One of the biggest things I regret from my battle with anxiety is that I would hide from others. I remember having moments where I just didn’t want anyone to find me. I wanted to fit seamlessly into the background, like a chameleon who blends in with its surroundings to hide from its prey. That is what I felt like, prey. I could feel the eyes of others beaming down on me waiting for me to become exposed so that they could pounce. I feared being found out. Would they notice that I was hiding this burden I call anxiety?
I didn’t want to go out in fear that I would have a panic attack. I didn’t want to explain to others what was wrong if something happened. I didn’t want to embarrass myself and have others wonder why I was acting weird. So what did I do? I started going out for shorter periods and making up excuses on why I had to leave early. This progressed into me coming up with reasons why I couldn’t make it out at all. All these excuses now seem so unnecessary.
Little did I know that no one was actually staring or even taking notice of me. They can’t tell that I have anxiety just by looking at me. It was ME who was overly conscious of myself. What felt like a thousand people peering down on me was only the pressure created by the critical gaze I set on myself. I put that pressure on myself, no one else. And I wasn’t just hiding from other people, I was hiding from myself too. Anxiety may have shook my confidence but it was me that thought I needed to hide. I had become my own worst enemy by hiding and casting myself away from friends and family. All of this because I was afraid they would find out this small personal detail about me.
But there came a point that I no longer could take hiding in the shadows. I felt cooped up at home, dissatisfied with how anti-social I had become, and saddened by the change in my ever-so bubbly personality. I recognized that the lies needed to stop as well so that I wouldn’t become further distanced from my friends. They aren’t stupid and I’m sure they could sense my dishonesty. It was at this point that I knew I needed to open up to others. So slowly I started letting them in. I told a few very close friends of my situation and noticed immediately that I was less anxious. In fact, they were completely understanding and highly supportive. I wish I would have done this from the start. No matter, at least I have learned from this and am able to share it with others. I am now breaking out of that shell I created around myself. I have been unleashed. I am back!
Until next time, Sophie Brexx.