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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Faces of Anxiety

I would never have walked into my old office singing songs from On the Town (I waited until I was shut in the scanning room and then sang to relieve the monotony). Nor would I sit down with my four year old nieces and be a miserable old harridan who isn't much fun. The fact that different faces are required for different parts of your life is inevitable. Something I've realised, though, is that these 'faces' are the reason my anxiety's permeated every aspect of my life. There is barely a person alive I'm not putting a mask on in front of, very few people who could, if you'd like, appear on Mastermind with me as their specialist subject. Probably the ones who think they could are the ones who'd be forced to make up ground in the general knowledge section. What it comes down to is the toll this takes on someone. I freely admit I've always been a bit of a wimp so maybe this is something that affects me disproportionately.

The root of my anxiety is 'doing something wrong'. There are many reasons that's developed, none of which I'll bore you with, but the fact is that it remains an everyday problem. Not just when I step into the outside world either. If you're having to watch every word you speak, type or text all day, every day the default position becomes defence. You become insulated, isolated. You're so busy wondering what you said to whom and was that right and what if it wasn't and what are you going to say next that each day becomes a bit of a slog. And, yet, without communicating with people, online or otherwise, life quickly becomes a little drab. It's a conundrum, and one I really haven't grappled with until now.

Is there a solution? Do I try and stop being a different person to everybody in my life? That would require some home truths and I'm a wimp remember. But this policy of remembering who I am in every conversation, of remembering the boundaries and the masks, is growing heavier by the day. Perhaps it's no wonder I take refuge in fiction...

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