I get this way, every so often, something happens to hurt me, and I recede into myself, hiding away in darkness, honestly wishing I could just stay there forever. I am very anti-social. I guess it’s a survival thing. I have had more than my fair share of bumps along the way, and I just can’t take bad news or stress anymore. I try to avoid people, and relationships because, let’s face it… all of the drama in anyone’s life can usually trace back to the people we are involved with & linked to.
I’ve managed to get the anxiety back under control this weekend. Having a lot of photo shoots, and time spent outdoors interacting with my fellow human beings always helps. I tried so hard to avoid the social interaction, every step of the way, making excuses not to go, I had to push myself. At the local festival we attended, I wanted to turn around and go all the way home when the time came to get out of the car. I pushed myself to get out, and even though the attention is very embarrassing to me, we still had a really great night of family goodness.
The attention caused by Magick, my Newfoundland dog, who suffers from separation anxiety, and therefore must go with us everywhere we go- if no one stays at home with him. (This makes family outings, and vacations almost impossible) Why does a dog attract so much attention? you may ask. Because he looks just like a black bear on a leash, he’s like…huge. Also, he is a fairly rare breed so most people have never seen a dog like him. Everyone stops to ask what type of dog, how big, how much he eats, and of course tells me he’s huge…really? I hadn’t noticed.
My favorite though, is the picture taking. For instance- at the festival this weekend, Our local Weatherman was hosting the little shin-dig, and when we got there he was at the microphone, speaking no one was really paying attention, I mean, no one was standing at attention to him directly, and no one was asking to take a photo with him at all, I was pretty surprised at that, him being a local “celebrity” and all. Enter Magick: All eyes on us, people either jumping out of the way over-dramatically in fear, or rushing over to us asking all of the a fore mentioned questions. We actually had to stand in one spot for several minutes when we first got there, while a whole bunch of people took photos. We continued to stop frequently throughout the rest of the evening to let people take pictures when they asked us. This happens every time we take him out in public. Koy, who happily poses in each photo with Magick, loves all of the attention and the hooplah that goes on in people’s reactions to our dog. I, on the other hand, prefer to shrink into the background and freak out when I know we are going to take him with us, because I already know what will happen.
I actually love people, and like virtually everyone I meet whole-heartedly. After all these years of mis-trust and disappointment, I just don’t know how to socialize anymore. I find myself very awkward, and I never know if I’m saying or doing the right things- I feel like I’m always wrong, playing conversations back in my head, “I shouldn’t have said this.” or “why did I do that?” I’m even afraid of phone calls, I avoid them like the plague! So now you know why you get the voice mail whenever you call me!
I have come a long, long way in pushing myself to social interaction, mental and physical health. It’s still something I struggle with every minute- every day, so If you call me and get my voicemail, or maybe I just seem a little awkward, even weird when we meet…. you know why.All of this sounds so bad- but actually, this is me, having my anxiety under control. There was a time, I was totally agoraphobic, and didn’t leave the house. I stayed up at night thinking someone was going to break in and hurt me, or my family, I even shut myself into closets and hid from the world. These days, I am very aware of it, what causes it, and what alleviates it. I understand that I need a delicate balance of sunlight, social interaction, exercise, and a healthy diet. I need to avoid things that trigger my panic, like darkness, being trapped, and movies that involve violence towards women. And most importantly, when I start having panic attacks again, I need to address it right away, before they get out of hand.