I went to my first therapy group last Tuesday. The social worker I talked to the week before insisted that I go. I told her I didn’t want to—they won’t listen and I’m here to be listened to. I told her the idea of group therapy makes me more anxious than anything. She smiled, and I realized that anything I said would make her insist even more that I go. Fine, I’ll go.
There was a group of eight people, plus two social workers who sat in the circle with us. It was our meeting. We introduced ourselves and said what made us anxious. We didn’t have to go in a circle. We just needed to jump in whenever we felt like talking. I waited to jump in because I had to think about what made me anxious. Yes, school makes me anxious. Relationships makes me nervous. Work, waking up late… Really, everything makes me anxious.
“I’m Anne. Louise. I’m a freshman and not sure what I’m going into yet. Um, school and work make me anxious.” Duh. I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
They talked and shared experiences and I listened and understood what they were going through. I knew how their brains worked. They were just like me…
Finally I spoke. We were on the topic of friends. I told them a quick story (I don’t like to take up time) and told them how I felt about friends. I was nervous after what I had said. I worried they wouldn’t get it and they would think I was full of myself or just wanted attention or it really didn’t go with what they were thinking.
But I watched them all nod in agreement, with a half smile on their face, indicating that they understood completely. A girl replied to my story and told her how she felt. I knew they got it. They listened to me and understood. Wow.
Now I am looking forward to tomorrow’s meeting to listen to their weekly stories and hear what else the social workers have in mind. I’ve also been thinking about what I want to tell them so much that I wrote an “Anxiety Log” of my week.
Anne’s ANXIETY LOG.
Tuesday, after group therapy, Valentines Day: Spencer and I sat in the car talking after dinner. I wasn’t very talkative all the sudden. I don’t know why. I enjoyed listening to him, but I was having a hard time engaging myself in the conversation. Anyway, Spencer mentioned that I was quiet and when he took me home, I could tell her was worried if I was mad or something. Now I’m sitting here feeling like shit because it’s Valentines Day and I loved dinner and the gifts and giving him his gift, yet I still made him feel like I was mad at him. That’s not fair for him after he planned such a beautiful date! I feel really bad and I wish I hadn’t been so quiet. My stomach hurts and I can’t fall asleep. I’m anxious and too many thoughts are going on in my head.
Wednesday night, after school: Mom called me today and wants to throw me a big-ass birthday party. I don’t think she knows that 19 isn’t all that special of a year. Still, she wants me to invite 40-60 people and have them at my parents’ house. I cannot hold still! I’m walking around the house, my heart is beating really fast, my brain won’t slow down. Forty to sixty people!? Do I have forty to sixty friends? Would they even come? What if no one wants to come? What if the party is lame? What is no one has a good time and leaves early? The thing is, I’ve always wanted to have a party like this, but I’m too nervous. Although I have complete trust in my mom’s ability to throw a fun party, what if no one really wants to come? I know how stupid this sounds. I know I’m thinking way too much into this. But I’m nervous.
Thursday night, after studying: Spencer and I studied at the library today. This loud girl behind us was getting into an argument with her friend about politics and although I agreed the loud girl’s opinion, she was SO obnoxious! She said the word “ignorant” 15 times in a matter of 5 minutes (I tallied it on my Anthropology study guide.) And she wouldn’t listen to the other girl! Every time the girl popped in to disagree, the loud girl kept blabbing. I wanted to turn around and slap her across the face. Then she went off about how she and this guy aren’t meshing well because he says he has a hard time talking to her. Well no shit! Anyway, the conversation behind us was very distracting and I had a lot of studying to do. The less I got done, the more I thought how much I have to do this weekend. I didn’t finish any studying today. And now I’m still nervous.
Friday: I was tense at work because I was Salad 1, the station where you talk to customers, and Friday nights are the busiest nights at work. I’d rather have my back towards the customer and make their sandwiches. There’s always a bitchy woman you have to deal with during Salad 1 and there was one tonight. If I didn’t have my doofy hat and an oversized chef shirt on, she wouldn’t be so mean. But because I am working at a fast food place, she is a “higher class” than me and is allowed to be bitchy. If I weren’t at work, I’d get real close to her and stand up straight to show her I’m a good four inches taller than her and I’d tell her she has no effing right to talk to me that way. And she’d go silent. Dealing with bitchy customers makes me nervous.
Sunday morning: I woke up at Spencer’s house and it was 7 in the morning! I had fallen asleep on the couch during a movie and was completely out. I called Grandpa and told him where I was, and I feel super super bad. My stomach is going crazy and my brain feels like a goldfish swimming round and round in a small fish bowl. Beat beat beat, my chest is going to explode. I can’t calm myself down. I feel so stupid. I told them I would always be home by 4. Ugggggg. Stomach killing.
Monday morning: Damnit, I did it again! The friends and I were at Spencer’s house, we stayed really late, everyone left and I helped Spencer clean up the basement, then I snoozed on the couch for a bit and told myself I’d leave at 2, and all the sudden I hear Spencer’s phone alarm going off. Six a.m. Dammit dammit dammit. I wanted to puke I was so anxious. I grabbed all my stuff and ran out the door. Most anxious twenty minutes, driving back to the house. I got to the apartment and Grandpa was on the couch on the computer. He wasn’t waiting up for me, but I still felt super bad and said I was sorry and then I went to bed. Uggggggg.