Why I haven´t written in a while

Dear people of the internet,

Please accept my sincerest apology for not having posted on my blog for over two months. I am not entirely sure, but I think that may be a new record.
I wrote my last post two weeks before I started uni, so there´s one excuse. Now I am six weeks into university life and I am slowly starting to calm down and adjust to the work load. In the beginning, I felt like every moment I used to relax was a moment wasted. Today I took the afternoon off for myself because I had an extremely busy week last week (having to prepare two presentations and work two nights aside from all the other uni stuff too) and didn´t really rest much on the weekend.
Also, today I was not feeling too well.

Physically I am just a bit tired, I have developed a light dependency on coffee and I may have had the flu last week, but I was too busy to notice.

Emotionally I am a bit of a mess, though. It´s a bit hard to explain, because it is nothing that would really be seen as a big problem by anybody else.

Firstly, I do not enjoy my job. That is not a big problem. If you don´t like working and you are not dependant on it (I am currently still living at home), then quit. Well, yes, and I might. Today at tea (dinner, evening meal) I tried to explain what my problem was to my parents. The thing is I am not very good at talking. I told them I enjoyed the bar work (I work in a restaurant), but I don´t like the immense stress and I don´t like the actual serving part; carrying drinks on trays and not spilling everything.

I mean, it´s in my job description, but I don´t think I am really that good at it.

The last restaurant I worked at was when I still lived in Germany. It was my first proper job (dog walking does not really count as work…well, unless she was in heat) and I was proud to have been employed with no experience in the field. I was eager to learn and prove that I could earn my own money. It was stressful there, too, but the new place takes stress to a whole new level. At the old place, they taught me everything and it was quite small and familiar, so it was a fairly stress-free environment (well, good stress, not “I can´t take it”-stress). Eventually my boss´ personal issues and the fact that the restaurant was failing caught up with us and he started getting critical, not really explaining why, but either way it made me feel insecure about my abilities. I started going to work with a nervous stomach and on bad days, a knot in my chest. It sounds illogical, I know, but once my confidence was knocked over, it was hard to get it back up, especially since I received no validation or tips from the boss himself; I had to ask the others. That worked out in the end, but, well, the restaurant closed and I was out of a job. But that´s something different. He gave me a really good recommendation letter, so he must have thought quite highly of me when he wasn´t stressed out.

The new place is bigger, more guests, more staff, more orders. Do you know the expression “When it rains, it pours”? Well, that´s what it´s like working in the drinks section – which I generally enjoy – because at first you get one or two orders, then no orders, then ten orders and suddenly they don´t stop coming. This would not be so much of a problem if the rest of the service staff didn´t expect their drinks to be done in the same time as usual. This happens once or twice and I am getting quicker and more familiar with the work station, so I actually know where things are. The problem is also that some of the staff – full-time staff, that is – aren´t too good with stress themselves. They bicker at me to go faster, that this cannot be, that I cannot have them waiting, that I need to get the drinks done now. If I had ten hands and flash-type fast feet, then yes, sure, I could do it all at once. But I can´t and such is life.

I understand that they only say this when they are under a lot of pressure themselves, but that just leads me to the conclusion that is not really an environment I want to be working in long-term. Also, the boss keeps putting me on the rotary and not telling me about it.

I am working again tomorrow, we will see how it is. I am secretly hoping to be placed behind the bar again, which, aside from the poury-times, is the best place for me. Out of sight of the guests, no danger of dropping or spilling and even if I do, nobody can see it except the staff and they are not bothered about that as long as things move on quickly.

You may have been given the impression that I am constantly spilling drinks on people. That is not true, I have spilled two cokes zero on myself and dribbled some red wine on a ladies´ food…so much for drop stops. Still I get nervous every time I go in, my stomach turns ever so slightly when they call up to ask if I can work.

I ought to be thankful that I have a job and that they seem to be alright with me, since they haven´t fired me yet. Just the other day I overheard a conversation of one guy constantly messing up and that he ought to be fired. I would just feel a lot more comfortable in a secluded room somewhere, sorting props or filing old scriptures or something like that, where I can where whatever I want and I do not feel constantly stressed.

