Everyday I have to challenge myself. I battle with my 'inner-chatter'. Opposing forces in my mind. One force says: "go out and face the world", the other tells me to "hide under your duvet".
To open my door and face the world beyond, is in itself, a personal triumph. I know that there will be those that read this that wont understand. For those that do, they will know that my triumph is no exaggeration. I take a deep breath, determined to suppress my negative 'chatter'. Waves of anxiety nearly overwhelm me, I work through it. The negative 'screaming' becomes a background 'whisper'. I go out and the bravado begins.
I try to be sociable, I reach out my hand of friendship but I am scared, so very, very scared. I worry that my sincerity will be treated with suspicion. I worry that I have said the wrong thing. Renewed anxiety kicks in when I believe that my enthusiasm is interpreted as arrogance. My enthusiasm masks the 'bowl of jelly' sensation deep within me. So for the few hours I go out, I confront my social phobia.
When I finally get to know people, when they become familiar with me, sadly, I retreat back into my 'shell'. I 'fade away', drifting back to a self-imposed obscurity. Unfortunately, I start to think: "how dare you try to be friends with anybody. You are not worthy of friendship!" People will, once again, see me for that 'imposter' who is not as clever as he makes out. Oh how I challenge this. I must not let past negative, traumatic events dictate that I retreat to the safety of my duvet. I do want to repeat those times when I stayed in bed for days, too ill, too scared to even contemplate going outside.
So after another day of bravado. I go home, mentally exhausted but pleased, that for a few hours, I had the courage to be a part of society. I stare at the four walls and think how my life is so different within the confines of my home. This is my other world. A world where loneliness dominates. Yet it is also a place where I reflect upon my continued journey in maintaining positivity. I must not give up.
I do not want to fall 'overboard' again. In the past, when I fell off the ship, I was thrown an anchor. Somehow, I just know, that if I do fall overboard again, I will be thrown a lifejacket.