Growing up with anxiety

My earliest memory of feeling anxious is at my 5th birthday party. Everyone was sat in my back garden when my mum comes out with my birthday cake and of course everyone starts singing “happy birthday to you” all I can remember is everyone’s eyes on me just watching me and this feeling of panic came over me. I ran into the house crying hysterically and hid under my duvet. I remember just lying there wondering what had happened. For a child it’s a confusing feeling to come to terms with. I waited until everyone had left before I came back downstairs as I was too embarrassed for my friends to see me and was terrified they would all laugh at me.

I knew I was a bit different to the other kids at my school. Even though all I wanted more than anything was to join in and play with them there was something stopping me, not physically but mentally. Even now I still struggle with social situations and every conversation I have causes me anxiety. It’s hard to explain how exhausting it is when someone is talking to you and you have all different ways to respond going through your head. Do you carry on the conversation, try and be funny, maybe a bit of sarcasm to liven things up a bit or just nod and smile. I don’t always pick the right option and sometimes I can come across rude or ignorant and offend people, even though that’s the last thing that I want to do. I just want to fit in with people around me more than anything and feel a need to be liked by everyone. Maybe one day I will learn how to deal with social situations and bloom into a social butterfly but right now I’m still a socially awkward little caterpillar waiting to get out.

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