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    • alanc21

      I’ve got one piece of advice re people with anxiety disorders: Get medical help. Get it as soon as possible - what helps you most can take some time to determine, so the sooner you make a start at it, the sooner you can be helped. I *know* that even calling to make the appointment can be hard, but if there’s one thing it can be really worth forcing yourself to do, it’s that. Save up the righteous wrath you get every time somebody says something like on the signs above, how angry they make you, try to channel it into making that call if necessary. Why do I say this so strongly? I say it because I wish I had. If I’d had anxiety disorders diagnosed and treated when they started to become really noticeable, my life could have been very different, maybe even good. I’m still being treated, but nowadays I feel that most of I’m doing is trying to cope with the anxiety that’s induced by a life that’s essentially over, and trying not to let the wreckage push me over the cliff. OK, that’s the important bit. Now for the details of why I feel this, and I’ll warn you ahead of time, this goes on a bit. Hopefully not so long it exceeds the Facebook message length. I may break it into bits, with the rest as replies to keep the size down. I may be the king of TL;DR but I do know that people who suffer from anxiety are more willing to put up with my wordiness, maybe because they relate to it. As a kid I was always perceived as “high-strung”. Pretty accurate description. I was also first diagnosed with depression at age 12 - that was long enough ago that most modern anti-depressants weren’t available. While I excelled academically, stuff like PE made my life hell, and that’s where the anxiety kicked in. I had maybe half a day a week where PE didn’t loom in my mind like a large, looming thing - that was on the day I had PE, after the class was over. Next day, the run-up to the next week began. Most of this was always put down to family issues, or standard PE class bullying (you know, the kind where the teachers join in). That ended after a suicide attempt. Anxiety lowered, but depression rose as it turned out I was marked as “unstable” and the PE Mafia that comprised most of the senior staff in my school blocked me from being made a prefect (odd British thing - looks good on a resume in the way that being in some school club would, but was always important for me, since I felt it was a rewards for all the hard work I put in - I could have breezed through classes with great grades, enough for university, but I pushed myself harder, I wanted it badly). By the time I left high school, I was thoroughly depressed at the way I’d been passed over, two years running, in favor of…at times it seemed almost everybody who hadn’t actually tried to burn the school down. University, I got a chance to reinvent myself. Being able to offload a lot of baggage helped, there was nobody who remembered me, nobody thought of me as the guy who tried to kill himself over a little thing like PE. Actually, university was pretty good - focused on work, did well (not quite as well as I’d have liked, and discovered my pushing myself in high school had actually given me an anxiety thing about failure - I didn’t *expect* to fail, but when I did worse than expected, I tended to beat up on myself a lot). Plus there was the annual depression (lived at a high latitude, Seasonal Affective Disorder was common). Still, all in all I had a good time, maybe life was going to turn out well after all. I decided to follow up my degree by starting a Ph.D. First Break - Continues In A Reply

    • alanc21

      The Scottish one is fairly accurate, although far from an “everybody does this” thing, more a “some people do it” thing. The “standard” gift is black bun more often than not, and it’s traditionally preferred if the first-footer is male, tall and dark-haired (no idea why). Also, saying *anything* is a British tradition is way off the mark, since the difference between how New Year’s Eve is celebrated in England/Wales and how Hogmanay is celebrated in Scotland is dramatic, starting with the name. Plus it’s not *so* long ago (the 60s?) that Hogmanay was *the* big holiday at this time of year in Scotland, with Christmas not even being an actual work holiday, while you got Jan 1st and 2nd off to recover from the 31st.

    • alanc21

      I hated working in an open plan office. It was the complete lack of privacy that did it for me, the feeling of absolutely no personal space. The company’s main office was the best cubicle-based office I’d ever seen, and they went out of their way to encourage people there to make their cubes into “their” place, but when they opened our office, it just wasn’t possible to personalize your space, because you didn’t have any. It was the most soulless, bleak, depressing office environment I’ve ever encountered.

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