‘After my mobile phone rang for the 4th time this morning and I didn’t answer it, I realised that my anxiety really does creep in to every aspect of my life…’
Don’t Answer the Door
I live on the other reaches of a very rural village in Cardigan Bay and, well, there are very few cold callers here. This makes me extremely happy.
When I lived back in Scotland, I got them all the time and very rarely ever answered my front door. I’m no more willing to answer it now, just in case it’s the guy from the Farmer’s Union coming round to grill me about where I buy my sausages and whether or not they’re local. They are, in case you’re wondering. I’m still not answering the door, though.
I am not the kid of person who enjoys opening my door and finding people on the other side of it. Particularly when these people want me to be interested in whatever it is they’re selling.
Because of this, and from bitter experience of the golden days when I actually opened my door and ended up signing up for something so that I didn’t offend anyone, I know that opening the door will only lead to more stress in the long run. You have no idea of the charities I’ve supported that I still don’t really know the aim of.
So, as a point of warming: if you’re selling anything, bringing me news of schools you’ve built in underdeveloped nations and/or bringing me the word of The Lord; don’t bother. I don’t answer. However, bring along a cute dog that I can hear snuffling outside and you’ll be able to sign me up for literally anything.
Don’t Answer the Phone
In a similar vein to that of not answering the door, I also don’t answer my home phone. To be honest, I barely answer my mobile, so the chances of me picking up a phone when I can’t see who’s on the end of the line are slim.
The upshot of this is that I often receive a text message (usually from my sister) telling me to pick up. Les has done the same on several occasions. Everyone that knows me is aware that I just don’t answer.
As far as I’m concerned, if you need to get hold of me, you can use text/Whapsapp/Snapchat/fb messenger or a whole host of other methods. FYI, I’m a big fan of smoke signals. I might not always respond to messages instantly, but I always get there eventually.
I have, rather amusingly, taken to checking missed calls on my mobile from random 0161 numbers. I wait for them to ring off and then casually google the details to see who it was. Clearly, I’d have found this out if I’d just answered the bloody thing, but this is a teeny step too far for me.
I rarely give out my number and certainly don’t encourage any kind of phone chatting. When I don’t recognise a number, I see no reason to pick up. 9 times out of 10, I am rewarded by comments on ‘Who Called’ website which recount tales of annoying call centres asking about PPI or offering me compensation from a recently delayed flight.
Put My Head Down When I Leave a Room/Building
I met a very good friend of mine when I lived in Scotland. The lady in question happened to live next door to me with her husband and three young kids. Now, due to my anxiousness, I didn’t actually make any effort to befriend this women and we literally lived side by side for 3 years before we ever really spoke.
My ex husband got us together after realising we were both running in the evenings and both doing it alone. He suggested we got together and the rest is history. Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing this.
I knew my neighbour was called Gaynor because sometimes we got mail for her which I’d take round. I knew what she looked like, but I didn’t know a single other thing about her. Now you might this this is truly anti social and indeed it is, but it’s also quite an impressive feat. I lived in a small cul de sac of 8 houses and successfully managed to avoid every single person who lived there.
Now, you might think this is truly anti social, and indeed it is, but it’s also quite a feat. I lived in small cul de sac of 8 houses and successfully managed to avoid every single person that lived there.
Anyway, despite the unrivalled success of my new friendly, I haven’t changed my ways. If anything, I’ve gotten steadily worse. I still dart between my car and my house, horridly fishing about my bags for keys and desperately trying to unlock the back door before anyone appears on my door step. Slamming the door behind me is my triumphant signal that I have made it through another day without any addition interaction.
Why I still insist on doing this when I live in the middle of nowhere is beyond me. I no longer have any neighbours to speak of and my house is located on a dead end road. I think I’m just concerned that on the off chance I relax, someone will undoubtedly appear behind me and start asking me about my day. Even Idris Elba would get a very short conversation with me if he happened to stumble across my doorstep.
I am aware of the names of some residents who live within a quarter mile or me, despite having never conversed with anyone but the person who lives closest. And even this is largely due to the fact that I used to work beside her.
I am, however, keenly aware that the local village knows all too well who I am. I am ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, or ‘Mrs Tam’. I can only assume they know me because of Les and, aside from the fact that they seem to know I’m Scottish (the late night bagpipe playing often gives me away…), they know nothing else. And that’s very much the way I like it.
It’s not that I’m particularly secretive, I just don’t say very much. In 3 years, taking my former colleague aside, I have spoken to one other person who lives nearby, and this is only because he crashed into the back of my car in the main street. In my defence, I have waved at the local farmer as he scoots past my garden in an attempt to round up his rather mischievous sheep.
I have also issued an apology to a window fitter who was working on a farm building down the road and had left the property door open. My staffie, Jake, decided this was the perfect opportunity to see if this new person would like to give him some belly scratches. He did.
Aside from this dog-related interaction, I have managed to avoid all human contact. I have, however, had many conversations with the local sheep, a local bull, and the rabbit who visits my garden for the sole purpose of eating my sunflowers. They don’t respond, obviously, and this only makes me like them even more.
Take Time Out
I have no kids and no longer have my doggo, so I pretty much have the freedom to do whatever I want, when I want. This would be ideal if my anxiety didn’t restrict me at every turn.
I live with my husband and his job means that he’s often on call and he works pretty long hours. This means I spend a fair bit of time on my own at home. For someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, this allows me to have a good chunk of time out to spend on my own and just not interact with anyone.
This is no reflection on him, of course, but it does give me plenty of time to do some blogging about how I’m feeling, or go out for a run to clear my head without having to explain it.
When all else fails, I take to bed with an audio book and drift into some horrendous true crime podcast about dismembered bodies washing up ashore in British Columbia. You’d be surprised how much that takes your mind off other things.