The last week or so has been great - I've not felt depressed, been working hard and getting out and about, and generally felt ready for anything. Then, just when I seem to be doing fine, all cheery, well-balanced and confident, I'm confronted with a form from HMRC to fill in. Not my tax return, it's a claim for Housing Benefit - I moved in August and it's taken me this long in failed attempts (and, in the process, cost me all my savings). Anyway, I sat down at the desk thinking, 'I can do this, no problem, fuss about nothing, it'll be a piece of cake'.
So far, I've ticked two boxes and been asked what trading period I'm showing. Already my heart's racing and there's ringing in my ears and shadows around the edges of my vision, my hands are numb and shaking so much I can barely type, I feel sick and my whole body is shivering. I'm terrified of doing it wrong and getting into more trouble, but reading the things I need to fill in, my brain shuts down and I just want to cry.
They want a breakdown of my expenses for the last tax year, by category - I don't know that, all my receipts are in the form of email notifications, I kept some paper receipts too but I lost them, along with a box of other paperwork which included my accounts, when I moved house (in the stacks of cardboard boxes, I must have taken the wrong one to the tip -.-). I carefully added them up for my tax return already, but not by item type! I do my best, I just find numbers and protocol so hard, especially when it's unfamiliar. What will happen if I get this wrong? I'll lose my home if I don't get this claim sorted out soon, will I go to court, or get a fine which I can't pay?
I'd go to the doctor for help with this, but I haven't even registered at the surgery yet - I don't understand why I have this paralyzing fear of paperwork and red-tape, people say things like 'don't be silly, it's easy once you get started on it, nobody likes paperwork' etc, but I'm sure this isn't normal, I don't know anyone else with such a phobia of protocol that they get panic attacks from simple form-filling, and the worst of it is that society these days is saturated with it. You want help? Fill in a form. Not sure how? Apply for support, by filling in forms. Can't manage that? Oh dear, you'd better fill in a form to explain why, fill in a form to register for the doctor, who will probably ask you to fill in some forms to let him know what the problem is. (Yes I know the surgery one isn't scary, same with the dentist, it just gives me an unpleasant feeling doing it, like being covered in black oil - sorry, that sounds mental but it's the best way I can explain it). This got worse after my nervous breakdown.
I'm sick of this, I hate being this way, in other respects I'm quite bright and capable so it makes me angry and frustrated that I have this stupid crippling fear that I can't seem to beat.