‘Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I’ve ever been’ – Iain Thomas
A year ago I feared change, I thought it would only bring negativity into my life- but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Change has brought new opportunities, new friends and most importantly, new found confidence. It has allowed me to finally be myself and live my life in the best way and things can only get better from here.
For people with high anxiety (like myself) change is extremely difficult to deal with. Going into a new year at school, moving to university or even going to a restaurant I had never been to before- these were all sources of anxiety for me. I would over think every single aspect of each scenario to the point where I convinced myself the outcome could only be negative. This was not only exhausting but it didn’t actually achieve anything, it only made me more anxious. For instance, I thought I’d take the ‘going to a new restaurant’ scenario and make a list of everything I use to think of/ question before I went:
- Will the restaurant have stairs leading up to it? If so how many? Will I be able to walk up the stairs without my legs shaking at any point?
- Also if there is stairs, I probably won’t be able to wear shoes with any heel on them as it could make me unstable.
- Where should I sit? If I sit in a seat that is further away from the waiter/waitress than the others, does that mean that they will pass me my food/drink instead of placing it on the table and therefore see my tremor?
- Are there any stairs to the toilet?
- Are my hands ok to order soup today?
I know this may seem like a very minor incidence of change to some people, but for those living with anxiety everyday ‘changes’ can be a struggle. I have since realised that approaching change with this many questions is unhealthy. I, instead, do my best to not think about all the different possibilities. This is still something I’m having to deal with but through forcing myself to do things I perceive as change/ things that scare me, I’m able to relax more and fully enjoy myself when put in a new situation.
Also if you are struggling to adapt to change, I would definitely recommend talking to someone. I can guarantee that the majority of people out there have experienced anxiety in one of its many forms and will completely understand where you’re coming from. It can be hard to open up to people about anxiety and I definitely know how hard it is to do. I often find the hardest part is finding the right moment to tell someone rather than the actual opening up about how you feel. Once you find that moment and start talking, I’m sure you’ll find out it’ll all come out at once and you won’t be able to stop. You will realise how desperate you have been to tell someone this whole time and you will wonder why you didn’t do it earlier- but please don’t be hard on yourself for this, we are all ready at different times.
I also had another fear of change that I think many people can relate to. I feared how people would change their opinion on me if they knew I was different. I was scared that people would start avoiding me if they knew about my Essential Tremor. Above all, I didn’t want people to pity me. The thought of people feeling sorry for me was just awful and was one of the reasons why I kept it a secret for so long. As soon as I told everyone about my condition, I realised that they didn’t pity- they wanted to help me. There is a huge difference between the two.
There may be times in your life where you come across a situation or a person that you can’t change. There has been many times in my life when people have made a negative comment about my Essential Tremor and I have wished I could change the way they think- but you can’t. Some people just need a little bit more time than you- and that’s ok. Maybe they haven’t gone through many hardships in their lives, maybe they haven’t experienced anxiety. Instead of looking at it as a negative moment, I would see it as a way of teaching them and letting them know about anxiety and/ or any conditions you may have. I think if everyone did more of this, it would help society in a profound way.
Thank you for reading,
P.s If anyone is struggling and you want to have a chat with someone, you can always message me 🙂
The National Tremor Foundation website: