29 June 2010


(sorry diver i nicked that off a post you did a while back, via simpsons.)

nechtans post got me thinking today. this is a bit long winded so stick with it or read in small portions or not at all.

this morning i had a jab at the drs, nothing unusual in that pretty calm. afterwards mum wanted to pick a few things up in croydon. we drove in around noon, the office workers were starting to pile into the centre. i could sense the crowds of people, although not so anxious, i was feeling hemmed in, like i couldnt concentrate, i didnt feel vulnerable and i wouldnt of ran away (i couldnt being in the chair but you get what i mean). there was certainly an uncomfortable feeling going on, i felt a bit ratty, like my ideal place wouldnt be here. after going into next, h&m, i noticed how much stuff was on show, stacks and stacks of clothes. sales were on to, more unsold items. do we really need all this stuff? shop after shop wanting to tempt to the shopper. we ended up in m&s, after a cuppa in an air conditioned cafe, we came home.

i compared todays outing which was kind of necessary, in every day life we need things, to yesterday plesant morning out to dulwich park. gorgeous plants, shrubs, lakes, field upon field of grass. sunshine browned my arms, i appreciated the wildlife, literally smelt the roses. rose came too, i laughed as she jumped around at the new park she had entered. i felt light, life seemed uncomplicated for a few hours. because the park was so big, no one person came too close.

im pretty sure all this goes back to our roots. are we meant to live like caged animals? is shopping the new hunting? whereas in a shopping centre i felt on the edge of anxiety, at the park i never once felt a twinge.

i think how we live our lives, or how some of us are expected to live our lives certainly affect us. our mind plays tricks. i mean we have this amazing power, us anxiety sufferers. in the midst of psychological panic, when all the fight or flight feelings take hold, if we choose to run home then suddenly they disappear. bam, gone. like a wand has granted us a wish. we control this, we know that. imagine if you could bottle this powerful tool. we would solve our own problem. and in the process be very rich.

anxiety, in its original state was meant to protect us. now i think it has more to do with social embarrassent, what if this happens infront of people, what will they think. dont stand out whatever you do. what if others find out my weakness. the fear of being laughed at, i mean being laughed at isnt going to kill you.

i think part of my problem was abandonment as a child. i wasnt abandoned. yet the threat was there. my dad would always say the line, 'im putting you into a childrens home'. i was five at the time, i truly believed him, i remember sitting in the back of the car in calais dock late at night after mum and dad had had an argument in the caravan, the last day of our holiday spoiled. out came the line, however this time had, 'but this time i really mean it'. there was me, aged five, pretty scared. most of all i had bought my nan and grandad a vase and thought that they would think i didnt love them because i wouldnt be able to give the vase too them before i was sent away. my mum would never threaten us kids with that line, so why oh why did i believe my dad? we wasnt sent away, years later i found out my dad was also told this when he was small. learnt behaviour, passed on.

im pretty sure this had an affect on me. im sure deeped rooted anxiety belongs from past events. yet no matter what i uncover i still feel the same. it doesnt change anything.

on a postive note, since being in the w-chair whilst out ive not been so on edge, im pretty sure the rapid heart rate on standing has been with me many years, more than i like to think. so if my heart was beating faster then flight or fight would kick in wouldnt it? im dealing with the heat much better too, im sure the combination of meds that im on has helped with that. i think i need to work on the attitude of 'i couldnt care less about what people think' more.

anx-diddly-iety, you gotta laugh.


Coffeecup said...

Em I'm absolutely convinced that your condition has certainly been at the root of your initial feelings of panic. It stands to reason that the symptoms you were experiencing would have triggered panic attacks and anxiety. What I hope for you is that if they cure or manage your physical ailments then the anxiety symptoms will stop.

However, it's thought that anxiety is caused by your genes, life situations and and how you were nurtured. Get a bad combination of all that and anxiety is the result.

I loved your idea that 'shopping is the new hunting'. Too right it is. I agree, some of us just were meant to be imprisoned in this kind of society because our values lie elsewhere. I hate the idea of people being 'forced into work' as the government proposes and mother's to return to employment once their children attend school aged five. Our choices are taken away from us and in their place we have pressure and expectations put upon us. Would I sooner be a self sufficient small scale farmer than a town dwelling forced labourer? Oooh you bet I would!

When you dissect panic it is all about not showing weakness and feeling embarrassment. If I freaked out and started shouting uncontrollably in the street with panic, what's worse still is the negative attention my behaviour would cause. As kids we try so hard to please our parents and keep hold of their love. If they threaten us with rejection as yours did (even if it was in jest) then we carry that fear around with us into adulthood and other situations. The worst thing being that our actions will cause us to be alone and unloved. Gets me every time.

Great post and very thought provoking. Go do what makes you happy I say and stuff what anyone else expects or wants you to do if it doesn't feel right.

