Growing up, I had always been a shy kid. As I’ve gotten older, this has morphed itself into anxiety, and made even the simplest of things feel like climbing a mountain (or, if you’re as unfit as me, climbing the stairs).
Over the last few years, I think I’ve made good progress with overcoming certain anxieties, and so I thought I’d share some of the “little” things that made me anxious that no longer do (or that don’t affect me as much), in hopes that if you also deal with anxiety, you’ll find some comfort in knowing that you can overcome it too.
Learning to Drive
My dad was keen for me to learn how to drive, and in the lead up to my seventeenth birthday, he was always talking to me about getting a car and starting driving lessons.
For me, I didn’t want to learn how to drive, as the thought of taking lessons with a stranger filled me with fear; I felt embarrassed about getting into a car and not having the first clue what to do!
Luckily, my dad decided we’d start off just going on drives together to give me some basic experience. We did this for a few months prior to me starting my lessons, and continued it throughout the year I was learning.
At first, I thought it would take me years to pluck up the courage to even start learning how to drive, and now, in the last year or so (two years after passing my test) I’ve driven to Cornwall and back for a trip with my boyfriend, Bournemouth for a training session for my job, and I love the independence driving gives me!
Answering the Phone
When I told people I was afraid of answering the phone, I’d be met with their rolling eyes and shaking heads; how could I be afraid of something so simple as clicking a little green button and speaking into a microphone? Honestly, I don’t know either, but it’s something I had struggled with forever.
After leaving my first job in retail, I started an apprenticeship as a travel agent, and I now have to make phone calls on a daily basis to complete strangers. Now, I’m not completely over my fear of speaking on the phone, however it’s something I’m definitely able to do now, and so I guess you can consider that “overcome”.
So, this one is a little less ‘fixed’ than the others, as the thought of public speaking still fills me with anxiety, however, I am much more able to stand in front of a room of people and give a presentation than I was in school!
As a part of my apprenticeship, I have to go to training sessions every week or so, and some of these involve writing out presentations and presenting them back to the other apprentices. I still hate doing it, but it’s never as bad as I expect it to be, and I’ll still push myself to do it if I have to.
Going Places on My Own
If I can go somewhere with someone, I’d definitely choose that over going somewhere alone, but in the past even going to a supermarket or shop on my own was terrifying to me.
I thought people would “judge” me for walking around on my own, or that I’d look stupid for not having a friend or someone else with me. Thinking about it now, it sounds pretty silly, as I know for a fact I’ve never once looked at someone and thought “they’re weird, walking around on their own, who does that?”.
Having a Job
Before getting my first job, the thought of actually having a job was insane to me. I didn’t know how to work a till, so how would I be able to work in a shop? I hated talking to people I didn’t know, so how could I ever be in a customer-facing role? How embarrassing, I wouldn’t know what to do without being trained.
Looking back, getting your first job is definitely a daunting experience, as there’s no way of really knowing what it’s like until you get there, but my first job taught me so much about working and talking to other people, and gave me a confidence boost I really needed!
Now, I love talking to people (though there are days I can’t think of anything worse to do), and I deal with new situations on almost a daily basis, but I have at least enough confidence to deal with those situations.
What daily things have given / still give you anxiety? And if you’ve overcome it, how have you done so? Feel free to share in the comments to share your support for others who feel these anxieties 🙂