The last couple of months I’ve felt the happiest I have been for a long time.

Work is good since moving away from the sales floor and the general public. Although I miss my colleagues downstairs I don’t miss the general rudeness and unpleasant treatment from the majority of the paying public. Home and family life is also great. I can watch my daughter at swimming training in the evenings and I’ve begun reading (or rather listening) to audiobooks. I truly don’t know why I’ve never listened to an audiobook before because it’s effortless. Reading normally doesn’t interest me. I can read a few chapters of a book, put it down and then leave it for months before finally picking it back up and going through a few more chapters. With an audiobook to listen to I can carry on drawing at the same time (yes, I know, a man who can multitask) or just sit and chill out. In the last 2 months I have listened to 4 books ranging from Norse mythology, autobiography and historical accounts.

I am also still regularly attending the anxiety cafe both in the evening twice a month, and on a Wednesday morning when it’s my day off.

Which brings me to today’s little outburst.

On looking at the list of activities I noticed that today was to be ‘Movement with Hannah’ and in a little way I was quite keen to take part.

I arrived nice and early, took a seat and was made a lovely cup of tea to warm up with. I cannot stress enough how friendly and welcoming it always is at the cafe and everybody is very accommodating. More people arrived and there was a lovely buzz in the room. One of my favourite things about anxiety cafe is the completely non-judgmental atmosphere at every session. There is never any pressure to take part or even to stay for the whole session.

The session practitioner arrived and she was a lovely lady. Bouncy in character and with lively pink hair she was immediately engaging and took a genuine interest in how we all felt, being incredibly aware of our collective anxiety.

My head however was fully preoccupied with thoughts of what today would involve. I believed that it would be gentle movement in a kind of Tai Chi way and I would end up relaxed and refreshed. My mind was already made up that it was going to be a meditative day.

Epic fail. This was to be my downfall.

The session started calmly enough with some head tilts, shoulder lifts and neck rolls. Great, just what I was expecting. Then I was overcome with a feeling that EVERYONE was looking at me (they weren’t, they were too busy participating). The music got slightly more upbeat and the activity level gradually increased. This was in complete contrast to me who got more self conscious and my activity level stopped.

My eyes fixed on the floor, my hands clasped together and I started running my thumbnail backwards and forwards along the side of my hand.

I looked around and everybody was joining in, doing whatever they felt physically comfortable with and enjoying themselves. Meanwhile the only physical activity coming from me was nervously bouncing legs and tapping fingers.

Why was I this anxious?

Why couldn’t I join in without feeling self conscious?

I made the decision to leave. I hurriedly stood up, got my hat and my coat and left whilst briefly saying my goodbyes and apologising at the same time. All the time still feeling like I was the worst person ever. I opened the door and didn’t look back in case I saw the looks of disappointment in everyone’s eyes. There wouldn’t be any looks of course as everyone is too lovely but my head was telling me “just go home, you’re a failure.”

What brought this feeling on? I have no idea but my immediate thought is that because I made myself think the activity was going to be one thing and it turned out to be another I felt unprepared. I had built my expectations up so high that when it wasn’t what I expected I felt like I’d let myself down. I felt that if I stayed I would have made it less enjoyable for everyone else as they would have been worried about how I was feeling.

I’m now sat at home with a big chicken and bacon pasta salad, Bargain Hunt (standard daytime viewing) on the TV and a cup of tea.

Oh well, the main thing to take away from this is that I tried xx