Having Anxiety, particularly of the Social kind, can cause you to develop strange quirks.
I didn’t always realise how weird these quirks were until others pointed them out. Whether it be my perfectionist nature, or need for total control, I find myself thinking and doing things on a regular basis.
Please, if you can relate to any of these, let me know so I don’t feel like a total outcast.
I think one of the things I hate most in this world is public speaking. Don’t get me wrong, I am a loud and seemingly confident person, but as soon as I have to make a serious speech for work or social event, I pray for the ground to swallow me whole.
Everyone stares at you as though they are expecting you to fail. All eyes are on you, peering into your soul, knowing that in that moment you are seconds from self induced cardiac arrest.
Sweat forms upon your upper lip, your lungs discontinue to function leaving you gasping for shallow breaths.
I have had people laugh at how nervous I have gotten, which makes my fear that much worse.
I once played clarinet in a school recital and I was so nervous I hardly took any breaths during the song, went beetroot red, and almost passed out in front of everybody. I also disgraced our country by reciting the Anzac Day Ode during the one minute silence.
Over time, I have improved on my public speaking, but it still terrifies the crap out of me!
Do you remember when you were finally old enough to start making your own phone calls? Usually you’d ask mum or dad to make them for you, as they always have.
Once you start receiving the “you’re an adult now” speech, you are expected to make your own calls.
I still feel about 3 years old when I’m about to make one.
There have been times I’ve had to write a short speech about what I would like to say. I’d practice said speech with different inflections, tones, and voices until I found the correct one to use.
I’ve even been known to look in the mirror while I practice, as if the person on the other end could possibly see me.
Okay, so I decide to make the call. The dreaded dial tone haunts my soul as my sweaty fingers punch in the numbers. Then I am met with an equally disturbing sound – the ringing.
I pace around the room, sitting on various surfaces until I deem them an unsuitable accompaniment to my phone call.
Nothing is more terrifying than waiting for the other line to pick up. I don’t know what’s worse; they answer and I have to recite my speech, OR they don’t answer and I’m safe. That is, until I realise I have to leave a message or – CALL BACK LATER!
Okay so this is definitely something that comes from paranoia. I honestly believe that when people look into my eyes, they can see everything.
It’s as if they can read every single thought and memory of my life just by peering into my eyes. I am an open book.
This is often a reason as to why I avoid contact.
For most of my life, my new years resolution has been to make more eye contact. I just can’t help it though, I feel so vulnerable when people stare straight at me.
I also go as far as to glue my eyes to my phone screen in the off chance I glance at a stranger and accidentally reveal the password to my bank account.
I’ve improved with this but when I am in a confrontational or awkward situation, the floor suddenly becomes a very interesting sight.
Let me be clear here. I am not overly superstitious, but I do have a few quirks that may come under this category.
The first being the volume number on any electronic device. These MUST be set to an even number, or a multiple of 5.
And you know what, I am not the only one.
How is it I can’t handle numbers ending in 1, 3, 7, and 9, but 5 is magically okay? This is the exception to the rule. Seriously, why am I like this?
Someone once asked me why multiples of 5 were okay, I responded – “because it was half of 10”.
What does this even mean???
As a child, I also had a few weird quirks. Wherever I walked, I would avoid stepping on lines and cracks in the pavement.
“Step on a line, you break your spine. Step on a crack you break your back”.
It was a rotten chant that played on repeat in my mind, every step I took.
For years I would watch my footing and step carefully. That is until I began rolling my ankle on various occasions trying to avoid the lines. This was enough for me to cut down on my flamingo walk.
I’m proud to say I am now in remission, and can walk on lines and cracks (not without some level of discomfort though).
Another belief I have is that if I don’t double check that I have locked something, it will somehow unlock itself. I honestly cannot remember the last time I have locked my car without double checking. It’s really become a hassle and causing serious time loss. If I am not 100% sure my car or front door is locked, I will venture back.
Ain’t no mountain high enough, valley low enough, river wide enough to keep my from checking the lock babe.
Ordering Fast Food
If any of you do not experience this fear, you are most certainly lying.
The hassle of ordering fast food is still one of the #1 anxiety riddled issues I have. To. This. Day.
I bet you’re wondering if I’m one of those weirdos who has a whole routine devoted to the art of ordering through a speaker box.
You bet your sweet ass I am!
I will rehearse my McDonalds order again and again, at least 30 minutes prior to reaching the drive thru speaker.
And what do I do when I reach that speaker? I act casual. As though I am seeing the board for the first time.
Taking that appropriate pause to “gather my thoughts” as they may say. And then ordering exactly what I always get because my order NEVER CHANGES.
What sick twisted being am I?
The whole time my mind races with thoughts:
– What if the employee judges my order?
– What if the frozen drink machines are broken?
– What if my voice cracks and I’m forced to repeat my order? And then a voice not unlike that of a teenage boy entering puberty escapes my mouth?
*Has existential crisis*
I now mostly resort to online ordering.
We Are All Quirky
Let’s just say that being human does not mean being the societal definition of “normal”. Yes, my Anxiety rules my quirky nature. Yes, these quirks are actual issues that I deal with on a day to day basis.
But you know what, we all have them. That little voice in your head that places the seed of doubt, followed by a bucket load of fertiliser and eternal sunshine.
All we can do is laugh (or cry) about it, and find ways to manage it.
I will never get over the fear of ordering fast food, but I refuse to let it come between me and my Bacon & Egg McMuffin Meal and a Regular Iced Skinny Latte with a shot of Caramel.
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Have a lovely day,