I painted every inch of my face with magical products that give me the illusion I have my life together. I brushed my hair out of my gym stained ponytail and put on something fancier than my leggings and a six-year-old Ed Sheeran jumper, I splattered myself in overpowering perfume that barely lasts till I reach my front door. I tried to find music that both motivated and distracted me into a pretend positivity and headed for the tram, on time, yes a Shepherd on time is a fantasy in its self. I took a shortcut through the station, boy was that a mistake a swarm of businessmen and women jumped of trains and scattered into every possible space hunting for taxis, buses and cars like a lion looking for its prey. This was overloading enough for my headached overthinking brain. When I finally escaped the sandwich of people and got to the interview doors, I couldn’t go in. I stood there looking for excuses to push this back, to change days or to not bother at all. Firstly I couldn’t be sure of the building, no numbers or name of the company to indicate I was even on the right street. That’s when I began to feel anxious, panic rushed to my chest and sweat began to build on the back of my neck. I could feel myself beginning to spiral into the uncontrollable where tears become tsunamis and my breaths are unbearable, that’s when I usually run in the opposite direction and take cover in my duvet.
For any kind of interview or social meeting, I believe preparation is key to anxiety filled being, I take hours getting ready controlling my mind into believing it’s all going to be fine, I have tears and demands I’m not going but by the time the day actually comes I don’t have the energy to come up with an excuse or I don’t want to let anyone down so I go and paint a happy comfortable face on. Unfortunately, my next day preparation isn’t something I’ve managed at this stage. Normally I would go through a routine of big’ing myself up and plan the conversation picturing everything I would say to delight them with but today I didn’t have the energy to even pretend that will work. So I didn’t bother, not that it makes any difference, I always seem to have a verbal mess where I forget who I’m there to see or can’t pronounce their name so I just look like a fool saying ‘urm’ on repeat until someone gets me a seat. We should get an interview enforcer where they don’t let you back out at the last second, basically someone to push you through a door when the time comes.
The question I ask myself now is how on Earth I pushed myself through those doors and into that interview, how I managed to fight my breathlessness, my constant sweating and uncontrollable heartbeat that was telling me not to do this and to head back home. This is a question I ask regular when my anxiety gets demolished by my own stubbornness. Is my panic fake or do I have too much pride to not let people down? It’s like a constant battle of whether I’m making all this up or it’s actually happening to me but I almost can’t let myself fail as that would be a whole other episode of anxiety that I can’t face without the follow up of crippling depression and a dose of vulnerability. Is this a positive step towards making it through the rough social situations or a path that leads to a deeper more complicated mental health issue. Or is it fake?
I thought about this and I believe that whatever I feel building up in any social, professional and individual situation is real and I must remind myself that I’m not making this up and my anxieties aren’t anywhere near as bad as anybody else’s but they are real and they affect me in many different ways. Any time I can’t catch my breath and can feel a black hole swallow me up from the inside I know I don’t want to do whatever it is, but unfortunately, I’m stubborn and insecure and can’t bare to think about letting people down. I know that I have to push through this because they’d want me to, I don’t want to disappoint them further. This may be sad for many of you but I find this empowering, I can push through this rock in the back of my throat and tears building up behind my eyes no matter what kind of flame it is it’s building my fire into something I can’t handle something I can achieve and that’s something great. ( I’m sure I’ll deal with the underlying problems at a later date) but this moment a simple second of power that I overpower and push myself to do is a miracle.
Can we overpower our own own worst enemy? Can we push ourselves to success or simple exhaustion? Like the good old Bob the Builder Yes We can! You can succeed and push yourself into an amazing achievement.