Everything in life, to me, is a gamble. Taking exams is a gamble, you might do well or you might fail. Making friends is a gamble, you might get ignored or ostracised, or you might develop a blossoming friendship with someone. Anxiety has stopped me from doing so many things. After the passing of the late Chester Bennington, his ardent fans hashtagged: #fuckdepression. That is not to say that depression does not exist or dismiss the plight of those who suffer from depression. It is facing the monster in its face and saying fuck you. It is so badass and so vulgar. I love it. So in my mind, I thought: #fuckanxiety #fucksocialanxiety #fuckpsychosis
Sometimes, people ask me to join them for lunch/dinner or a social gathering, after church, or an event. There are times when I genuinely don’t feel well (7 days of insomnia anyone? not 7 days of summer btw), or when I have IBS-like symptoms. Other times, its because I do not know what to expect. If I enjoy said event, or social gathering, it lifts up my mood and energises me. However, negative social situations drain me out and make me feel very gloomy. My social gatherings have been hit or miss so far.
Like Reddit /r/boardgames outing which I joined, I felt very included and I felt very welcomed, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. My school prom? NO. My tablemates decided to go to the toilet, and the emcee ignored me when we were playing games.
But that being said, I try to attend social events and fun events because life is too boring. With my old church, I felt constantly bored. Because everyone was sitting around and talking and waiting and waiting. Then we had dinner together. I felt I had nothing to talk about, and I felt like I was background noise/furniture, and only when I got hospitalised, or when I had a crisis, people turned their attention to me. I need constant stimulation: in the form of being engaged in active conversations or doing a meaningful and interesting activity (Don’t try to fob me off by giving me something to colour please). Or watersports.
I get overwhelmed when there are too many events. I have problems with organisation, and I wish someone could help me out with scheduling events. I hated it when lecturers cancel classes or shifted class venues. I hated the fact that I had to constantly move from lecture theatre to lecture theatre. I hated the fact that there was no centralised board where we could just view all our announcements at one go.
I have gotten used to it since I entered university. But I do get confused, when there are so many social commitments, like piano, psychotherapy, outings, cell group, CCAs. I might end up missing out something occasionally.
Anxiety during tests
Case in point 1: I started learning to how to play the piano when I was 8? or 9. The teacher wanted to prepare me for ABRSM Grade 1 exams. But because I was so anxious and I had no confidence in my learning abilities, I hesitated. In the end, we stopped piano lessons. PSLE rolled around, then secondary school, then tertiary education. Finally, at the age of 21/22, I started taking the leap of faith, learning how to play the piano again. Right now, I am preparing for my ABRSM grade 1 exams. I tell myself that I have to do it. Just be confident. I realise, if I don’t do it now, I might keep postponing until the ripe old age of 70.
Case in point 2: During one of my tests, I had severe anxiety, though the test was open book. I was so anxious, and I rushed out of the door, telling the teacher that I might not want to take the exam. However, if we failed, we got one more try. If I didn’t attempt the test this time around, I would only have one chance. In the end, I had no choice but to take the exam. But I did okay. It was a test on IT applications in accounting.
Another incident was when I told the examiner I was very anxious about taking the exams, and felt like shitting and I wasn’t feeling well. In the end, I knew if I didn’t take the test this time around, they would set a harder paper. So the examiner made me sign a waiver form, saying that I was fine to take the exams.
Case in point 3: My mum told me that if I took X/Y/Z course etc., I might fail and not graduate with a diploma. If I went to a singing school, nothing might come out of it. Teachers and peers have repeatedly implied that I am a stupid student. When I received the matriculation details for my university course, I was quite hesitant about taking the course. I even delayed my school fees payment, because I needed time to think if I could pass the course. My fears were unfounded though. I had severe social anxiety induced by psychosis initially, during my poly years too, but things were not as bad as they seem. I mean, sometimes, they might have criteria like, getting a GPA of 2.0 at a minimum or getting 60 marks for a C grade.
You have to take the leap of faith and do it. Do not be afraid of failure. Fear of failure leads us nowhere.