Afraid of Us

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Let’s take a look at the fear in ourselves, instead.

One thing I notice that often comes with diagnosis besides confusion, sadness, in some cases hopelessness, is a fear of never living a “normal” life, whatever that means. It might have something to do with the YOU’RE SICK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE; HEH, SORRY mentality some doctors, friends, and family project.

Then we become fearful of living at all. We become fearful of our “symptoms”, we become fearful of “losing control”, we become fearful of waking up in the morning.

I remember that fear like it was yesterday, because it probably was yesterday, because I go back and forth. Just to show you I am indeed human and not a robot. You can never really tell these days.

I think fear is healthy. It’s healthy to be vigilant of your emotions, your feelings, your person. It’s not healthy to let that fear run you, to let that fear form opinions about yourself that prevent you from living the life you deserve. If you struggle with your mental health, chances are you’ve been through *some shit*, and deserve a break from that chaos.

There are times when I feel I can’t control my thoughts, or the speed of them, what I see, what I hear. Sometimes I feel I can’t control the vibrating anxiety shaking my body from head to toe, or the creeping depression that sits idle until it’s ready. Then I wonder just exactly why I want control. What makes the anxiety so unbearable? Often it’s because I’m sitting there thinking about how unbearable the anxiety is. That makes the unbearable, unbearable.

What makes us fearful of experiencing something? What if we embrace that fear? What if we let it through the door, make it leave it’s shoes at the bottom of the steps, and invite it upstairs for tea? How hard can it push if there’s nothing to push against?

The truth of life is sometimes things need to just happen. Whether that be anxiety or voices, sometimes it just needs to happen. Sometimes rivers need to run down the mountain. Sometimes plants need extra room to grow. What do you expect to happen if you keep a blooming, growing plant confined in its seedling box? Where do you expect the roots to go? What do you expect to happen to the plant? If you can answer those questions for that example, you can answer those questions for yourself.

I get scared often. I get scared of the demons that follow me around and tell me I’m possessed. I get scared of that feeling of being watched, targeted, followed, by something supernatural, something I can’t fight back against, except with spirit. That scares me. And sometimes I fight it: I obsess over it, and that obsession leads to no sleep, and no sleep leads to increased feelings of being watched, touched, yanked on, clawed, and torn apart.

I’ve been learning along with you all. Sometimes in that fear I simply let myself be fearful. I ask myself what’s the worse that has happened? What’s the worse that can happen? How likely is it to happen? What else could these feelings be attributed to? Is there something going on in my life right now that is making me fearful, sad, angry, and it’s manifesting as this spiritual attack?

The other truth of life is that there are many different reasons for things. And to limit yourself to one reason for one thing is only backing yourself into a corner.

 

The Night

I once saw a bear in my shower. Well, he wasn’t in my shower, he was outside of the doors halfway in my mind, halfway in the bubble of consciousness we call The Universe. Then I saw a spider, the size of my hand, and he was on the door until he wasn’t anymore. Then I was transported to a garden with a grey stone wall and a tree with those cherry blossom flowers, those beautiful pink ones, and in front of the tree stood The Hooded One, in white, and he turned to greet me, or kill me, and I was pulled back from his garden. He visited my garden, my room, he turned my cat’s eyes red, and I was more frightened then I should have been. We were tugged between two wormholes. Then I fell asleep.

One night I discussed the word “working” with an old jazz man. Boy, did we have a good laugh. He asked me how the word should be pronounced, so I laughed and said it out loud for him to hear, and for me to hear, but no one else. He repeated the word, and my laugh, and then said the word with a British accent, and an otherwordly accent, then he asked again, again, and again if he was pronouncing it right. He played some saxophone in the background.

In a house I called myself dead, walking the halls of death row, but I didn’t say it and my feet weren’t mine. There was silence and noise and I was followed underneath the streetlights by the man with only a skin flap for a face, no eyes, no ears, no nose, no mouth, only thoughts which he stole from me. I ran to my car and went home and waited until sunrise.

First I thought I was going crazy, or maybe a little loony, Luna, Lunar, I must be from the moon. Then I decided alien contact and demons and wormholes made much more sense than insanity.

 

My Path

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As a Social Anxiety Enthusiast (by no choice of my own), I’ve spent countless hours wondering if I’m doing it right.

Am I socializing correctly? 

Is this how you’re supposed to stand?

Did I say the right thing?

How stupid did I sound?

Are they talking about me? Are they laughing at me?

Is it awkward I haven’t said anything yet? Better look around and check everyone’s eyes. Shit, you made eye contact, abort, abort, abort! 

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Is a joke appropriate here? That joke was corny as fuck, and they laughed out of pity, better shut your mouth already.

Is it weird that I have no input? Can they tell I can’t think straight? Better just agree with the person next to you. Originality can wait.

