Being the age I am at and the situation I am in, I am considering the possibility I have unintentionally boxed myself in and robbed myself of the personal growth I could be having if I would let certain things go.
I don’t know how many times I have brought this up in past posts because I haven’t kept count, but I have truly lived my life in the tight, suffocating grasp of my social anxiety. Every perceived success that feels like a failure, every decision to decline a social invitation, every step forward and then a step back, every forced smile, every avoidance tactic, every time I give myself a reason to say no; to believe it’s just too much or too hard or I am nobody and deserve anxiety and nothing else.
The twisted part about anxiety is I want to be free of it and I’m fighting everyday and with every breath I take by unlearning the habits I taught myself, but do I really want the chains to be broken permanently? Staying with an emotion or feeling or state of mind that I am used to is so tempting. Even when I don’t want to want it, there is a comfort in keeping to something familiar and not something that is new and going to spin my world upside down. That makes me question if I am truly the prisoner after all, or am I willingly staying beside my captor in a Stockholm syndrome horror show although I am free to go as I please? I’m not naive, I know the anxiety will never be 100% gone. I just wish I would stop coming back to hide behind it half the time.
Watching a YouTube video about a Buddhist monk talk about how his panic attacks gave him into the “yes, sir” mentality to believe his anxiety was right about himself every time, I too see how anxiety has stopped me from living life to my fullest. The experiences I could have had (should have had, says my indignant inner voice) in childhood, in my teens, in my young adult life… I did not have after all. Now as a 20-something adult, the personal growth I have had is accompanied by a sense of urgency because I have so much residue left over from my younger years of avoiding certain experiences so I basically never learned to mature in those aspects, whether it be thinking style or how I approach people in select situations.
The topic of personal growth came up because, today of all days, I feel more stunted than ever. It could be just my own perception of myself and not a true reflection of how far I’ve come. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I don’t need to improve on in my life.
What I’m most dissatisfied with myself at this time is the slump of inactivity I fell into during the bleary winter which I’m trying to come out of now but it’s like a perpetual sadness I’ve gotten too comfortable sitting within. This isn’t me; the real me. I am someone beyond anxiety and depression. There is a whole world waiting for me. My interests can take me anywhere. I could meet anyone.
My paranoia needs to shut up. It’s another thing hindering me. Worry and fear that my family are all actually secretly sneering at me in private when I’m not around. That everyone I speak to in real life thinks poorly of me. No one likes me or wants to know me. I’m making it all about me. For better or worse, this has made me more cautious about people to an unnecessary level. Maybe it’s good for getting a vibe on potential pervs, but my super sense also makes me more susceptible to being wary of perfectly normal, nice people for no reason. I’ve shoved people, both friends and family, away because I wasn’t able to see past the haze of all that pretend danger. I’ve ruined potential friendships and rapports by closing myself off. On my guard, on my guard, gotta be on my guard. What a pointless endeavor.
Lastly is the days where the hours go by but I’ve done close to nothing productive and whine about being stuck over wanting to do stuff while not having my heart in the situation at all. Or the days I go, go, go and I throw myself into this and that but I feel as if I’m not totally there because I wish to look busy and look normal instead of genuinely being glad to be there doing or watching or engaging or thinking. I need balance. I need to slow down. I need to let people in; maybe a little at a time. Swinging that door wide open all at once is too frightening. I’m not perfect, but I no longer want to hide.
4 thoughts on “Speed of Personal Growth”
This post feels so genuine and honest, so authentic and raw. Wonderful writing!
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Thank you! It’s a hard topic but it’s the truth of how I feel about myself right now.
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Loved this. Needed this.
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Thank you for reading, Hannah. 💟