Several minutes ago my brain was like a school fight. Not that the two halves of my brain were having a row. That would probably hurt. Of course I’m talking metaphorically here people!
You know how it is. One minute you’re chatting to your friend the next a swarm of running kids congregate out of no-where – a running and half-hearted jogging heard of sheep that nearly knock those new patent shoes off. How is this any relation to my brain?
All these crazed kids are the ideas, thoughts that unfurled around my eyes. A fire that when its centre found, was distinguished as soon as I went to type.
So let me claw at those dissipated thoughts. Cut off balloons.
How did I get here?
Not location. I don’t need Google maps. Mainly because I have hardly moved at all. That’s the point!
I finished Sixth Form Woo! Seriously, woo I could not wait to get my little socially anxious mind away from that place. Or jungle – this would be the time where you see that scene from Mean Girls where they all act like animals around a mall fountain aka the water hole. But, that was several months ago, I don’t particularly want to look at the number because it’s seriously depressing.
So this is usually the part where, I would get teary eyed as I said au revoir to the parents and watched them walk away from typically probably 70s dorm room. And complain because my cooking skills go as far as super noodles (not true I love cooking). But, I was always determined not to go down the University route. For me and what I wanted to do, it was too clichéd. If they made an honest sale poster it would say: get wasted all the time, get a degree, end up in a completely different job and don’t forget the big bill we will leave you. It works for some people, but I like to do things differently. **It annoyed me how university was played as the only option. The universities you were applying for a hierarchy that made teacher’s swoon at the student who claimed they were going to the best universities. Other option Apprenticeship, but to strip all the façade basically was suggested if you were ‘less intelligent’. Obviously not true, but those were the connotations.
I’m a firm believer that you can’t teach someone how to write (I’m talking novels etc. not primary school literacy). Why? Because if you asked each novelist how they wrote their book they all would have done it differently. It is finding yourself. That and I also had the banner like dream of wanting to start my own business. This particularly baffled most people, that and the idea of not going to uni.
So, now it’s now. Each day folds into the other like no school days ever did. Regret has me stuck in a revolving door. I am me, but not me.
If society saw me they would say these things that equal failure. You are unemployed. Tragically friendless. You are not at university. You are just doing anything. Mental health issue, what mental health issue? You are perfectly fine, get a job.
This is the part I don’t want to say. It is the thing I want to blip when meeting new people. It’s the lip parting question that has my head hanging between blades. What are you doing? This implies job.
After some convincing I applied for JSA. Job Seekers Allowance naive as an 18-year-old suffering from social anxiety, basically generalised anxiety and as a result depression. But, I think my parents were trying to give me a nudge into life.
DISCLAIMER: This is not one of those weight loss ads that now I’m on this I have lost…duh…duh…duh. So, now you all probably think I’m a Chav that goes to the Jobcentre in tracksuit bottoms and a scrunchie. And that’s exactly what I am talking about. Stereotypes. Not only do I think that it is wrong to brand people in a negative light. Or link a particular image with negative connotations. But, how can I say that to people without being looked down on and the idea of social class rising.
As I sat there with my mum to help me with the nerves. My first interview. The Jobcentre lady talking about all the legalities and pointing at a screen. All I could do was make that face. You know the one. You have to press down your lip to stop the seams on your face puckering. It had been all too much. I could taste the tears in my mouth. I wasn’t doing it for me, for my parents.
Now I was just cast off as a failure of society. Low ranking. My already present shame deepened in my chest and blossomed into thorns that stab at my heart.
For someone who had social anxiety, my signature was signing my life away. Yes, I knew I needed to get a job. Yes, I know it would probably be shit. Yes, I know. Yes, you told me that I can’t just make my living being a writer. Yep, I know I don’t have enough ‘experience’ to run a business.
If you have social anxiety you will know how crippling it felt. I had assigned myself a new cage, and I had turned the key. I was going to have to do things I don’t want to do. Assign for everything and anything. My hell. Social anxiety hell.
To put kindling in the fiery pit. My anxiety was and is building. The house. Same everyday house was now my world. For days, I can’t say specifically when before all this Jobcentre stuff I could feel the sense of doom that accompanies it. My body was being tortured by anxiety symptoms and I felt like I just couldn’t take it anymore. That the anxiety was going to be the end of me (note feeling not suicidal). I needed. I need help. To then be put on a 4 months perhaps more waiting list to get help. Burn baby burn!