Today, I went out and met up with the walking group for a ten-mile hike around the Cotswold hills of South Gloucestershire. Getting up and getting going was far from easy, even though I woke up in plenty of time. I was aiming to leave the house at 9.15am and to arrive at the meeting point early, with time to spare. But, it was already 9.30am by the time I accelerated away from the drive and I, quite literally, arrived at the meeting point bang on time, making a flamboyant, fast-paced 180° turn in to a vacant parking space!
Coaley Peak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have a confession to make before we go any further… Despite walking for more than three hours today, with clear views towards the Severn Estuary and plenty of trees within the local woodland, I neglected to take even a single photograph! So, for the purpose of making this post more enjoyable, I’m going to have to use images from other sources, respectfully paying credit where it’s due.
Through having lived with my own social anxiety for, I reckon, more than fifteen-years now, I’ve more recently developed symptoms of speech impediment, where I have difficulty pronouncing certain words and sentences in certain situations. As far as I can remember, this started back when I got my first job, working face-to-face in a customer service role.
This one man would come in (usually on a Saturday). He was friendly enough and always seemed to recognise me and make note of the fact in a kind way. But, he had this stutter and, when he talked, my reaction was to feel very uncomfortable (being very timid at the time) and unsure of how to act. Of course, I’ve never said anything about it (to anyone) and I helped him on his way.
That feeling and the memory, of each time I’d interacted with this name-less man, it has always stayed strong in my mind. After a while, I even found myself beginning to stammer and stutter and, well, it’s never gone away since then.
Since Sunday, I’ve found myself in two social situations where I might usual feel uncomfortable, with symptoms of anxiety might kick in. My sister recently celebrated her birthday and so, we’ve been out for two pub meals with different parts of the family. Both times, I wasn’t the one in control so, I guess that helps to relieve any feelings of stress of pressure. Also, I was amongst friends and family that I knew, even if I don’t get to see some of them very often. I even managed to sit through an entire meal next to my dad without coming too close to losing my temper!
I’ve been meditating each evening for almost one week now and, I wonder whether this is a sign that it is helping and that my situation is beginning to improve…