I Am Afraid of People, but Mostly I'm Afraid of Myself
Anxiety has been part of me for as long as I can remember.
To different degrees throughout my life, but always creeping near by.
I sometimes think I have it under control, but other times I obviously don’t.
As the years passed by, the power it had over me was overwhelming.
It devoured my confidence and tried to make sure I never saw the light of self-love and worthiness.
And it started to govern me. It whispered to me what I could or couldn’t do.
The worst and most difficult thing it’s made me believe is that I shouldn’t talk or be seen.
This fear has taken over my life to a point where I am hardly living.
Because nothing I do is worth it, because I won’t make it, because I wouldn’t even know what or how to do it.
And the dreams and aspirations I had became foggy or forgotten.
I got nervous when people would walk by, making minimal eye contract or no eye contact at all.
I fear groups of people laughing are laughing at me. I fear I’ll be judged. I fear I’ll never be enough.
What if they want to talk? Oh please no, I have nothing to say, nothing to offer.
I started feeling more comfortable alone over time.
To be comfortable with others you must be with yourself; I kept hearing.
And oh, did I find comfort in being alone.
I thought to myself:
I must be one of those introverts.
Maybe I partially am. But this was something else, social anxiety.
To get through evening with friends, party or bars, I would get drunk. Because at some point it would make it so I wasn’t so scared and didn’t care if I was heard. Thing was, I usually ended up black out drunk. I wasn’t able to control the drinking. As soon as there was a feeling of discomfort, sure enough a big gulp of alcohol would follow.
I wasn’t too proud of myself.
So I ended going out less and less.
Seeing less and less people and also talking less to the people closest to me.
Finally they can have fun now that you’re away.
That’s when the isolation started.
Making everything I previously thought more believable.
Now, even just having a chat with a close friend seems scary.
Knowing they are here for me is also scary.
I don’t even know how to open up. Reach out.
I couldn’t even dare talking to my significant other.
If I did dare, once in front of them, I tense up and a ball appears in my throat.
I can’t recall how to phrase what I want to say. I stutter and forget basic words.
You look like a fool. You can’t even get help properly.
You know they’ll leave if they see how broken you are.
What is wrong with you? You are crazy and they can see it too.
Then all your problems start to seem like nothing.
You think they’ll judge or leave you when they hear you.
So you start putting little details away. Not mentioning this feeling, not acknowledging your pain and its roots.
Letting them settle in and grow around your heart and brain to the depths of your soul.
I can’t say that. I’m so weak to have been affected by that.
You diminish what you live and feel.
You end up being mostly afraid that people will treat you the way you treat yourself.
And you are a mean onem Miss. Grinch.
Your defense mechanism is on guard 24/7, making sure anxiety sits confidently on his throne of lies.
And you just don’t know what to trust anymore.
You don’t feel you can trust your own mind.
But isolation will not help.
It will make it so much worse.
It started with me being slightly uncomfortable at parties to me not wanting to go see who I reached out to.
Mentally yelling at yourself things like: What is wrong with you? You’re a terrible person for “doing, thinking, saying…” that.
Its creates an endless loop of self-hatred, and worse of all false images of yourself.
You are not bad. You may have done something bad, but you are not bad.
Implying you are the essence of what you’ve done is a heavy burden and brings nothing constructive.
Getting started on a journey of recovery isn’t easy.
I started by trying to fix everything at once. Which didn’t work and instead just added to the list of things I’m unworthy of. I tried numbing my shame and that failed, leaving me numb of every emotions, good or bad.
And now I’m on a slow and somewhat steady way. Which is still hard. Because you can’t surmount everything at once. And some ”little things” are immense for you to do.
And I for one keep forgetting how important those ”little thing” are. How much of a big step they can be.
Anxiety will want you to forget.
Because Anxiety lives and grows off of you listening to its lies.
People may not notice how great and impressive it is that you actually showed up.
But you know. And hold on tight to that victory.
Maybe buy a jar and marbles and each time you make an effort put one in. So you can actually see and be reminded of all your victories.
So I am afraid of people. Maybe you are too.
But you have to understand you are mostly afraid of yourself and/or seeing yourself in others.
We need to be seen, heard, love and be loved.
I have the biggest problem accepting that. Because I am so scared.
But at some point you need to take a good look at your life and say, enough with that, I am enough.
Try and fail. Rinse and repeat.
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