Disclaimer: This is part of an open blog where people share their stories, this is a story sent to me by a follower anonymously, please read, leave feedback etc.
I feel like I need to express my experiences with anxiety, being diagnosed with Asperger’s and the turning point that of me STRUGGLING with anxiety to now just experiencing it and thriving from it.
After watching a series with my girlfriend on Netflix called ’13 Reasons Why’ it’s changed my perception on how I honest I want to be with myself about myself. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been truly honest about myself, not even in my own head. There is a lot deeper shit I could get in to but for now I want to say something about anxiety as everyone feels it.
I’ve suffered with anxiety my entire life. And although people say school are the ‘best years of your life’ I struggled through every single year of secondary school. I used to wake up every day with a headache due to worry. Even if I woke up feeling fine, I would worry about getting a headache so much that I would give myself a headache. I went to different school to all my mates so that was a shitter from the get-go. I struggled day to day at the start but just put it down to the fact we were all new and everyone was having a shit time. As time went on I still found myself struggling not to pretend to be sick every day to just get a day at home where I didn’t have to a thing apart from play on my ps2. It got to the point where I wouldn’t even ring my mum pretending to be ill and just get the bus to my buddys house and either chill with him or just walk a couple miles back to my house. The anxiety then grew as I knew that I had it in me to just skip school and didn’t have to convince my mum, which forced me to make a decision every day. Obviously with my shitty attendance, my school work suffered heavily and pressure from teachers grew, adding to my already packed folder of ‘why me’ worries. I now know why I didn’t get man the fuck up and get my head down, but we all have regrets and secondary school is definitely my number one.
I was more focused on being a fucking legend outside of school at this point anyway. I only cared about being out and about, doing dumb shit with my mates and building a reputation of being a little cunt. I just thought to myself ‘I’m naturally intelligent, I’ll land on my feet’. I showed no ambition, I was too scared to. The thought of getting a job and working with people I didn’t know, doing things id never done, 5 days a week fucking TERRIFIED me. This feeling pretty much crippled me up until recently. Even after I got my first full time job, my current job, knowing I may have to do something I had never done before killed me.
I used to blame the fact my life wasn’t moving forward on the fact I had been in trouble with the police and had been in and out of court for years. When anybody asked me if I was working or anything I would always say how hard it was to get a job on bail. Which in fairness was almost impossible. Although I wasn’t actually trying as hard I could be due to the fact I was more than happy to just live at home, on the doll, doing fuck all through the day and going out with my mates when they finished work in the evening.
Despite all the tough times I went through whilst being on bail, it may have provided the biggest turning point in my life. My mum had never told me at the time, due to me being such a difficult twat, but numerous teachers at my school had approached her about maybe getting me assessed for autism. She thought I wouldn’t want that sort of label. Which is right, at the time I couldn’t think of anything worse for my street cred. But due to the position I found myself she thought it might help keep me out of jail so I complied. To begin with I didn’t think I was any different from anybody else and was only going along with it to help myself in the case. It wasn’t until I went to a few sessions at an autism place (I don’t know what the name was) I realised that pretty much everything they were saying to me was relatable. I went through a series of tests and low and behold I was diagnosed with Asperger’s. They told me I was destined for a life of anxiety and was a lot more likely to become depressed then most people. Which I’m determined not to be. My thought process pretty changed the exact moment I realised that I had autism. Rather than seeing myself as someone who couldn’t do something or was just shit at stuff in general, I decided that I have as much chance as anyone at doing something, I just might to approach it differently.
The first time I was able to overcome an inability to do something was a good day. I had been working in a butchers for a few months and in my apprenticeship coursework it required me to make sausages. By now I had acknowledged that I will have to learn new shit but hadn’t come across anything that required much skill. Making sausages does. My boss walked me through the process step by step and made it look painfully easy. When it came to it, I did every single aspect of it wrong in the most pitiful way. She was showing me how to link them in the slowest of motion and I still couldn’t get it. I went home that night feeling like fucking shit. I was sat in my mums car on the home (obviously I couldn’t drive) telling her about how I think this is another thing that I’m just destined to fail at. Like riding a bike, playing the keyboard or anything else I had attempted once, failed at, and just left it alone. It was all I could think about all night, and I spoke to my mates about it that night. I went to work the next day dreading it. And once again I failed at it. It wasn’t until a few days after I tried again. It just clicked and I managed to successfully link a whole mix of sausages. I had never felt the feeling of succeeding before. I had never been really good at anything. I always took solace in the fact I was never the worst at things like football at school, or I’d be happy if there was just one more person who was fatter than me in the class. As long as I wasn’t last I was content. But when it came to testing myself individually I had never succeeded.
Since this day, after overcoming such a tiny task, my self confidence has grown every day. I’ve come to realise that anxiety is relevant. Whereas I used to be scared to even leave the house, now the things that make me nervous are only progressive. I know I will never fully get passed anxiety and I feel it even in the smallest of tasks. Reversing my van at work up to the loading bay, trying new things in the gym, the fact I even go the gym is something I never thought I would do. The difference is now when I feel anxious I get on with it, as I know its just a part of my autism rather than the difficulty of the thing I’m doing. Instead of letting the anxiety get the better of me and bowing out, I take it on the chin and fucking man up and get on with it. And I couldn’t feel any better for it. I have a good job in which I’ve progressed no end, I drive a fast car that I’ve modified myself, I have a lush girlfriend who I’ve been with for a year and half. I went from being 17 and a half stone to 14 stone at 6ft5 and feeling, and looking, better than I ever thought I would. EVER.
I learnt that anxiety will be there, no matter what I do, and that in no way would I let it stop me from doing anything again. I still have shit days, but in regards to actually trying new things, eating new foods and meeting new people I’ve deemed it irrelevant.
I doubt anyone gives a shit but as long as you know that your not the only person to feel anxiety about the stupidest shit. And as much as it feels like a barrier you can’t break, it isn’t actually a thing, so treat it as such.