Earlier today I was starting to get some inspiration, so I messaged E with a random question – very usual behaviour I must add! The question was “would you say that apprehension is a strong characteristic of mine or one of my worst faults?” I told you it was strange – but bless her she responded, and I think it’s going to be easiest to quote her – with her permission.
“I think it is a character trait that all of us have but at times it is strong in you – for you it causes you to become anxious. Some might say you can over think which causes the apprehension to become worse. However I do believe you know this about yourself – it certainly is not a fault”
Crikey am I blessed to have a friend who knows me so well and who is so wise!
So why did I ask E this question in the first place?
I think it started when I was leading some training online earlier to one person, a colleague and friend who I have known for over 10 years. I was really nervous about it beforehand, had practiced on the husband this morning and was physically shaking all the way through.
I think I’m apprehensive in two ways physically and mentally
I’ve always been someone who has wanted to stay safe. When I was younger there were lots of things I wouldn’t try because I didn’t know what they would feel like. Even though other people, including my friends would try them I often wouldn’t. One example is escalators, my mum refuses to go down them, I always thought I was scared of them to, until I went down one and it was absolutely fine. Similarly with roller-coasters, I wouldn’t go on them, I then tried one and absolutely loved it and will now quite happily go on any of the big and scary ones.
In my teenage years and since, the diagnosis of epilepsy has not helped my general apprehension. With alcohol for example, I didn’t drink until just before 18, and then I wouldn’t mix drinks as I was scared of the effect to my epilepsy. When I would go out with my friends I would ALWAYS let my parents know if we moved to a different pub – this was in the days before mobiles – bet my parents and friends loved that. But I wanted to make sure they knew in case something happened.
Now I think my apprehension is much more mental than physical – but that’s probably more because I don’t put myself in those physical situations if we’re being completely honest.
Over the years I have done many public talks at church, church groups, collective worship (assemblies), I’ve received much positive feedback BUT nearly every single time before I do the talk I have a read through with E or Gav or both. I know I have had success before, but I do not have the confidence in myself. I worry about what the response will be. When I play keyboard and sing publicly I get so nervous, that I’m physically shaking.
At the moment the apprehension I’m having is in my work life and my personal life. I haven’t been in a classroom for a few months, I know I can teach, but all I can think about is everything I’ve missed, everything everyone else has done that I haven’t, everything that could go wrong, even though I know that it has been a necessity has been beneficial. Personally, One example is I want to get back to a point where I can go running again, but I’m apprehensive. I stopped running because my seizure frequency increased and I was twitchy most days and kept losing my footing, bad enough when walking but even worse when running. I did go for a run, last year, but as predicted I lost my footing and fell over, grazing my knee and hand quite badly. I also want to have confidence in my own ability.
I do think E is right I am aware of my apprehension, it does cause me anxiety – which I often don’t deal with well, and I probably do over-think a lot of things as well.
I’m not sure there is an answer. I don’t think I’m going to suddenly be a ball of confidence, taking a load of risks. But I do think I’m getting to a place where I’m feeling more confident about who I am. Maybe the next time I write a talk, I won’t need to read it through to E?