Was my opinion too strong? Should I have not taken an absolutist’s point of view? At least Kant would agree with me. But he’s dead so how is that helping? Fuck, just get out of here already. 

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It’s not just face to face contact, it spills over into emails as well. Blogs. Whenever my words come in contact with another person’s eyes or ears I’m worried of their substance. I’m worried if I appear as an average human to them and if I don’t . . .

Well, I’m not quite sure why my anxiety cares if I appear as an average human to people or not. Sure, I’ve always been confused on how to connect with my peers (since pre-school), but I don’t have a clear memory of caring whether or not people accepted me until late in elementary school. I believe that’s when I grew self-aware that I’m not like the others.

People determining my personality “shy” became an insult. When teachers requested I “speak up” I grew so enraged the rage fell out of my eyes as tears. School was no longer a place to learn, to grow, to develop, it became a house of trauma. 

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I never grew out of it because it wasn’t something to grow out of. It was something that needed to be addressed that wasn’t.

They weren’t inside of my head, they didn’t know how much I could talk. The only way they could see an ounce of intelligence was through reading and writing, the fact that I ran circles around my peers. It kept my peers from finding reasons to bully me. I was never once bullied to the extent many other quite kids are. Perhaps because I bullied the bullies who attacked the little disabled girls who didn’t know how to stand up for themselves.

Maybe it was because I was with the kids with the tazers and the weed who hung out with the adults and pretended to be adults. Maybe it was because I exploded alcohol in the library, got told on, threatened the kids who told on me, and walked out of the principals office unscathed, no punishment, with the entirety of the school believing the snitches had just over-reacted. And, regardless of my anxiety, I would stand up for myself and if I didn’t, the people behind me would.

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Did any of that help? No, it only isolated me further.

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Once the cool kids moved onto high school and I was left with two more years in junior high alone. I had to establish my own personality and I couldn’t.

I wasn’t a stranger to being alone in my head. In fact, I quite liked it. I’d liked it since before I new school existed. I created worlds in my head I could never explain in words and they never went away. In fact, I continually retreat to them when I’m not sure what to do. They are the reason I can dissociate, blink, and wonder where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing and how time has passed without my recognition of it.

Although these worlds, and the people I’ve placed in them, have given me better advice than any physical adult has in my life, I wouldn’t want another child to grow up like I had and be forced to retreat into a fake world and merge their personality with the personality of the little people in their head. It comes with a price.

You think you’re “going crazy”. 

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You ignore the fact that you’ve created them and although sometimes it feels you’re interacting with them on their own accord, as if they’re speaking with you freely, you’re the puppet master. You’re giving yourself advice and soothing yourself through the ruse of an imaginary character in your head. If that sounds confusing, imagine how it would be for a ten year old.

You get very used to being with yourself and talking with yourself, and not very used to speaking with other people or being open with other people to the point where you don’t see a point in trying anymore.

My anxiety was left unattended and depression joined me at age ten. If I were to choose the worst of the two, I couldn’t. They go hand-in-hand; they wouldn’t be as bad as they are if one didn’t exist.

In all honesty, I prefer depression. It’s soothing. It’s calm. You move slow, you think slow, nothing matters. If I wanted to spend my life like that, depression would be ideal. You know, minus the suicidal part of it all.

coping-with-anxiety-and-depression-722x406Anxiety has the capacity to frighten me because it snatches away all rationality. Depression doesn’t always do that to me. Anxiety urges my insomnia, it makes me pay attention to my heart rate, it makes me think the finest cut on my hand will contract the deadliest disease. I carry a USB file of all the files on my computer since 2009 with me at all times in case there’s a fire when I leave the house. I can’t keep a single thing neat. I can’t focus. The tiniest thing causes so much stress I end up doing nothing in hopes of quelling the stress and then stress out about the fact that I’m doing nothing. 

The seemingly unimportant behaviors I expressed as a child has birthed something much grander than expected.

It’s prevented me from writing the fiction I used to love to write. And this, you see, is taking it to a whole other level. Now, I’m pissed.

The reason I can’t find myself to write, the reason why it’s so hard for me to type this information about these thoughts right now, is because I feel I’m being watched.

Now, hear me out here. 

stock-vector-sketch-illustration-of-puppet-master-hand-256704700After speaking with a crisis line the other day (congratulations self, you didn’t blow your head off), they helped me realize the reason I’ve suddenly dropped all the things that used to keep me sane without even knowing they did. It’s not because I don’t have time for it, like I somehow convinced myself over the last few months, it’s because I’m convinced every (fictional) sentence I write, every idea I come up with, is being judged by someone who has either passed on into whatever afterlife there may (or may not) be or by the fictional characters I’m writing about.

It could be the result of unattended anxiety. And it probably is. But I found it odd because when I tried to rationalize my way out of it, I find no loophole. 

