Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Raging Battle Within

I recently wrote a blog about fear, and the fear of failure.

What I failed to mention was what I did with all the time I had leftover that I could've been using to study and do homework, or even a part-time job.

In psychology, humans have a very famous response to stressors: the fight or flight response.

In this case, I chose the latter. I chose to run.

Since I couldn't literally run anywhere, I ran emotionally. I'd sit down to my homework, and get worked up and anxious. I'd close it, and watch endless youtube videos for hours. I purchased more video games in my first semester of college than I ever have before. My game program counts the number of hours spent playing a certain game. With just games that use this program, I've played 402 hours of games. If I played all the way through without stopping, that's over two weeks. And video games make up just a small portion of the many things I did to escape my fears.
I've watched more youtube than ever before. I went on The Empath Community and helped people there as well, chatting on the site and posting in the forums.

I did all of that just to escape from my fear. When I was forced to deal with the class, I chose to sleep through it. I played on my laptop instead of paying attention, and that's just when I went to class at all.

Anything I could do to evade and run away from my fear, I did it. And all the while, I fantasized about what it would be like to have all the things I was too afraid to work for: relationships, a great job in psychology, financial security, etc.

My safe zone was computers. Chat rooms and forums I can handle, but social situations I couldn't. Programming and C++ I can handle, grades and homework I couldn't. I was on the fast track to realizing what I said my greatest fear was: living in a box, under a bridge, homeless and alone. Except in this case, the reality was that I would live in a crappy apartment, living off of a job fixing computers or programming, living literally online, and going outside only when I had to. No real physical relationships with anyone, and developing a fear of even going outside, completely isolated and alone. The box was my fear, but even that had an element of truth to it.

Slowly, things began to interest me less and less. I became disillusioned with my video games, once one began to bore me, I'd buy another. But it soon became clear that I was becoming bored with those games at an alarming rate. It got to the point where I bought a game, and became bored with it the next day. Books couldn't hold my interest, neither could TV. I tried to find something, anything to satiate my desire to run from my fear. And when I couldn't find something, I forced myself. Seeing my old methods of escaping begin to fail scared me more and more.

When I couldn't escape from my fear, I had to let it escape somehow. I stumbled across something online one night, it was essentially just a ghost story. Something you tell your friend over a campfire to make them jump. I used that to unleash my fear, and that night, I had a panic attack. I stayed in my bed, afraid for my life, terrified. I barely slept at all that night.

All of this fear stems from one place: my sense of worthlessness. I have cripplingly low self esteem. I have voices in my mind that tell me how worthless and hopeless I am, and reinforce all the negative things I see about myself. I hear all of these things, on a near daily basis. And while these words may have been said to me before, I am not schizophrenic. Those voices are mine. They reinforce my low self esteem.

I know I'm going to numb up again soon. Numbing is another method of escapism. It allows me to literally not feel my fear or anxiety. But right now, I know what I feel, deep down inside. I feel worthless. I feel stupid, and I feel that I'll never be good enough. I feel guilty for feeling these things too. I know there are people much worse off than I, and that I should "man up". But I have a grand total of zero confidence in myself, my abilities, and my skills, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

As well, I fear so much to even try and get a girlfriend. I want one so bad, it hurts. I don't fantasize about sex, I fantasize about having a loving relationship. How sad is that? I see a beautiful girl sitting somewhere, and instead of walking up and even asking for a date, instead of doing anything at all, I sit silently, seeing in my mind a situation play out where I end up looking like a complete fool, and become the laughing stock of everyone on earth.

However, even if I were to get into a relationship, my fears would continue to keep me from allowing it to be healthy. My fear of rejection would quickly turn into a fear of loosing that person. I would suppress my own fears and anger to the point of hurting myself. Suppressing parts of me would inevitably cause the end of the relationship, however, as I would not be honest. So my fears of loosing her would quickly make me loose her; a very vicious cycle.

To keep myself from feeling my fears, I often fall into a cycle I like to call a "white knight" cycle. In the old fairy tales, there was the damsel in distress who was imprisoned by the evil bad guy, and there was always the knight in shining armor who defeats the bad guy, and rescues the damsel. I fall into a pattern of attempting to save women. I fall for the girls that need saving or rescuing, either from someone, or from themselves. That pattern though is convenient: it keeps me from feeling like a damsel myself. I would love nothing more than for a woman to come and rescue me, to scoop me up and take care of me, to save me from this fear and anxiety.

My relationship with my family is rather strained. A great bulk of my anxiety comes from my family. My parents have always expected nothing but the very best from me, back all the way to when I was in the fourth grade, and I was the only male student to get straight A's. Ever since then, no grade I got has been good enough, I've been expected to be perfect. And not just in academics either, when I would work for my father, no matter how much effort I put in, I was always lazy and unappreciative. My mother, working for her wasn't so bad. But to her, I was always a slob and messy, disgusting and greasy. So while I put on a smile for my parents, the relationship is strained because I'm not being honest with them. My younger sister has been going through the same thing, and I've been doing my best to get her to open up and stop suppressing her feelings, but nothing has helped so far.

In this blog, I have poured my heart and soul out onto a silver platter, and put it up online. I have given my heart and soul to the entire world. This is me. This is my innermost thoughts and fears. And on a blogsite that's purpose is to engender empathy and understanding, this is my perspective. ^.^


  1. I don´t know what to say but I feel the need to say something anyway. Except the family expectations what you wrote could have been my story. My family had and have no expectations what so ever, sometimes I wonder if they even expect me to live. But thats not the point. I somehow find solace in reading your words and I do hope you find the safeness you need to have the life you want and deserve. Thank you.

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  3. Go to the college counselor first thing Monday. I identify very much with what you say. You are not alone and are one of millions of people who have to work at loving themselves and their inner child to make up for conditional love and harshness at home.
    I went to a counselor and I take zoloft which helps a lot with my social anxiety. I still have a fear of failure, i am working on that now. But i now love myself and was able to get my self-esteem high enough that I attracted a mate who is also a loving, positive person.
    Also, stamp out your negative thoughts like you're on the rampage against them! :) Like they are mosquitos with malaria. Kill each one and turn it into a positive one, even if it feels fake to say "I am a good person. I am worthwhile. I can succeed." and so forth. Even if it feels fake for a year, keep changing your self-talk into positive self-talk.
    I'm not joking about the counselor. You have legitimate wounds, please go in to see the counselor first thing Monday.
    You may not feel good about yourself now but you can certainly love yourself as you were when you were a child. Think of yourself as that child and comfort him, tell him he is good and that you love him and that you will get him help and take care of him and help him heal.
    Best of luck to you, I truly wish you all the best! I can attest that growth and strengthening and healing is possible b/c i did it myself.
    Here also is a positive blog: