wE'Re AlL mAd HeRe

Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic… and the rest!

Keep Still???

Slightly stressful trip to Optical Express this morning and I would like to apologise to any staff members affected. I had laser eye surgery four weeks ago, (it’s fine they gave me Valium) and today was my monthly check up.
After not eating breakfast and then accidently dry swallowing a tablet which got lodged somewhere uncomfortable, I spent the whole tube journey thinking that my throat was going to close up and I would die. Or even worse; I’d pass out, have to go home, stay off work for a week, get signed off again, lose my job, lose my flat and end up in a gutter. (Yes, this is how my brain functions when I’m anxious.)
So lets just say that I was rather flustered when I arrived. The poor assistant attempted to do the ‘puff of air in your eye’ test three times before I refused to go on. I’d honestly rather flash a bus full of people then do that test, I hate it. It’s not the actual ‘air’ that’s the problem, it’s the twenty second pause before they actually do it. I told the woman repeatedly that I have a ‘nervous condition’ and could she please do the test quickly….. and yet this is what transpired:

Assistant: Ok put your head forward Miss Eastham. It’s very important that you keep still.
Me:  Oki doke [Visible twitching]
Assistant: Okaaaaay, now keep niiiiice and still [speaks in a loud default calming voice that   actually sounds condescending]
******pause for 5 seconds*******
Assistant: Niiiiiiice and still. Eyes open wiiiiiiiiide.
***** pause for 5 seconds*******
Me: Ok… are you doing it now because it’s been ages. [More twitching and rapid blinking]
Assistant: Yep I’m going to do it in a second Miss Eastham. You need to keep still.
Me: I’m trying honestly.  It’s not an easy thing to do!
Assistant: Ok here we go. Niiiiiice and wiiiiiiiiiide.
*****pause for 7 seconds********
Me: [Jumps back rapidly and shakes head] No! This isn’t happening today.
Assistant: [Looks frustrated and sighs] I told you to keep still.
Me: [speaks faster] It’s not happening, I’m clearly not the still type I’m the jerky type!
Assistant: Ok well you can’t have the test then.
Me: Fantastic, I’m sure it’s fine.

I then frog marched/ran back to the reception area, smiled at everyone and pretended to be a ‘normal’ member of society.
Fortunately I don’t have to go back for another two months, so hopefully by then everyone will have forgotten all about the; Incredible Jerky Woman!

Today I was reminded of two very important things in the battle against anxiety:

  1. Don’t be a lazy cow. Always get up in time to have a decent breakfast. I’m more restless when I don’t eat, it must be a blood sugar thing.
  2. When freaking yourself out on the tube don’t just stand there and allow yourself to focus on it. Distract your brain with something. My current favourite distraction technique is iPhone gaming. I have to concentrate on what I’m doing which is helpful, rather than pretending to read when we both know I’m not (my brain and I.)

Sorry again Optical Express Assistant. Hopefully one day I can be still for you….

Categories: Anxiety

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1 reply

  1. Again, I can totally relate to your catastrophizing! Claire your blogs are helping me so much that I cannot begin to explain! It’s a but if solace for me to know I’m not alone and others out their experience this! I also let my thoughts run wild when anxious and your “loosing the job by being signed off” nailed it for me!!!

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