• Michelle Partington

Stand-up to Stigma

Another set of symptoms up there for me are 'social anxiety', 'hyper alertness' & 'avoidance'. These I find difficult to cope with because they affect me mentally & physically. I will discuss the last couple of days to give you an idea....

As I have already mentioned on previous blogs I have been attending workshops to learn how to be a stand-up comedian. I attended three 2 hour sessions so not very long really. Following the 6 hours I had to deliver a 5 minute routine to a live audience, which is what I did last night. Now I am aware that this task would put an immense amount of pressure on anyone. Standing up talking to people is nerve racking enough. Doing this as a comedy routine wondering if anyone is going to laugh is an immense amount of pressure!! So why would I do this if I already suffer from high anxiety and social anxiety?..

The person I used to be would be the life and soul of any party, now it takes me every effort to leave my front door. I have to really concentrate and psych myself up, and there is so much preparation now. The local bingo hall or the 'phoenix nights' style club has been the limit for an afternoon or evening out up to now. Travelling to Manchester on the bus and getting off a couple of stops from the venue has been the closest I've been to a busy town centre to attend the workshops. I decided I had to commit and see this through to the end for a 3 very good reasons: It was for charity, to support the other ladies taking part and to prove to myself that I still had something about me; and I seriously needed a boost of confidence because I had lost it completely.

Apart from the massive pressure I placed on myself to do the stand-up I thought it would make absolute sense to move into my new home and decorate it the same week....one of the 5 most stressful things anyone can do in their life, AWESOME!!!!

So how did this affect me? I won't go over the 'school nights' again as I have already covered them, except to say that I always sat at the back of the bus right next to the emergency door!!!

Yesterday morning I was at the house painting and then rushed to shower and psych myself up ready for the bus journey which was much quicker. I was extremely anxious because I was to meet 'The Short & Girlie Show' ladies to hand over the music for the charity song. I then had to find my way (walking) through town to the Bangkok Bar for rehearsals prior to the gig. Then in the interval of our show I had to trot back through town to film the charity song. Thankfully my good friend Leanne drove me there and back which calmed me a little. Then finally back to Bangkok Bar for the rest of the stand-up - phew!!!

I was stressy about timings, stressy about my show, stressy because I'm too hyper vigilant watching everything inside and outside and I just never came down from it. I had some lunch at 12 ish yesterday but that was it. I was far too anxious to eat anything. I had a headache, I felt sick, light headed and at one point it felt like someone was sitting on my chest!! I did learn a new coping mechanism last night though; I was about to have an anxiety attack but I was in front of too many people to escape. Instead of running out I found a hiding place behind the screen and took some deep breaths without being too obvious about it. I thankfully handled it and all was bon! I was too high up there to enjoy a great nights sleep.

I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been beaten up from top to toe. I'd been that tense yesterday that all my muscles where shouting at me and still are. I spent all day at the house helping build a cabinet and painting, now I'm completely washed out and in bed before 8pm!!! The last couple of days have been an emotional roller coaster but I feel elated because I achieved my task and it went really well ;)


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