I’m writing this in the hours leading up to an Art for Wellbeing course for which I signed up several months ago. And I really don’t want to go.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy art, because I really do. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post on why creativity is important to me.

I’m just so anxious. I’m anxious about driving there. I’m anxious about finding parking. I’m anxious about meeting new people. I’m anxious about being out of the house in general. I’m anxious about being “good enough” at the art activity. I’m just so anxious.

My legs are bouncing up and down and my hands are shaking. I’m watching the clock, knowing that it starts at 11am, so I need to be there by 10.45am at the latest, so I need to set off at 10.10am at the latest, so I have one hour and 40 minutes before I have to go, and I can’t decide if I want time to slow down or speed up so I can just get it over with.

I’m too anxious to eat, but I know if I don’t then my stomach will growl during the group, and it will be really embarrassing. Okay, I know that’s stupid. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying about it.

********************

I just rang my brother for a chat to try to calm down. At least that took my mind off it for a few minutes. One hour and 30 minutes to go.

My stomach is churning. I hate that I get so anxious. Elsa is sitting on my cardigan. Maybe that’s a sign I shouldn’t go… Oh shit, she just moved. Damn it.

Now I’m just pottering around the house, certain that I’ve forgotten something.

Oh bollocks, I haven’t put my make-up on.

********************

Okay, I’ve put my make-up on now. Panic over. 55 minutes to go. My hair isn’t dry yet, but I think it will be before I need to leave. If all else fails, I’ll blowdry it, but then it will go all floofy. I’m just rambling now. It’s better than clock-watching.

My stomach is already growling. Maybe I should try to eat something? I’ll try.

Ugh, this isn’t sitting well. I really hope I don’t see it in reverse in a few minutes. Okay, calming thoughts, calming thoughts…

40 minutes. I’m tempted to leave even earlier than I originally thought because I’m really worried about finding a parking space. Am I just overthinking? Maybe. Okay, I’ll leave at 10am. So 30 minutes to go.

My chest is getting really tight, so I’m trying to do deep breathing. I haven’t brushed my teeth yet, but when I’m anxious and I brush my teeth, I tend to throw up, so I’m avoiding it until the last minute. I’ll do them in 15 minutes – deal, self? Deal.

Okay, I’ve brushed my teeth, I didn’t throw up, and it’s time to go. I’ll finish this post when I get back.

********************

I’m home! And as many of you said I would, I had a good time.

I arrived early (as usual) but I couldn’t find a place to park. I finally found the car park and went into the library. Because I was early, I had to sit in the waiting area for a few minutes. A few other people showed up.

We went into the room and I grabbed a chair on the “door-side” of the room – escape plan established. As more and more people arrived, my anxiety grew. There were lots of older people, and one or two about my age. I started to consider doing a runner.

But I sat for a while, and then the session started. It was very laid back, and the activity was easy – we could do whatever we wanted; paint, draw, write, and so on. I started my project and quickly settled in, even talking to a few people around me.

I didn’t really know what to do for my project (the theme was Identity) so I just started doodling. It actually ended up being pretty good. I threw in some paint and some collaging. I got my hands dirty for a change. I had fun.

Everyone was really friendly and I could tell other people were anxious as well, so I didn’t feel like the only one.

I’m really glad I pushed myself and went to the session, and all being well, I’m going to go again next week.

Have you had an experience of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone? What helped you to manage the anxiety? Let me know in the comments.

I don't want to go... (thepatchworkfox.com)

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Written by hazel

mental health blogger and advocate

9 comments

  1. Was literally holding my breath whilst reading this, willing it to turn out well… so glad it did. Well done for channeling the feelings into a positive outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever read something I’ve resonated with so much… This is me every time I do something new. You’ve captured perfectly the battle between really wanting to do something and really wanting to avoid it at all costs. It’s always fun in the end but the anxiety just doesn’t learn, does it?!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i so relate to this. i want to join the world, i just don’t want to have to go out to it. i recently joined a local political group and it took me four attempts of trying to go to actually get out of my car and go inside rather than leave the parking lot without trying. anxiety is so hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is definitely me anytime I attempt to do something new. Though, sadly, anxiety often wins in my case and I don’t go through with it, which is frustrating because I know that only makes matters worse in the long run. But I’m so glad/proud that you did and I’m delighted to know it turned out okay!

    Liked by 1 person

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