Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Change & Anxiety

I’ve always thought that change is quite a healthy thing when it’s done sensibly. To be constantly evaluating and examining how you can do things in new and better ways and to constantly adjust and improve. I saw a show by Daniel Kitson (who else) a few years ago which motivated change in me. It was about how by breaking a major change into hundreds of tiny elements you can make the big step manageable. It was that show that made me to the small steps into doing stand up and storytelling.

I’m about to have a much bigger change, a new job in a new place, moving house and city and there are moments where it feels terrifying. It’s at those points that this small step thinking starts to kick in – making it more manageable. At the same time I’m lucky as Louise is really supportive too. What I’m finding odd are the bits of change that nestle in the back of my mind and fester there and how weird they are.

I’m going to expand on the three main ones and, you’ll quickly see, they’re pretty unexpected and all give me anxiety.

  • A litany of assorted driving based worries.
    I don’t like driving. I never really have. But for this job I will be driving to work daily. The worries about driving mount daily. Today I drove to Mold in the morning to sort some forms and the worries included: what if 1st gear stops working, am I changing gears smooth enough, what if all the car parking is gone and why is everyone trying to kill me. The final one came from a huge lorry carrying rubble that clearly didn’t see me and cut me up so badly I nearly ended up off the road. There was a moment where I thought, “well they must see me now, I mean there was nowhere I could go”, but no, they ploughed on and I was unceremoniously almost forced into the hard shoulder. Then later on another car  (yellow Vauxhall if you know them?) joining the motorway just ignored that I was in the lane they were entering (they’re meant to wait) and so I had to pull out wide to avoid them crashing into me, then speed up (in a 50 zone) because of the speed another car was going behind me. Horrible. At most I reached 54 mph to avoid the car, but because I’m OCD about speed limits my head went crazy into scenarios about me being arrested, thrown into prison for speeding, perhaps things would happen in prison, essentially it ended with my funeral and no mourners. Then just as that anxiety started to back off I was at a traffic light in 1st gear again wondering if 1st gear was working and if I was changing gears smoothly enough. I mean surely it’ll wear off when I’m commuting regularly? Surely?
  • The gas bill & utilities
    When we moved into our current house I actually burst into tears because I hate sorting utility bills that much. The combination of poor customer service, indecipherable pricing plans, call centres who are frustratingly unable to do anything and gauges that are not clear or are hidden drives me to despair. Gas is the worst, I dread it completely and utterly. That moment when they say “are you sure the property has gas” and you say, “yes, I’m looking at a gas boiler”, and they say “are you sure it’s gas” and you start to doubt whether the blue flame is gas or a figment of your imagination.
  • Remembering Names
    I struggle with names until I’ve met someone 6 or 7 times. It makes me anxious because I then use those markers that scream “I’ve forgotten your name” – such as mate, sir, chap, boss, etc… In a worst case scenario my head forces me to take a punt on their name and there’s a horrible moment where they say, no, that’s not me and look at you as if you’ve killed their cat. That of course makes it worse because at least killing a cat would be better than the embarrassment you ponder. Then just as the anxiety starts to back off you’re at a traffic light in 1st gear wondering if 1st gear is working, if you’ve a speeding ticket from avoiding a collision, whether a truck marked death is just around the next corner and whether, after all that, EON will ring you. Well. I think we can all agree that’s awful.

That said, I’m dead excited about my new job. Even despite these things. Expect lots of blog posts in the next few months about ideas, marketing and doing new things! Night x