From the start...

So my social anxiety…

I have ups but I also have big down days and that’s unfortunately what I concentrate on the most.

I have lived with social anxiety all my life but didn’t know what it was I was suffering until 3/4 years ago. For some reason realising what I had and seeking help actually put me back, which I still don’t understand to this day why it happened.
Getting a diagnosis did help me realise why I was feeling and behaving in certain ways at certain points and it was almost a relief to think and say “this is why I am like this and it’s not the true me.”

I suffered a lot at school through social anxiety and I believe this may have affected my learning to some degree. I was upset a lot at school because I didn’t like being there, and I didn’t like my school friends and people in my class seeing me like that. I just wanted to get out of there.

Put me on the football field or on my bike and my worries were gone. Then school time arrived and it started again. I especially used to hate reading and presenting in front of everyone in class. When playing football, I used to play well with friends but when it came to match day I didn’t like the pressure and I didn’t like getting the ball and the focus being on me (which is a shame as I loved football and I believe I was fairly good).

I’ve always not been great at being poorly, especially being sick or having a headache; so I used to worry and stress about being at school or out somewhere and feeling ill. The thought of not being able to just get home where I feel comfortable was worse than actually being ill.

The next stage of my life with anxiety is where it gets really frustrating for me. I was more confident and better with situations when I was at college and university. I went to many music concerts with friends, football matches with friends, a trip to excel in London for the day (major for me), holiday trips abroad, to Devon and to London. During all these trips and events I did have some symptoms – feeling slightly sick and being light headed – but it never stopped me and I managed to go.

After uni I started my business which let me do what I love for a career and gave me freedom to work hours that suit me and in a location I chose. However, it didn’t get me out and talking with colleagues so it was a bittersweet situation.

At my most down point, I struggled to go to the shopping centres, out for tea and going to family members houses as I felt I couldn’t leave if I didn’t feel good.

After slowing improving I set myself bigger and bigger tasks. I was going to business meetings again, going to Sheffield to meet Mark Webber, going to MTBMeetup, going to Cyclefest and a few more big events. A lot of the opportunities have come through TotalMTB so this has not only got me out on my bike but I’ve met great people both personally and through business and they are all extremely supportive which helps massively.

Things recently have massively changed for me with getting married and having my first child. The first three months with the newborn was challenging as she had bad reflux but my confidence from the summer has been good.

During the last 2 to 3 weeks I’ve been getting really down because I’ve been stressed through trying to sort big stuff for TotalMTB and missing out on going to things I really wanted to like Lady Cannings with friends. At the minute I’m unsure if I’m going to wake up with a tension headache (which is a killer for me and almost makes me bed bound) so it’s extremely frustrating.
Again, I’ve been invited to go tomorrow but because I’m already not feeling great I’m frustrated with myself because I can’t see myself going and, again, it’s going to knock me.

This then makes me give future events and commitments second thoughts like this year’s MTBMeetup, Northern Grip and other events.

I am a fairly confident driver and I don’t have a problem with driving on the motorway but I do get anxious driving to new places and over long distances (I was bad after driving to MTBMeetup and to Devon but fine the next day). Most of my problems would be sorted if I could teleport myself to and from places: that would mean I could go somewhere see friends and come home straight away if not feeling good. Usually I forget about how I’m feeling and enjoy myself once there with friends, it’s just the journeys.

If it’s a big thing for me, I firstly stress about waking up with a headache and, if I don’t, I worry about being sick on the way. If not, I worry about getting a bad headache once I’ve come home or even the following day.

It’s so frustrating!

I’d like things to be right and I want to be back to how I was! For 6 months I commuted to Hull for work everyday which was a 2 hour round trip each day. As I write this on my phone I’m in bed with a bad tension headache feeling extremely frustrated and down and my friends are going to Lady Cannings tomorrow.

Friends have offered to pick me up so I don’t have to worry about the drive. Yes, that solves one problem but also creates another: I wouldn’t want them to see me anxious and feeling ill through anxiety. I also wouldn’t be fully in control as I would feel like I have to stay until they’re done. If they brought me home early I would feel awful for making them bring me home away from the trails.

I would love to go to MTB events and Expos as I want to meet and connect with brands which will help me and help TotalMTB develop while enjoying a day out with friends… but I couldn’t even think about doing that right now!

The #TotalMTB crew, race riders and ambassadors are talking about meeting up, going to the Atherton’s bikepark and Revs and I would love to go. Not only because I’d love to meet them all, but also because they are places I want to go and experience.

I am really struggling at the minute to believe I can do it. If I can it will hopefully bring my confidence back up but if I don’t I’m not sure how much it would knock me.

I do have a lot of regrets in life – not being able to do certain things and go certain places but I know in myself if I tried to push myself I would have made myself ill.

My brain never shuts off and I struggle to praise myself. When I’ve done a big thing either personally (going to MTBMeetup) or business (creating numerous successful businesses) I can’t think I did well and praise myself; instead I just think that was ok and move onto the next job or venture.

I have fantastic support from Tracy (my wife), which I’m very grateful for, but I do regret not being able to take her places and do things she would have wanted. Also, I do fear that if my daughter wants to do something or go somewhere and my anxiety stops me, it’s stopping her from experiencing it or she goes but without me and I can’t be there with her. What about if I wake up with a tension headache and Tracy is at work? I honestly don’t think I’d be able to push through because when I do get the headache the feeling of nausea just magnifies.

When I look at my life though I don’t understand why I’m worrying because I am quite lucky. I’ve bought my own house, run my own business, have a beautiful wife, now have a beautiful daughter, have great friends, a loving family surrounds me. So why? Why am I feeling like this?

I will try to keep sharing my experiences with you and hopefully it won’t only help me but could potentially help you too. If there’s anything you’d like to ask please go ahead as I’m pretty open to discussing most stuff.

If anyone wants to talk to me in private by all means email me or send me a DM on Insta or Twitter.

#TotalMTB have partnered up with an anxiety charity (No Panic) to try and further help others and bring more awareness to it. We also try and do as much as we can to raise money for anxiety charities through clothing sales and we have more to come in the future.

I have added videos and infographics to this page (below if you’re on a smart device) to try and give people an insight into what it’s like to live with anxiety (the symptoms, the mental effects, the physical effects and more). Hopefully, you can learn something you didn’t know before and therefore help family or friends you think may be affected. You can find more information on the internet can social media including Google, YouTube and Pinterest, just search for anxiety.

Written by: Ryan – #TotalMTB Founder
Instagram: @RazOldfield
Twitter: @RazOldfield
Facebook: /RazOldfield


If you need help or advice you can contact No Panic via:
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Helpline – 0844 967 4848
Office – 01952 680460

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