My Old Friend

He’s back again! I don’t know how long it’s been but he seemed to arrive suddenly yesterday, during the late-afternoon/evening. Anxiety. Fear. Hopelessness. However I like to label it, he’s here with me again right now.

I worked hard over the weekend to try and avoid him. During the last fortnight, I’ve made a habit of not answering his calls and deleting his text messages. Someone randomly knocked on the door the other night. They wouldn’t leave without an answer. Fortunately, it wasn’t him but somehow, I don’t know; I must’ve left a window open or allowed him to creep in behind me.

Yesterday, I forced myself out in to the city centre, alone, along the busy high street and navigated my way to both of my intended destinations. I got what I needed, in spite of the fear, concern and criticism that plagued my mind throughout the journey. Walking down the busy streets, I realised that no-one was a threat to me. I had to consult a map for direction but there was nothing else to fear outside of my own skin. Walking back to my car with my bags full, I felt elated. I almost wanted to do it again!

I was home in time for lunch. I had an afternoon to myself but, feeling lonely, perhaps I invited him in. Turning the TV (another rare occasion) didn’t keep him quiet and that feeling stayed with me overnight until this point, at which I only rose out of bed an hour ago.

I have a lot to look forward to this summer. There are two major events taking place that excite me and yet, it’s this time in between that I can’t stand. I feel like, for the last 6 months, I’ve been comfortable spending the majority of my time in a solitary solace of sorts. Suddenly, I’m missing people. I’m grateful to have at least two friends I have a good connection with and I savour the opportunities and adventures we get to share. But I seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time with people who are just talking heads in a dispersed crowd without meaning or significance.

This is my life and, for the majority, I’m wasting it. A little solitude is no bad thing. But I’ve tried to allow myself to have too much, using fear as an excuse to withdraw and to avoid when it doesn’t matter to me. I’m feeling now as though human connection is important.

There’s a belief that loners are not at all lonely but very comfortable in their own skin. But for how long and, surely, not all the time?

But I choose to stay in on days like today because I believe people won’t want to see me like this. Am I really riding the storm or just taking shelter from the seemingly-dark clouds overhead? This day is already half-finished, where others might see that there’s still an afternoon and evening to come.

Social anxiety remains a problem I continue to struggle with. But in a dystopian world without other people, I can imagine certain aspects of life could be less stressful… I just don’t believe it. We need others to enjoy life.

I am feeling somewhat better after writing this. After all, this is my space and it’s like a diary, in such times as when I really need to write. So thanks for reading. Maybe I’ll try to write more regularly this week as I work through and past this phase.

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6 comments on “My Old Friend

  1. Sorry to hear the anxiety is back, but glad writing helped a bit. I’m glad you have things to look forward to this summer, that is always good. Take care BB!

  2. oldereyes says:

    Thank you for the reference to my post. While I don’t suffer from social anxiety, I do sometimes fight depression and panic attacks. I, too, find that writing helps a lot, partly because it stops the whirlwind in my head.

  3. janonlife says:

    Really feel for you. But your friend has left before, so he will leave again. Hope he goes very soon.

    • Thanks, Jan. I think he got bored of me as he seems to have left. But I also think I’ve realised something else… Which I’ll try to write about now.

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