On Sunday, I went to the mall and did some shopping (toiletries, pet supplies, etc.) on my own. I then took the bus back home. This is something I have not done in months because of anxiety, and I’d like to share a little more about it.


Anxiety relapsed last year. Since then, my anxiety has been fluctuating. It got worse recently, and I get panic attacks. My anxiety level is now constantly high, but I still never know when I'm going to get hit by a panic attack, or why. Most of the time, I'm not even sure why my anxiety is high. But sometimes, I start thinking about possible reasons why my anxiety is high (e.g. Is something bad going to happen? Is this going to turn in a panic attack? Why is my heart beating so fast? Why am I nauseated? Did that tumour thing in my stomach come back?) and I make it worse. Many things, in fact, it worse - loud noises, crowds, angry people/voices, traffic...


Anyway, I went to the mall and the over-stimulation was horrid. Every moment was excruciating, especially when it was time to approach the cashier. What I’m most proud of, however, is talking to one of the cashiers when I didn’t actually have to. I was at Uniqlo when I noticed the cashier had scars on her arms (I have developed a tendency to take notice of people’s arms; sometimes thighs and ankles, too). After she bagged my stuff, I walked to the side and pretended check my receipt when actually, I was gathering the courage to talk to her. After a brief awkward exchange, I showed her the scars on my arms, and told her that she wasn't alone. I walked away with a pounding heart but a great sense of achievement.


I used to be able to go up to strangers upon seeing self-harm scars with no problem. I’d tell them to stay strong, or that they’re not alone. If they had company, I’d write it on a slip of paper and pass it to them, or discreetly slide it into their bag or pocket. I was surprised by how difficult it was to go up to someone this time. But, I did it.


Throughout my time in the mall, I was constantly sweating (and worrying about pit-stains did not make it any better), I was breathless, and I felt faint. I got back exhausted and immediately went to take a nap. It was, essentially, an "anxiety training" session for me. I already have a less intensive and nerve wrecking anxiety training session every week – one of my lecturers has a booming voice, and the particular students of the class are extremely noisy during the break. I've had seven classes with that lecturer thus far, but nothing has changed. I cannot help but wonder if this is what my life is going to be like for the rest of my life.



(Originally published at dinoclaire.wordpress.com. Edited for MyTrendingStories.)

Published by Claire Leong