Still, that is not the main problem. I think, though me not enjoying my job is not ideal, my actual problem is myself.

In previous posts I have mentioned anxiety, though I have not often recognised it as such. In the months before uni started I was in a constant panic as to what would happen, if I had made the right choice, if I had made any mistakes and so on.
I´ve talked about my hatred of many people – especially strangers – coming to my place. I tend to hide out in my room until it´s over. I even get anxious when I hear my dad speaking on the phone. My dad has a very aggressive way of speaking on the phone. He shouts, elaborates on everything, says something that sounds like a threat and then laughs – to him it was a joke, a funny comment, but to outsiders he sounds like a maniac. I feel sorry for the person on the other end of the phone every time. Mostly it is just someone in a call center with limited information access.
However, because this situation is so stressful, the other day I just went back to bed.

In the restaurant I am constantly exposed to stress and demands and uncomfortable situations and it is impossible for me to give up, go home and crawl up in bed. I am stuck outside of my comfort zone 90 % of the time. Today at tea my mum said that´s a good thing (not anxiety, but being outside of your comfort zone), because that way you are forced to grow.

I partially agree, but, well, I am afraid my anxiety is getting worse. While I am doing fine at uni, socializing, asking questions etc., in the general social aspect I am getting worse. Putting myself out there has driven me inwards. So even if I quit my job, that would help for a while, but I don´t know if it really helps my anxiety, allowing myself to crawl inside my shell. Because that is the only thing I want to do.

Right now I feel like I want to break everything off, move to a new country and start anew.

It is extreme, I know, and it´s not going to happen.

I enjoy university and the job is okay, but currently it is all summing up to create an everlasting knot in my chest I just can´t seem to get rid of.

Yesterday I went to have coffee with this girl. We met a few weeks ago, got along, met up for lunch once, then again, then saw each other at a different event and then again, yesterday. I know she is gay and she knows I am bi, yet I never went into our meetings with any expectations or anything. I thought we were just meeting up as friends. And it did seem that way at first. But yesterday things were different. I really can´t tell if she just wants to be friends or not.
Personally, I like her, but I am not interested in her that way at all. Partially, because that´s that, but also because I am simply not ready to be intimate with anyone, to be in a relationship, to commit in any way. You´d think at twenty, I would finally be ready, but currently I can feel myself backing away, panicking, feeling guilty because I may or may not have led her on, not having made clear that I am not interested in any kind of relationship. This whole situation freaks me out. I don´t want to hurt her, but at the same time I want to leave and break off all contact.

I am just saying how I feel, not what I am going to do.

I think, just to be sure, I am going to have to say that I am not ready for a relationship in general. And, if there is a hint that needs to be given, I hope she will get it.

Haha, gosh, you must think I am the most spoiled person in the world: She has a job, an education, a social life: What the heck is wrong with her?

Well, honestly, I have been asking myself the same thing.

I have come to the point where I can admit, at least to myself, that I have anxiety issues, a type of social phobia I cannot quite name, that I am not ready to get intimate and that I may not be able to handle it by myself. It is hard though to admit it to the outside world. I talked to my parents a while back about therapy, but it has not come up since I as I have been trying to deal with it myself.

Currently, I think the fact that I am panicking (possibly for no reason) about relationship-situation, makes everything seem a lot worse. I feel helpless and have an immense urge to pack it all in and stay in bed forever, find some safe haven where nothing can touch me. I like it when problems are physical – an obvious argument, homework or studying I have to do, a glass I broke. They can be explained and fixed. But this knot in my chest is not going away. I hoped it would disappear through writing this blog post; personal online therapy, if you will. But, well, I am just going to have to ignore it for a while until I thought was a problem turns out to be perfectly fine.

So, that´s all from me. If you have anxiety and feel like it´s silly (like I do or did, at least), then maybe this post helped you a little in knowing that there are at least two of us, though certainly there are more. And it seems there is no clear step-by-step guide to overcoming each specific anxiety, but maybe talking and writing about it will help.

Cheers, Pina*

*That´s obviously not my real name. It is simply derived from my blogger name: Pinappleflavouredpeople…

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