with me needing to go the shop for milk and bacon as I wanted tea and a bacon sandwich. So I geared myself up;

• phone fully charged with headphones
• hoodie on / baggy clothes (my armor against the world)
• purse so I can pay, double-check have the bank card
• talk out loud to one’s self for 5 minutes “you can do this” “you will be 5 minutes tops” “no one will look at you”

So luckily for me, my local is opposite where I live, literally a stone throw away (never understood that saying some people can throw further than others). Anyway, off I trot head down, earphones in listening to something that drowns out the world I shall say it was some Ed Sheeran, I love me some Ed! I get to the shop, don’t need a basket as I only need 2 items. I get my milk no problem all good so far, I go to the aisle where the bacon is which is luckily next to the checkout, and we have self-checkout now – the bonus for people like me.

So as I pick up the bacon I glance over to the self-checkout and my worst nightmare has happened.

OUT………………OF…………………ORDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am literally screaming in my head even the soft tones of Ed can’t calm me down. I feel the colour drain from my face, ‘what the fuck am I going to do’ I think, ‘why me’?! Well, I guess for people who don’t understand and may be thinking ‘so what? omg what a drama queen’, well yes I am but I have social anxiety, I don’t do well with people.

Back to the story, ok after a tiny inside meltdown I am like ‘right ok, I can do this, no big deal. I’ll just go to the counter, I only have 2 items, it won’t take me long, I’m ok, it’s all ok’. I start heading over to the check-out counter and yep, just my luck, there is no one behind the counter. That is it, I can feel the anxiety set in like I have been struck by lightning, my body starts to tingle, what am I going to do? Now, this can be solved so simply, just go find someone who works there and asks them to serve me. Oh if only it was that simple for me. So my plan starts forming, ‘ok I’m just going to browse around the shop until someone goes behind the counter or someone else goes to the counter waiting to be served’. Why do I think like this? Why do I have to really complicate the simplest things, I just can’t help myself.

So there I am, in my sweats, browsing around the shop. One eye on the counter pleading to myself that someone goes there and I can get out the shop, go home, have my cup of tea and bacon sandwich and all is right with the world again. Then panic sets in again, damn my brain! ‘Oh no I look weird just walking around pretending to look at items and not picking them up. I bet they think I’m a shoplifter or homeless or both! Ok, I need to start picking things up just to look normal’. So I pick up some kitchen cleaner, I guess I need that when mine runs out.

*10 minutes later*

So the anxiety sweats have kicked in, my head is killing me from over thinking, and oh yes my arms are full of things I don’t need! I have my milk, bacon, kitchen cleaner, plasters, apples, ham, tomatoes (I don’t even like them) and chocolate (I’m going to need this after experience). My arms are heavy and still, no one is at the till. I have even walked past people who worked there numerous times trying to tell them telepathically “go behind the counter”, obviously it didn’t work. When I feel all hope is lost and I am not going to get my bacon sandwich, I am going to have to end up living in the shop, finally, another customer must have heard my prayers and went to the till. I could hear the choir sing in my head “hallelujah”. I have me out! I can go stand behind them and someone will see us both and serve us if my arms weren’t full I would of air pumped. So I go stand behind my fellow shopper and yep, within 1 minute a shop worker comes to the counter.

‘Victory is mine’ I think, I get served, I get out the shop and get home. It then sets in I have spent over 15 minutes at the shop instead of 5, spent more money by buying more things I don’t even need and paid more money than I was planning on something so stupid. So instead of making my tea and bacon sandwich when I got home, I sat on the floor and cried eating my chocolate thinking ‘what is wrong with me? Why did I do that? I bet that person who was served before didn’t do that. I bet they just came in, picked what they needed, got served and went home with a smile on their face, not like me sitting there on the kitchen floor not even using the items I originally went for!’

I chose this story as my first blog because at the time it sent me into a deep depression for a few days but now I can laugh about it, and sometimes you have to get to that point and see the funny side. I hope you enjoyed it.