Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Virtually everyone is hampered by anxiety and fear to some degree, however skilled we might be at seeming cool, calm and collected. We all have those moments when we just want to flee some situation that stirs up the emotional gremlins.
I'm no stranger to anxiety and fear, but at least they take a fairly mild form and don't interfere too much with my daily life. It's unusual to feel so overwhelmed that I simply make my excuses and run for it.
I know people whose anxiety and fear is so intense they can be totally hobbled by it. People who have panic attacks that last for days on end and stop them doing anything but lie in bed in a helpless heap. People whose chronic anxiety means everything has to be double-checked, triple-checked, quadruple-checked before they're sure they haven't done anything horribly wrong.
Luckily I've never known those extremes. But there are things I would hate to do because I'm sure the anxiety would consume me. Like giving a lecture, or acting, or chairing a public meeting, or talking to a mega-celebrity. In fact anything where I'm visibly "onstage" and being scrutinised by large numbers of people.
And wherever I go, I'm always aware of a little frisson of fear, a slight apprehension about other people, though I know perfectly well they're probably harmless. Then there are specific fears, like a fear of the dark, or hospitals, or confined spaces, or old age. How wonderful it would be if I could just breeze through life, go with the flow, take everything as it comes, all with unshakable poise.
Which is as likely as turning into a mermaid.