Question of the day (15th June).

What makes you nervous no matter how many times you do it?

My answer:

There are loads of such things, but one that comes to my mind is definitely peopling in general. That is, sometimes I’m less nervous than other times, and there are times when I’m almost not anxious at all, but if we assume that the longer/more often you do something, the less nervous you become over time when doing it, here it just doesn’t apply. As for how much I’m nervous during a social interaction, I feel like a lot of the time it’s pretty random, which baffled me for a long time because I’d hear people with “normal” social anxiety always say how they’re always anxious or nervous with strangers, or in some specific kinds of situations, while for me there are times when I feel nervous talking to my own Mum, even though we generally have a very good relationship, or I can have trouble writing to someone online whom I like and know well, and there can be times when I can hold a fairly normal conversation with someone I barely know or even a total stranger, and even enjoy it, and the person mmight even end up commenting how very outgoing I am. 😀 I used to explain to them that I don’t, or even when I was a child my Mum would explain that it’s not like that, but now I no longer do as it’s not their business really, and they usually wouldn’t believe me anyway when I’d say that actually I’m normally very anxious around people and they’d say things like that everyone is a bit anxious sometimes, like my last therapist, for example, haha. The next day, my anxiety may work completely inversely, or I’ll be scared of all people equally. It used to really confuse me, well, still does in a way, but I used to think that because it’s not really like I have very clear social anxiety triggers beyond a few, I can’t have valid social anxiety and either it’s something else or I’m somehow making it up or whatever. I still haven’t fully figured out what may be the reasons behind such a weird, changing pattern, although I have some theories and think there may be multiple factors involved, but a lot has been cleared up for me when I learned that in fact I don’t have the classic social anxiety, but instead I have AVPD, in which the anxiety doesn’t have to necessarily be triggered by any specific situation, it’s just some general people phobia with some other, additional gimmicks to make things more interesting.

Another such thing for me is definitely horse riding. I haven’t done that in quite some time now, but I used to for many years, and despite that, I would always be more or less anxious beforehand, and as much as I absolutely love it, the anxiety could seriously get in the way or even spoil things completely sometimes. I’ve written here many times before how my fear started out mostly due to my balance problems and having obligatory hippotherapy at nursery, but then later on, after a few years’ break, my Mum got me back into it at our local stud where I grew to love it and also really bonded not just with my horse but also my instructor. I still experienced all the same issues that I did before, but since I learned that horse riding can be enjoyable and started doing it not just in a therapeutic but also more properly sporty way, I was able to overcome my fears enough that my love of riding and for my horse was stronger than the anxiety and most of the time I was able to motivate myself to do it, even if it took me some 15 minutes on horseback to relax and feel it properly. After those fifteen minutes I would usually start feeling way better, euphoric even. I always found it really annoying that it took me so long to get into it and that I was so shaky beforehand and for the first few minutes while riding, which also affected the way I rode since all my muscles were tense and of course my horse picked up on it too. My main horse was really phlegmatic and hardly moved by anything, which I found very reassuring, so he didn’t catch the anxiety from me like some horses do, but it was definitely an obstacle in our communication. So when I was put on the anti-anxiety medication I always took half of the pill before the riding to calm me down a bit. Sometimes it worked, sometimes I didn’t feel it at all. Then I guess at some point my brain started protesting louder and my anxiety became almost as strong as my love for riding and it was harder and harder to motivate myself to actually do it and I didn’t see much point if I was feeling horrid hours in advance. So that was one of the reasons why I stopped doing it, although I still don’t know yet if it’ll be permanently or not.

And yet another thing which very often makes me nervous is change. We all deal with changes in our lives a lot, but some of us I guess just never get used to it. Not all changes freak me out, but major or sudden ones or such that involve leaving behind something that I was emotionally connected to tend to be difficult. New things I have to get used to are also difficult, they may not always scare me but the stress related to getting used to the new thing can be rather exhausting, even if it’s sometimes exciting at the same time.

What is such a thing(s) for you? 🙂