After one year, I went to the free and anonymous anxiety screening session to find out if I really have anxiety or not.
Long story short, it was a completely useless event. An online search for anxiety survey would have saved me a trip if I had known that it would be nothing more than checking a few boxes with extremely broad questions and having a trainee psychologist stare at me in silence after asking me what I wanted to do.
The moment I sat down, she said, ‘hmm looks like your scores were low… you have some anxiety… so what do you want to do?’ And stared at me from behind her false eyelashes with a stupid condescending smile.
(Thank you, Captain Obvious, for stating that I have SOME anxiety. I could have told myself that too.)
And I’m like, ???????? She’s asking me?????
She continued, ‘There is individual counseling and then there’s group counseling. Which are you thinking of?’
(How the fudge am I supposed to choose when you have given me NO information. And do I have anxiety? What kind? Can I tell you my problems? Is that not what you are here for?)
She kept suggesting that I attend group counseling and when I asked her how I could do that, she said I could just call in.
If she bothered talking to me a while longer, she would know that I have social anxiety when it comes to phone calls. I avoid phone calls as much as I can.
‘Do you have any questions for me?’ she asked, not looking interested in answering any that I potentially had.
I asked her what types of anxiety there are, hoping the conversation would go somewhere.
Her reply: ‘social, phobia, general…’
No discussion of my scores, no ‘how are you doing’, or ‘what’s been on your mind lately’ or even the slightest comfort in any way. She was NOT warm, NOT welcoming, and certainly NOT helpful.
So that was messed up and I left, feeling shocked that those people can even be allowed to be psychologists or counselors. I have spoken to teachers, friends, and strangers who have offered me way better words of wisdom and comfort. I am concerned for the people who have larger mental health issues that saw those ‘counselors’ today.
But even though those people didn’t have anything to offer me, I kind of stumbled upon the kind of anxiety I might have. High functioning anxiety, is what it’s called. I don’t know how valid it is but I read several articles on it and I could relate to almost everything they said about high functioning anxiety (HFA).
At first, I doubted it because I looked at the statement about how people with HFA sometimes feel the need to leave a room full of people immediately without reason. I thought, I don’t do that. I don’t know who I was trying to kid but it suddenly hit me today that I certainly do that. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at a social event and suddenly I turn to my sister (or myself if I’m there alone) and say, oh God, I want to leave right now. I need to leave right now. Can I leave now? And I would sometimes even feel sick.
I had no idea it was even a thing. I thought I was being over-the-top. I am type A, I always need to ‘go, go, go’, I don’t catch a break, I stretch myself so thin by taking on everything (omg this), I compartmentalize my emotions to the point of thinking that I’m fake with people because I can’t show my real self because people will hate me if I show them my real self, I always think I’m not good enough and not doing enough and letting people down.
This is me. Now I get it.
I have no real ending to this post but somehow knowing that there are people out there are feeling the same way I do makes me feel slightly better. And also, I guess after meeting such cold and unhelpful counselors. it makes me want to be the person people can come to, can feel safe around, can feel vulnerable around without feeling judged.
Please be kind.