I feel an enormous black hole in my head. Cosmic, ringing emptiness. I feel like I have nothing to do and no reason to get up. I don’t want to see or hear anybody. I am afraid of everything and everybody. My body is one big cramp from head to toe. I decided yesterday evening that I would ask for an extra appointment with my therapist because I felt I hit the deepest bottom. And unlike ever before, this time I can’t see the way out. I am just sinking deeper and deeper every day in my anxieties and fears. I don’t want to suffer through any more days helplessly.
I woke up being nervous, with pre-performance anxiety in my legs, only because I knew I had to take over my brother’s birthday cake in a public place, namely in the candy store. I arrived with Sophie, but I left her in the car and went in alone. I was confident and patient, although I felt terrible anxiety inside. We stopped at the gas station too, which also made me nervous. Then I drove her home to her parents and went to my mother’s house to celebrate my brother’s birthday.
Social phobia, or social anxiety disorder. I found the expression on Wikipedia accidentally yesterday evening while reading the mindfulness article. According to Wikipedia, social anxiety is an anxiety disorder characterized by a significant amount of fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life. Reading about it was an epiphany to me. I realized that this is the very concept that describes my condition most accurately.
The long non-awaited day has finally come today. The day of the trial. I was unlucky enough to see a bad fight between two employees of a customer of mine. The one sued the other, and I had to go to the trial as a witness. I’ve been feeling terrible, often unbearable increasing anxiety for the last few days. Yesterday afternoon on my regular weekly therapy session we were discussing the trial for the whole hour. Talking, relaxation, everything. I was extremely fearful, but I decided I go, whether I like it or not. I was afraid that I was going to be so anxious that I pass out, in front of everybody. I tried to accept this possibility, no matter how ashamed I was.
I am a textbook example of a perfectionist. And it sucks. Perfectionism is my obsession that grabs my throat every now and then.
I found some interesting contradictions about my behavior under pressure. I remember the times from my childhood when I played the accordion, and I had to play on every possible occasion and celebration in our village. Since there were not many children around who were playing on instruments, playing in an orchestra or a band were not possible. There was only me, playing in solo, sitting on a chair on the stage by myself, with my accordion in my hands. I often had to play in front of hundreds of people in the theater room of the town. I can still recall that anxious feeling that made my stomach turn, the heart palpitations, and the unbearable nervousness that accompanied me before the performances. I didn’t like it. I hated being on the stage all alone, and I was always terrified of it, sometimes more, sometimes less. I never admitted to myself for years how I felt about it, I just did it because I felt I had to. I considered it a challenge that I simply had to face over and over again.
I woke up this morning extremely nervous and anxious, with thoughts about my job running wild in my head. I couldn’t get over yesterday’s meeting when I had to realize that we wouldn’t be able to deliver our promises to a customer of mine because certain key people were moved from my project to more important ones. It knocked me out right then and there, mostly because I got another unexpected problem and burden to handle, that broke my dreams about having a comfortable letting go of my tasks and projects in the remaining days.