It’s all spiraling out of control. This is why I’m a strong advocate for educating teachers on mental health. I’m a huge advocate of preventative care done right. Back in 1999, 2000, I wouldn’t have expected any of my teachers to predict this or to recognize those behaviors.

But it’s 2016. We have stylish electric cars, we have smartphones that interact with Virtual Reality headsets. We’ve teleported messages between particles.

I think we can give our teachers and the public a little more education on mental health.

Little Dogs Are Trouble

There is only one real disadvantage I see being alone and up all night.

I just lied straight through my teeth. Let me start again.

There are only two real disadvantages I see being alone and up all night.

  1. I feel like things are watching me
  2. I’m alone

That about sums up my night tonight–or early morning, whatever you want to call it. If I were still focusing on my classes I’d probably be up scrambling for my test that would have been today. Instead, I’m sitting here unable to sleep thinking about the fact that I’m unable to sleep. How droll.

Driving down the road at two in the morning is nice because there’s no traffic. It sucks because I’m paranoid about every set of headlights behind me, every set of headlights coming at me, and I’m paranoid that someone, or some thing (I don’t even like typing that because I know it’s watching me type it) is sitting in the back seat. Today it felt like the front seat.

My boyfriend’s room has motion sensor lights so whenever it goes out I freak and do some frantic jumping jacks so we’re not left alone in the dark. I always feel like things are in his room too. I’m starting to think either I’m being followed by it or I’m just tripping balls. Those are really the only two options.

Then here comes my dad’s friend leaving his damn dog with us for four days. It’s a tiny thing and cute:
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However, she is incredibly old and apparently has to deal with a lot of crap at my dad’s friend’s house. I don’t know the whole reason why she’s been with us for four days, but it’s taking a toll on her. She’s scared. She shakes. She shakes then she vomits. When she pees all over the place. Then she vomits some more. Then she sleeps all day. Then she vomits again. Then she eats. Then she scratches. Then she does some weird ass thing with her mouth by opening it and kind of trying to crack an imaginary walnut lodged in the left side of her mouth. We don’t know why she does this. But there must be something wrong with that side of her, because she’ll drag the left side of her face across the carpet and whine. I don’t know man, she’s not our dog, we can’t do anything for her.

He needs to take her back. We’re not even supposed to have animals in this fucking apartment.

Apartment number 6, the new managers since the old one got fired, “has their eyes and ears open”.

I’m not kidding. The landlord sent a message out telling people not to store their stuff on the balconies of their apartments (where the fuck are they going to put their stuff?) and then added that “apartment number 6 has their eyes and ears open”.

What the fuck? You want us to be afraid or some shit? The apartment number six with the weird bearded quiet dude who skateboards with his son while his daughter rides her bike in the middle of the parking lot? The apartment number six with the woman who walked into the bread store where my mom works and when my mom greeted her as our neighbor she went “hmph”? The apartment number six that barely moved in here a year ago? The apartment number six that fucking can’t take time out of their fucking non-existent schedule to take their kids to the park one block away so they’re not skate boarding up and down the hallways with risk of getting hit and annoying people who had to work all night and sleep all day? That apartment number six?

We have a history with this management. Years ago they evicted us because some on-site manager was a bitch and complained about us. She was a drunk and a drug addict and although my dad helped her out with a lot of things, she stabbed us in the back because they got in an argument one time. Anyway, we took to sleeping in tents, rooms of other people’s houses, and hotels for three years until we moved into this place. Back then it was owned by a different management. They were cool, the rent wasn’t too bad, they didn’t do a credit check (which was the whole reason my family couldn’t find a place to live) and they didn’t come around much.

Then they got bought out by the same management company that kicked us out all those years ago. So they know us very, very well. And we walk on thin ice with these people. So if #6 decides to flap their fucking lips about apartment #2 having a dog, well we’ll be royally fucked, won’t we?

Not really. I doubt they’d make a big deal about it. But they could, that’s the problem.

Anyway, I don’t particularly like authority, remember? So the fact that #6 were stuck up assholes before they became stuck up managers makes me despise them even more. I don’t want those people to have control over me. I’d sock that bitch right in her face if she came up and tried to tell me something.

I’m sorry; it’s late, I’m sick of not being able to sleep, I’m tired, and honestly I could go for a good fight. It’s a great way to release pent up energy. I need a punching bag.

Ugh. I’m just so unsatisfied with everything. I’m unsatisfied with how I’m performing in school, I’m unsatisfied with sleep, I’m unsatisfied being alone, and I’m unsatisfied about being unsatisfied. I feel like there’s something I need to do, something I need to accomplish, but can’t figure out what it is.

I’m just unsatisfied. Hmm.

If I could fucking sleep, I’d be sleeping all day. I’m not unsatisfied with sleep.