Color – facing numbness

By Pavithra

I wrote this poem below a few months ago.

I felt angry inside — why are there fewer words welling up inside of me? Why can’t I feel the intensity of sadness, of the beauty of the rising sun, the happiness rising in me over the sweet simple things in life?

Why is everything quieter?

Why do I not stay up nights with tears rolling down my face, or me wishing in my heart of my dreams, my heart full with hope?

I felt so much irony inside of me. I questioned who I was. I still do. What is my purpose? When my heart seeks for me to create — why is it that I battle social anxiety? When my heart seeks for me to get up and laugh and dance, why am I afraid? Why is it that I feel the science I pursue stifles me, chokes my energy, and is against the energy I believe I have been granted inside of me?

I realize now healing comes with a form of silence. overcoming trauma may mean my I subconsciously miss the chaos. This is confusing, but I am now aware.

I also realize I miss the time I had to write, to read, to dance, and the space I had. I know I must in the next stepping stone of my life, choose one that is far from the bustle…the treaded path I have run in circles. The streaks of mud, the mini pitter patter of my footsteps from long ago. My feet have grown, and yet my path hasn’t. I have taken circles after circles, tricking myself into the belief, that this must mean growth for my inner heart.

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The Self and Language

By Jay

When the mind is disrupted by fear, numbing most thoughts, language and emotions, the self is suppressed or disassociated. I feel an empty shell. When colleagues talk, especially, those with seniority or some other dominance over me, I lock into their eyes, nodding and murmuring. I am trapped in front their words and eyes, barely able to move or stand straight. Even at the end of the day, when I’m due to go home, I am enmeshed in the words of others and am only released when they stop talking.

I can’t find a self to express a view; I should be off now, or some other personal view, except, to agree and reinforce, with a timid smile. Most thoughts and words that come to mind seem forced and hollow – they will be spoken so emptily, that they are not worthy saying. In my vulnerability and emptiness, I seek to gain their admiration and to hold back any angry attitudes. And, yet, in my stiff, smiling and agreeing avatar, I feel a contemptible fool and fraud, deserving of anger or contempt. I wait for it, growing ever more stiff and anxious, and nodding and grinning more.

What courage it would take to try and find myself amidst the mind numbed by vulnerability, anxiety and trauma. It would mean revealing the confusion and irrationality of my mind. I would stop pretending and admit to colleagues that I can barely find my way around the building, unable to navigate due to some dysfunction of my brain. It would mean admitting to my vanity in wanting admiration and respect and letting out my monotonous, ponderous words and thoughts into the air, open for ridicule or contempt. It would mean telling my manager that this job, despite everyone’s support and kindness and, despite their great need for staffing support and clear hopes that I will stay longer-term, is not for me and that I will likely be leaving soon to try another role.

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the subtle art of shutting the f*ck up

By Kirby; https://aviewfromtheocean.wordpress.com/

I remember when I came across the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” and like you should do to the many books that proport to revolutionarily change your outlook on life by forcing theirs on you, I took it with a pinch of salt.

Although, there was one statement that stood out to me in an extraordinary way:

you’re not special”

Whilst it would rightfully constitute as a harsh thing to say to someone, it was one of the things I saw that changed my outlook on the way I saw myself.

I was not special, but in a good way.

Consider this example, if you’re someone who has terrible social anxiety you’ve a 100% had this thought in your head – You know someone who is totally obnoxious, rude, annoying, any other negative adjective you can think of, but yet you wonder why people still like them.

And you think to yourself, its precisely because I’m scared to be like them I have social anxiety, I’m envious that they don’t care how obnoxious they are.

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Anxiety Survival Guide

By Darby; https://darbytanner.wordpress.com/

During my first year of college, I realized something was wrong with me. But it was something that I had always lived with. I suppose I finally decided that the little beast I carried around since childhood had grown large enough that others could notice. And when other people noticed there was something “off” about me, I got nervous. I used my two recent breakups as an excuse for my gloomy behavior, but on the inside, I knew the truth. So I went to the doctor. It was a routine check-up. I was freshly 18 and didn’t need my mother to go to the back room with me, but I asked her anyway.

I’m sure my mother already knew about my anxiety. My father struggles with it, too, but we’re not the kind of family to openly talk about our struggles. Perhaps that’s part of my problem. But I couldn’t muster the courage to form the words. “Mom. Dad. I want to get on anxiety medicine. I’m feeling lonely, purposeless, and suicidal.” More than anything, I was terrified of the conversation. Of justifying the very real feelings that were consuming me. So when my then-pediatrician handed me the routine “mental health checklist,” I answered honestly (note: I usually lied). And the results were troubling.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is defined as “excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events for no obvious reason. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school” (WebMD). My doctor suspected I was one of the thousands of teenaged victims of the disorder, which was further confirmed by subsequent tests telling me that I ranked among the “severe” cases. Rather than suffering from one particular kind of anxiety, such as social or health anxiety, I ranked noticeably in every category. I always noticed my social anxiety, but never realized how much trouble anxiety caused me in all realms of life. After some tears and an honest conversation or two, I began taking Lexapro.

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