With trying to overcome my anxiety I am constantly told that once I experience something once it will continue to get easier. Often I finally do something and realise it really wasn’t all that bad. Still, it is really damn hard to get myself to try it the first time. I’m pretty good at forcing myself to repeat things but that first step is always hard. I have needed to change my bank details with the Department of Working Pensions for several months but the idea of having to phone up, go through security, and do it without being able to get my mum to do all of it was terrifying. Even just getting her through security was daunting. So I didn’t and for months every time my money comes in I transfer it and it is a right faff. I decided enough was enough.
A recent run of good form with my anxiety prompted me to gather the information I needed. I wrote everything I might possibly need down and wrote myself notes on what to say if I ran into trouble. I planned everything I was able to and that is a hugely effective coping mechanism for me with my anxiety problems in general. Anxiety is basically a fear of the unknown, the what ifs, so removing as much of that as I can is always my plan A. As it turned out? It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It wasn’t flawless either but I coped with it and I’m extremely proud of myself for that. My money now goes into the bank account I actually use. Harrah. (the bank account I only pay for so I get better travel insurance being diabetic. Oh gremlins~) The biggest obstacle wasn’t information I feared I would not have to hand or something going wrong and me having no money, though to be fair I won’t know that for sure till May. No, the biggest hurdle was my accent. I live very near Edinburgh and statistically have one of the clearest and easiest to understand accents in Britain. Apparently. That is until you get someone from Blackpool on the phone or are in a particular Irish bar in London. Then apparently I sound like I’m speaking a different language. I did get a little anxious having to repeat myself several times but more I was just frustrated. I have many friends with many different and broad accents and they all agree I have the softest and are baffled that people struggle. Maybe that is the problem. I don’t have a strong accent so I have not worked on one of those robotic phone voices a lot of people have to get understood. My mum sounds like another person I swear.
Anyway, I did it and it was a huge step for me. I cannot say that enough. For months that has lingered on my to do list and I have shied away from it. Conquering it makes me feel why not other things? Why not other phone calls? I made two more that day. I felt less anxious with each of them. I felt like a healthy able person. Sure I will have my struggles again and get worked up over the phone but I do feel that was a really important moment and I can’t wait to tell my therapist about it.
However, that was not the only phone call I made as suggested. The other shouldn’t have been such a big deal but it turned out to be. I have finally received word that my GP surgery is able to offer me sessions with a nurse to get more therapy based support for my depression which hasn’t really been treated too much outside of medication and my own work since I stopped seeing the diabetic department’s nurse. Basically, yeah I was still depressed but I had come to terms with my diabetes and didn’t feel there was anything more she could do for me there. So, I got a letter saying if I still wanted an appointment to either phone or send in a slip. I took the phone call option as a challenge and tried my luck. Well it turned out reception had no idea what I was talking about, couldn’t make apps to see that nurse and said nurse was not in that day. I was put on hold while the receptionist scrambled around and in the end had to say it was ok, I’d just hand in the slip (which I did today). Before I would have…well probably not phoned in the first place but then I would have felt bad for causing the receptionist stress. Despite that being her job. I would have felt like I was causing trouble or worse that I was wrong and had the wrong number or information despite having it all printed out in front of me. I stayed calm, understood they couldn’t help, and dealt with it. It was another step that to people who don’t suffer mentally the way I do doesn’t seem like much but to me it was a huge step again.
On that note I followed up that day of phone calls and such by going down the town, handing in said slip, picking up prescriptions, visiting libraries, book shops, banks (Scary) and the shops for food messages. Normally I’d be too emotionally drained but I managed fine and feel bright and cheerful now because I have snackajacks and pumpkin seeds. Now I just need to phone the bank and get them to help me unlock my credit card I managed to lock on a London tube ticket machine. Oops. Thing is, I really think I can manage it.