Many of us experience it, all to vary degrees. To some it is crippling, debilitating, to others, simply a nuisance, an unwanted gaze on a cold day. For myself… it is well, somewhere close to the effect of Yellowstone exploding inside my head, each and every moment.
At twenty, I don’t have the biggest hold on life in any respect, I will be the first one to hold my hands up to that. And although that is the case there are a few things I do understand, and that is how different my life could be. Also what is required for that change. Though, knowing and doing are two completely separate things. Doing is a dream we all hope for, yet rarely ever reach.
We all know what it is to feel anxious at some point in our lives: a job interview, the first day of a new school or university, a date – you understand. That’s normal to feel anxious in those situations, it is the natural response to keep us cautious, wary of what we might come to face, be that a lion or a scary person in a too-tight suit. Things have changed in the world, but that fight or flight response remains the same, unknown that we no longer have to run through miles of grassland, but miles upon miles of streets, of roads and inevitable human interaction. Yes… human interaction.
Suffering from this, sometimes I understand it is hard for a person who does not, just like I don’t know what it is to live in Mexico. I may appear rude, dismissive, but that is not me. That is not us. Simply… imagine a filter, anything that reveals anything of yourself, of your feelings – however trivial, none of that can be said, it cannot pass the filter in the mind, as much as I would like it to. Approaching someone I don’t know, buying something in a shop, attending a job interview, walking the dog, asking people questions, public speaking, being intimate – mentally and physically. They are all great hurdles. Some are approachable on a good day, on bad days, leaving the house at all can be troublesome.
Over the years I have heard so many things, the most irritating: Just do it! They’re just people! What are you afraid of! Everyone else manages! That’s nothing! You’re joking! You want me to do that, do it yourself! I’ve learnt to take them with a pinch of salt, to no longer feel the little stab after each one is said. I wish for greater understanding of things you cannot see nor envisage. But I know that is a pipe dream.
Don’t think I’m bitter, it’s just painful knowing that people have the same expectations for myself as they do for all the other people who can manage just fine in this cruel world. I remember this when people push things onto me, because to them, I am a normal person. And being normal is an ideal I’ve been desiring for a long time. So, I’ve learnt to take nothing personally, because I know in most cases it is not meant as such. Still, it’s hard to accept this burden of normalcy, when I am anything but. Although over time the acceptance has grown, and slowly I’m coming to understand my quirks and intricacies. I am who am I, is that something I want to fundamentally change? No, I don’t think so. Only, it’s something I want to manage – to live with.
I try to push myself, though it is not easily done. My ordeal during my week at university demonstrates that as well as anything. And I did try, no matter how it seems from the outside. It killed me. I could take no more. That is the sad and unfortunate reality.
You can’t let these things get you down too much though. Over time it will kill you, it has torn me apart. Remember there are always seccond chances. Don’t feel ashamed. Don’t feel alone in this lonely world. There are others out there! Others just like us, you!
I implore any of you who suffer with even anything remotely similar, to help yourselves, to get help before realising it too late, that too much time has passed.