I’ve got plenty of these, trust me.
This episode is going to be a bit different from the last one. It’ll be an example of how strangely my anxiety can manifest itself; and how it doesn’t always show its face when you’d think.
Rewind back to my school and sixth form years. My little academic soul is thriving in the educational environment. I’ve got a close little group of friends. I’m progressing nicely towards my GCSEs, A Levels etc. But you want to know where the anxiety is, right? It’s not around my exams. Weird. Qualifications and grades are such a massive deal for me yet I feel no anxiety or stress around them. I would happily revise, quite relaxed and casually. The exams themselves are something that, generally, make most people at least a bit apprehensive. It’s a human response. But I never really got that; at least not on any level where I noticed it. Some may argue that this was because I was academic and knew I could do well in exams, hence the lack of stress. But you know what did make me nervous around exam time? Walking into the hall/exam room. Yeah that sounds slightly ridiculous now I’ve typed it out. The exams and tests themselves? Easy peasy. Making my way into the exam room? Scary darey. I genuinely felt like every set of eyes were glaring right at me. Maybe they could sense my awkwardness and bordering paranoia. Or maybe they weren’t looking at all. Maybe they didn’t give a shit about me and were only concerned about the upcoming test. Whilst the latter seems most logical, my brain was adamant that they were all watching my every step; judging and laughing inside. I was so self-absorbed and focused inwardly that I convinced myself I was the centre of attention.
Essentially, anxiety doesn’t always show itself in a way or in a situation we expect; sometimes it doesn’t show itself at all. I don’t know if anyone else can remotely relate to this, but if so, please let me know!