I seriously think it’s time I get back into society.
I don’t just say this the way I say most of my I-should’s. “I should eat some more fruit (but that means actually eating them, so maybe not).” I mean I should really get back into society. ASAP. At my earliest convenience. I only say vaguely “at my earliest convenience” because I don’t want to force myself to do it this absolute minute or within my next waking day. But definitely as soon as I can. No procrastinating.
Ideas about social anxiety and paranoia have been floating around in my head for a while, but they’ve never been an immediate concern. I was under the impression, and I still believe, that I was in control. I’m starting to experience discerning levels of illogical apprehension and misconceptions. Or if it’s over, I did. I felt uneasy in a way I’d never felt before. Even when I was “in panic”, there was a concrete, (perhaps exaggerated, but) real problem attached to that panic, that was an immediate source of the panic, whether that was pertaining to family, work, the future, friendships, relationships, or my giant ego. No, I was on a walk and five or more times I thought I saw a shadowy apparition out of the corner of my eye – not a dispassionate, doubtful suspicion as it is for my usual quite level-headed self, but wide-eyed alarm because maybe?! I felt like a lost deer that was being unknowingly hunted. Surroundings reek of danger and the alarmed deer continually snaps its head around, searching, but it can’t know what or who is trying to hurt them, if at all. Every time a probably harmless fellow human being passed by, I either started back if I didn’t see them coming or distrustingly watched them while I kept a growing distance from them. I genuinely thought that each passerby could pull out a knife at any second. Yes, I think about these things too when I’m sound-thinking since it’s always possible that an arbitrary person be dangerous – “you can never be too careful” – but this time around, I was serious. It wasn’t a realistic possibility; it was a real possibility. At one point, I think I was on the verge of breaking down. Everything inside of me wanted to escape and everything on the outside was starting to close in. I was ready to collapse and lose myself in sobs and unintelligible blubbering because it was just too much. Everything and everyone was antagonizing and I was helpless. Every swish of the tree branches, every whisper of the leaves, every footstep, every car racing by – everything was menacing. I calmed down a little once I started thinking about what a scene I might make. I don’t like making scenes unless absolutely necessary.
I think the walk lasted about an hour or more. It was such a distressing memory that I had to walk to somewhere else, somewhere completely different for a little bit more to shake off the fright so that I could finally go back home in one piece.
I’m still unsure what triggered that episode, because it’s a path I’ve walked many times in the past, although not recently. It was probably the combination of dark + quiet + big, empty space + relatively strange (remember I don’t go out much?) + preexisting anxiety or dispirited state of mind. About what, I can’t pinpoint.
What I can pinpoint is that making more of an active attempt at positive social interactions will benefit. To distract or to rehabilitate, put myself out there because I need to. Brush out cynical thoughts and assume positives. Be vulnerable. Again.
As traumatic as it was, maybe it was for the best. After that, I’m motivated enough that I don’t have to force myself.