You're doing just fine xxx

Rusty Hoe said...

A really thoughtful piece Em, on many levels. I get the nature thing, I've always felt more at home outside just soaking in the grass, the trees the earth and air. I always used to love shopping pre-Bob, but I think you're right it is the new hunting. I hadn't looked at it like that before. Now when I go I'm over it very quickly, it's a complete sensory overload and I can't wait to get back to my quite home. I've never really had anxiety but I do have a mum with quite severe anxiety. Growing up was not a barrel of laughs, but I do think it has influenced me greatly now. How could it not. Whilst I wasn't told I was going to be sent away, I was told all the reasons why I wasn't good enough. Every day was like a test which I could never pass. That has sat with me a long time and I'm sure it is the reason for my own neurosis. Those kind of experiences factor into how we see and judge ourselves and how we interact with the world around us.

I think you've made a huge step in simply acknowledging it. You're one strong chickie Em.

PS if you work out how to bottle your little super power let me know I'd like to pre-order a bottle :)

Nechtan said...

Hi Em,

Great post. You covered a lot of true things. Especially in that last line about learning not to care what people think. We have roadworks outside our home at the moment meaning every time I go out there is a line of cars along the road and I'm not getting as far as I normally do. And I know its because they are there. Its like some sort of paranoia. It shouldn't matter- but it does.

I'm with you on the shopping. My idea of a nightmare would be one of those big shopping malls. I really don't know how people can work in them let alone shop in them. They are just so claustrophic with me with all there people and noise. Argh!

I think if you remember something from when you were 5 years old then its got to have had an effect on you over the years. Like yourself I remember many things and they are usually not good. I also think a lot of what went on when I was younger made me more nervous than I would have been.

But your diagnosed problems would I feel have led to anxiety anyway. So in that regard I do hope that you get some help on that front which makes things easier from you. At the moment it sounds like life is a lot better and you are getting out more than you were this time last year so fingers crossed that is an indication that things are moving in the right direction.

All the best


diver said...

Hi Em. I enjoyed your post, most thought provoking.

I doubt we're meant to live like caged animals ... so many people in boxes on fenced off blocks of land; and it sure looks to me like shopping is 'the new hunting'.

I dunno Em, it's no wonder anxiety is on the rise in the West. The economy depends on the shopping, billions are affected. Yet it compels everyone to consume ridiculously, forever 'upgrading', obliged to keep up with technology, our peers, and sometimes even government regulations. I just hate it, this 'new world order' where normality means to live in order to work and spend and pay for the privilge of breeding up new consumers ... it's just an unnatural lifestyle if you ask me.

And people tell us we need therapy for getting anxious and questioning this status quo???

Em said...

hi steph

thing is have we ever 'showed ourselves up' in public? im sure not. ive seen plenty of people arguing etc, which i would consider something which you wouldnt do in public, yet they obviously couldnt give a damn where they were. so realistically its our judgement on ourselves thats stopping us.

im sure i dont realise how much my childhood has influenced me in my older years. i know plenty of people that have had it worse than i, and have achieved enormously in there later years. perhaps it was always the silent threat in the background, instead of real action. the constant threat that something may happen, when it never did. sounds familiar to me.

im sure we will all work through things sooner or later, i hope we do. xx p.s. glad you had a good birthday. xxx


hi michelle

being outside, living outside, is such a great way to live. i spent many months of my younger years travelling, and the freedom from stuff was invaluable. we didnt need much, just our imaginations and a map book. when we all returned home, to cooler weather and clothes i felt so hemmed in, i especially missed the sea, weighlessness. i think we live in an unnatural way, yet its the norm, so we follow this way. xx


hi nechtan

imagine working in a shopping centre, urgh, the artificial lighting, noise, smells, huge amounts of people, and stuff, piles of money making stuff. i couldnt imagine anything worse.

life not so bad at present, yeah i have this little thing called a genetic illness, however its put things into perspective. you often hear of people totally changing there lives, well i havent totally changed my views, but certainly theres been a shift. things still bother me of course, yet others go over my head. a new mantra is, it doesnt matter. many things dont. xx


hi diver

the upgrading thing, what is that about? im sure these corperations work backwards on things, make people embarrassed with there purchase within months of buying it because they havent the newest version out. i dont get it.

loved the sketch by the way.xxx

Em said...
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Em said...
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Coffeecup said...

I guess some people just aren't afraid of what others think and don't think twice about making a scene in public. We just weren't brought up that way. Others may have had bad upbringings and gone on to be well balanced and adjusted. Maybe we're just sweet n' sensitive. Can't help the nature side can we? xx

Em said...

hi steph

im sure your right. manners and all. perhaps at times can be taken too far, to the point of self-conciousness which isnt a good thing. i know this was passed on, the parents were treated like this, didnt question things. xx