So I’m about 3 hours off my second psychologist appointment, having woken up with a filthy headache (gone now, all praise panadeine), and that constricted feeling in the throat is rising, meaning I’m feeling the onset of some level of anxiety.
I walked out of the last session feeling so good, then a few hours later crashed so strongly (having allowed myself to get too wrapped up in my own definitions of words), that there’s some level of nervousness in just approaching the next session.
One of the side-effects of deciding to confront all of these issues is, quite frankly, a significantly more acute self-awareness. (I’ve always been reasonably self aware that there’s been issues, but (and there’s no way around this), I’m a damn good liar when I set my mind to it, and I’m also so regularly reserved that the average person who has known me for years wouldn’t really have noticed much, if anything, anyway.)
With that significantly increased self-awareness comes a self-admission that I can at times feel somewhat anxious about having to deal with new people and new situations. Not to the point that you’d call it a phobia, but there’s definitely that strong introvert sitting there wanting to shutdown, withdraw and have some solitude when things get ‘new’. For instance, on Wednesday night Darren and I went to a comedy club in North Melbourne with a couple of his work colleagues, and suddenly confronted by (a) having to meet new people who I had practically zero frame of reference for, (b) doing it in a location I’ve never been, and (c) going to a type of venue I’ve never been, I had to drag myself out of the house, and at every step along the way found myself mentally clawing for an escape route.
It wasn’t until the first of the three comedy acts was over that I found myself actually letting go of that desire to flee.
In the introductory session I touched on my fight-or-flight desire with the psychologist, mentioning the irony that I can happily stand up in front of a large group of people and talk about something I’m a subject matter expert in, but the notion of going into a small situation with unknown people who I have to make small talk with is about as terrifying as zombies to me. (Well, I didn’t mention the zombie-phobia to him, but that’s a quicker way of explaining it here.)
But it’s probably something I need to explore a little more.