When I’m sitting alone, it’s not that I don’t want to be a part of anything, it’s not that I don’t want to be a part of the conversation or just be next to you, but it’s because my mind is filled with anxiety and I just need a moment to step away. It’s a back and forth for me because I want to be part of the group. I hate to have to isolate myself when my anxiety kicks in but I need that break. I have though figured out how to compromise myself. What I do is back off just enough to seem that I’m alone but still close enough to feel like I can participate with the conversation or with the activities of the social event or whatever get together I may be in on.
Again, I hate to leave the group, I hate to make people seem like I’m not enjoying their company but that’s all false. I love being social, I love talking and conversing with people and I do really enjoy listening and paying attention. My issue is my mind then goes into anxiety mode and the flood levees break and all kinds of memories and thoughts flood flow through, distracting me and then I begin to feel overwhelmed with the situation and I then feel like running from it all. What I may do to help distract my own brain is jump on my phone and just go through it for a few minutes. It’s not that I’m trying to be anti-social, it’s I need that break. I step away but again, not that far away. I don’t like having people believe I’m anti-social. That’s the epic ramblings of my brain totally pulling away from everyone. My anxiety tells me when I make a joke or a comment that what’s the point, no one will laugh or acknowledge you said something.
When I begin to sink into my moment, I start to feel more distant from everyone, and suddenly I feel like I’m all alone and everyone before me starts to vanish. I can’t help but find myself in these moments where I really feel like I’m all alone. I didn’t do anything to push anyone away but then again, my mind starts to convince me that I did something. The battle has begun and I start to lose a little sense of what reality really is at the moment. One trick I have implemented is positioning myself to trick my brain that I have gone to seek shelter from the moment but still close enough to where I can be part of the action. While it always open up one to ask why I’m all by myself, my answer is well, I can still hear, I can still chime in when I see fit, of course.
The other thing I’m doing is at this moment waiting to see if anyone will be willing to sit with me but I don’t notice anyone taking the time to join me in moment. I don’t ask for help, I expect people to already know but no one knows my internal troubles so what should I expect? I should expect nothing because I won’t tell anyone anything. So the result is I will continue to sit all alone and feel like no one out there cares. Doesn’t seem anyone is coming soon so my head will bow. Maybe someone will be able to tell something is wrong but no one will. I keep checking but nothing changes. Everyone is caught up in their own social interactions with other people. I’m still listening though. I’ll laugh if someone says a joke or says something funny. Nothing changes and it will feel like there isn’t anyone around for miles. Now I am alone for real but I don’t want to be alone. I am friendly and I love being friendly but I can’t push myself to break out this funk. I do crave interactions but what’s crazy is there will be times I do want to be alone. At this point it’s because I don’t want to burden anyone.
As I sit there, all by myself, the thoughts running through my brain I start contemplating on some important decisions so I begin to fiddle my fingers, tap my foot, followed by a few extra fidgety moments. I can’t seem to help it, it’s subconscious when it happens and then it’s pointed out to me and I respond with a simple, “oh really?” As I sit there and I’m being told something of importance and I can sense how a decision from me could affect my family, my now non-existent marriage as I’m now divorced or anything else of importance, past present or future, I zone out, as my ex-wife would say, I get that “deer in headlights” look. So many things are happening that I can’t explain what I’m going through. In total nervousness I just try to come up with anything, and it has to be so quick I make something up. My mind is always clouded and I can’t organize my thoughts…I’ll simply just sit alone or attempt to distract myself in various ways to cope with the moment but I couldn’t do it and then lash out in an unhealthy way in attempt to make sense of it all. I don’t want to be alone but my anxiety keeps me alone.
I always felt lonely, no matter how many were near or who was near me. It didn’t matter that I once had a wife to talk too and share things with, I just couldn’t do it! I couldn’t bring myself to say anything, my anxiety would take over and I would freeze. Then she would get angry or frustrated and move on to the next thing and I would be left there feeling completely terrible. I’d then beat myself up over and over for not being able to share. I tried but I couldn’t. I want to escape from this and I tried various ways to do so, unfortunately, it led to very unhealthy habits, a few which I still fight to this day. For a short moment in time I even visited a therapist but even then, there was things I couldn’t say, I didn’t want to say! Not because I didn’t want too but because I couldn’t bring myself to go full detail. It wasn’t even something I truly understood then. Something would stop me and keep me from speaking on these thoughts but the surface was scratched.
After all this time and all these years, I’ve battled with so many demons, from addiction to not putting the needs of others before mine, selfishness, to being obsessive compulsive to just over all having to deal with my anxiety. I tried various ways to escape these thoughts from drinking and smoking early on to some various unhealthy means of escaping reality. Functioning wasn’t easy but I plugged along. In the latter years my faith is all that has held me together through all this but everyday it’s a new battle, a failure and a victory. Never the same, never in that same order.
40 years into my life and it has affected my entire life, only to now be brought to this point where I am truly feeling like I’m all alone in this struggle. Then one day I found out I really am not truly alone…