Feeling Anxious About Attending the Young Adult Kidney Group Residential Weekend 2023

Feeling Anxious About Attending the Young Adult Kidney Group Residential Weekend 2023

Hey There! 😀

This is my second year attending the Kidney Care UK Young Adult Kidney Group Residential weekend and as much as I am super excited to attend, I think I am also quietly anxious at the prospect.

I wanted to document some of these feelings to prove to myself after the fact that it was all just anxiety and maybe a bit of social panic. Perhaps, this will help me next year when I get the jitters again. Also, if anyone else out there happens to read this, then you're not alone in sometimes feeling uneasy before a big event and I wanted to let you know that it's okay and you just got to keep going!

A Little About Me

My name is Lai and I am currently 26 years old living and working on Home Peritoneal Dialysis (Baxter) which I set up myself. I live with my two parents in the UK, and currently waiting on the national transplant list.

Social Anxiety

This is a bit of a funny one because I would say I am naturally an extroverted person in that I really enjoy talking to people. However, I am definitely rusty at the initiation of small talk. I'm really good at introducing myself and giving a good "How are you?" starter but I struggle when the response is lacklustre and the dead silence begins and I lose my cool. In fact, this tends to knock my confidence entirely and I become a bit of a mouse afterwards. I guess I'll have be careful as to who I choose to speak to first when I arrive!

My social anxiety has only really gotten worse since I started to work form home and having a significantly reduced circle of friends due to the pandemic and just from the inconvenience that is daily overnight dialysis. Sometimes I do feel like I am a bit out of touch with what young adults are into these days.

I feel a little bit worried about making friends at the weekend. Last year I did get by, but I was much more focused on myself and just enjoying all the activities on offer, also I think I remembered nobody's name. However, this year, I really want to make an effort at making stronger connections with individuals (by remembering their names) which I hope I can carry throughout the year.

Dialysis Set Up Anxiety

This is a big one.

I have become a germaphobe when it comes to dialysis set up, as I should be, to be honest. However, I find it has kinda bled into many areas of my life. I am really working on it because I think it can become a bit debilitating and impacts my daily life.

For example, sometimes I find it hard to be close to others particularly my kid nieces and nephews. Ugh they're little germ factories going to schools and playgrounds!

I do understand why I have become so scared of germs, it's because of dialysis and the pandemic, there was constant media blast on being clean and avoiding infection. Well, message received!

I have certainly dialysed away from home, but it is never truly a pleasant experience.

Firstly, you have this intense pressure of making sure you perform all the steps absolutely perfectly because you are away from home and the PD unit that you know and are familiar with is FAR AWAY so you better get it right!

Secondly, you're far away from home and your plentiful stock and so you also feel this pressure to not make a mistake because you probably don't have many spares to replace dropped caps and faulty cassettes.

But, probably the most harrowing is the cleanliness of being in a new environment. You have no control over the room and bathroom hygiene and thinking and typing about it even now is actually making me want to shut my eyes and vomit. I am such a visual person. It just gives me absolute creeps on the back of my neck.

I think there is some logic to this crazy but there is a lot of irrational fear too.

Irrationality tends to win and so I bring a lot with me when I go away to ensure I 'feel' safe and clean in my dialysis prep such as bringing in spare ancillaries, ordering more fluid than I necessarily need to be delivered, bringing surface covers and plastic surfaces that are easy to clean. I mean I am literally one suitcase away from bringing a table with me from home! I need to be stopped!

In the past, I have brought bedding which I think is excessive but that is just how insane I have become and I have never regretted it. This year, I am bringing mainly pillow cases and I will just lie one down one where my stomach would typically roll over when I sleep and one for my actual pillow. It probably does nothing but it truly gives me comfort!

Maximalist/Perfectionist Dread

This is an interesting one. So, since starting dialysis, going on holiday away from the home has become such a pain and is not something I do very often. In fact, this year, going on the YAKG weekend will be my only dialysing away from home holiday due to my change in PD prescription that has just made shifting boxes ancillaries an absolute nightmare. I have literally double the amount of stuff than I used to have.

There is a lot of pressure on this weekend to be great and to get the most out of the weekend.

What I mean is that: I am a pretty lonely human being. I basically work from home 5 days a week and have most of my social intereactions with my family only. My friends I connect with via social media and video calls but they tend to all live afar.

Which means, I am acutely aware that this weekend is a big opportunity to (1) make more friends, (2) have good in person social interactions and (3) have that holiday away from home experience.

It's a lot of pressure!

The expectation I have put on the weekend is so high! I want to have the best time in challenging myself in all the activties, I want to make good memories with new and friends I have made in the previous weekend. I want to also network with the volunteers and organisers because I want to do more with this blog, volunteering and just being more present in the kidney community.

It's completely outrageous really! The perfectionist in me is bursting with: "I should try to have the best time I can possibly can" and "I need to sign up for every activity" and "I should try to make as many friends as I can and make sure everyone is having a good time too if they're new". But the end of these thoughts, I want to curl up in a ball and just be done with it all. Exhausted.

Wow.... I really am a bit crazy! haha.

Writing it all down, I totally see that I need to just calm the f*** down. But these are genuinely all the emotions I have been feeling leading up to the weekend. Some seem more justifiable than others, but I see that a lot of it is quite insignificant.

All I truly wish is that I have the best time that I can and that my dialysis goes well and safely too!

I'll hopefully have another post of me after the weekend and I will see that all this anxiety, dread and exhaustion went up in smoke.

Speak soon, Lai

Update: it's all gone to sh*t, I've gone and cut my finger with the knife as I was chopping onions for the curry buns I was making for the weekend. I don't know how rock climbing and all the physical activities will be without a strong grip. Plus it really hurts.

Oh yeah! I am also paranoid the food will make me bloat like last year. I am super sensitive to salt and have high blood pressure. My new PD prescription is a massive sign of this. This year I am bringing some of my own home cooked food to battle the water retention!



IGA Nephropathy confirmed at 21. Crashed into End Stage Renal Failure at 23. Now, I share with the world my 3 years lived experience on Home Peritoneal Dialysis and Post Transplant Living 10/10/2023