The joys of anxiety

Hi, I’m Corin and I’m a perfectionist.

Therein lies my problem, I hate making a mistake to the point that where the possibility exists I instantly get anxious. A tense feeling within my stomach starts to build, my heart starts to race, and my palms start to get a little clammy (sometimes).

I recall during the final year of my degree one unit had the requirement to do a small presentation to the class, I was utterly terrified of doing so. I am more the quiet individual who languishes in the background and listens to others, so to be forced to get up in front of others and present on a topic caused me great anxiety. I had no problem in producing the content, and it was because I already had a high distinction within internal test results that I decided to throw the five marks assigned the presentation and save further anxiety.

In my working life I haven’t had to present terribly much, but every time it has been required of me the same symptoms arise. Each time I’ve presented to slides I always end up changing information on-the-fly which throws my confidence as I question my reasons for doing so.

I had thought tutoring for one of our schools in the early 2000’s might have helped me with my problem, but it never got easier. The initial few tutorials were the worst, having to talk in front of those who were depending upon me was so nerve wracking. I did improve by end of semester, thankfully, but come start of semester I was reset once more.

Recently I have started therapy to assist me with my anxiety, and using an iPhone app called ‘Calm’ which teaches you to use breathing and meditation techniques to overcome and deal with the effects of anxiety. Hopefully the longterm outcome from both sources will be my becoming comfortable with situations and no longer becoming tense and uncomfortable when situations arise and I need to present / talk to others.

Small steps.

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Blow me over with a feather: PTSD

I had my first visit with the psychologist today to discuss issues surrounding my brother’s death, as well as everything else that has happened since day dot. It’s probably as well she had a new looking pen, there was plenty for her to write down. She was much better than other psychologists than I have seen previously, so much more engaged, not the usual ‘mmm, right’ that leaves you wondering where to go next.

As I discussed events recent and past I mentioned how I often relived events over and over, often vividly, especially when I felt I’d made mistakes, constantly judging myself for having done so. It was the bullying from my childhood that often replayed though, constantly reminding me of what had occurred. Based upon what I’d discussed she suggested it was highly likely I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was a little shocked to say the least, I honestly thought this was limited to people in the military, or those who were raped or similar highly traumatic incidents.

There’s an eye-based therapy they can use which will assist with transferring the memory from short-term to long-term, thereby removing the memory from likely being relived over and over. My little sister, currently working towards becoming a psychiatrist, says the therapy is very effective in practice, so I am encouraged to hopefully move forward and get past these long-lived memories, finally.