What it feels like
Two posts in one day, amazing.
I was just sitting and musing on this stuff, when I realized that there’s a great way of describing just how I feel.
For me, anxiety is focused on initiating contact. Once I’m talking to someone, I’m mostly OK. If you ask me a question, I can respond without any problem. And once you’ve started talking to me, you probably wouldn’t notice that my behavior is at all unusual. But initiating contact is what kills me.
So… to get a sense of what it feels like… you’re watching a horror movie. And the hero, for some incredibly stupid reason, decides that instead of doing something smart like calling the polices, he’s going to go, alone and unarmed, into the dark basement where the killer is hiding. And the camera follows him down the stairs, tension building, the music playing a dissonant thrumming chord ever louder, and you know that at any moment, the killer is going to jump out of the shadows with a knife? You know that tense feeling, that horrible, anxious, sensation where all of your muscles are tensing up, because you know what’s coming?
That is exactly the feeling I get when I need to start talking to someone. Except that I don’t have the distance that it’s happening to someone else, someone imaginary on the screen. Even though intellectually, I know that nothing bad is going to happen, that tension, that wiring of the nerves, that anxiety, that certainty that something awful is about to happen, that the idiot needs to get the hell out of there – that’s what I’m feeling.