Hiya all! Brian here again. Since I going through a lovely bout of insomnia, I was thinking about the post I shared earlier this evening. I noticed I left out a vital part of my story. After all, when one gets long-winded, one is bound to leave something out lol.
Ok....once more into the time machine....
Not long after my 12th birthday, all of the verbal/emotional abuse, the worsening depression (even though I didn't know it was depression at the time) and the overwhelming anxiety I felt finally took their toll. I hid. Literally. I shut myself in my room. I only came out for meals, to use the bathroom/take a bath/shower, and to go to school.
I hid. For four years. Think about it. Four long years. Until I was 16.
Quick question: What years are the most vital in a child's maturity?
Yep, you guessed it. Early adolescence. Between 12 and 17.
I hid. I basically locked myself away to protect myself from all the things I couldn't cope with at the time.
While other guys and gals were starting to think about getting to the end of high school, noticing the opposite sex (or same sex as the case may be), going to parties and making normal teenage mistakes, I retreated into the past.
Now, there's an upside and a downside here. The upside is I was able to explore lots of topics and develop interests that would one day become very handy coping skills. I fell in love with old time radio (for those youngsters who don't know, Old Time Radio refers to the Golden Age of Radio from the early 1930's to the late 1950's), I learned to enjoy various forms of music, from classical to folk to traditional music from other countries. I even like bluegrass. Yeah, I said it. So sue me. lol Even though I struggle with ADHD, I became a voracious reader. I developed a love of history, of learning about different time periods. I became a fan of Star Trek (Original Series. Next Generation never caught my fancy.) I even tried my hand at model car building (it was a phase. Don't ask lol).
But there was one massive downside. All of those things that normal teenagers do, I missed it. Missed it all. I missed opportunities to improve my social interaction skills. I missed chances to stand up for myself and not tolerate the bullying. My social skills atrophied. The anxiety and depression possessed me and wrapped me in a cocoon for four years. By the time I had started to get out of hiding, the damage was done. Not irreparable, to be sure, but it was significant. Consider all the things I missed out on:
I've never had a first kiss
I've never been in a romantic relationship
I've never been hugged, or cuddled
I went to prom, but I was rendered catatonic by a massive panic attack
I've never held hands with a woman
I've never said 'I Love You' or had it said to me
Now, after reading all that, you're probably thinking that this could have gone one of two ways.
The first possibility: I suffer from a major psychosis. Or I've become a creepy person you try to avoid. Or I turned into a serial killer or serial rapist. Or some other horrifying prospect.
Then there's the second possibility: He's just plain nuts lol.
Well, the answer's a resounding NO on both counts lol.
Despite everything I've been through, all the abuse and anxiety and depression and even suicidal thoughts, I have hope.
Whoa, this guy is nuts......Can he really be on the level?
Yes, most of the verbal/emotional abuse I took was from girls/women, yet I'm not bitter. Or angry. Or vindictive. Or have a thirst for revenge. Quite the opposite. I respect and admire all women. Especially with all the stuff they put up with from us men. Just look at the news of the last 8-10 months. One sexual harrassment scandal after another. Then there's the media. They promote the idea of a 'perfect body type'. That you have to be weigh such and such and you have to look a certain way and like certain things. And society only reinforces it. Then there's cyberbullying. I don't which is worse, regular bullying or cyberbullying. Then you have domestic violence and sexual assault and rape.
Being a guy has definitely gotten to be a risky proposition.
In all honesty, if I have to engage in a conversation, I prefer talking to women. Women have such fascinating viewpoints and they can see things from a perspective that most guys wouldn't normally think about. I'm not saying I don't like talking to guys, but the average conversation can be a little dull for my taste, to be honest. Sports, cars, women and sexual escapades. Yeah, I'll pass. I'm not saying all guys are like that, but it's hard finding an interesting guy to talk to lol.
I respect and admire women. I especially like getting to know women who know how to be themselves. They don't try to pretend to be something they're not. They're candid and honest. They're comfortable just being themselves. To me, it's what on the inside that matters most. True beauty comes from within.
Oh, before I close this post out (yeah, another long winded ramble lol), there's a couple more things I'd like to share.
1) Have the right tools for the job! --- You're probably going: What the hell does that mean? I wonder that myself sometimes lol. What I mean, simply, is having the coping skills to get you through whatever life throws at you. Those skills depend on the individual. Having things that can help distract you, or give you faith, or help you get through the rough times is vital. For me, it's comedy. I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine. Yeah, I like comedy from the 40's and 50's, but that's just me. They're not just skills, they're tools. They won't fix the problem on a grand scale, but they can tweak it just enough so that you can begin to feel better sooner.
2) Striking a happy medium! --- Stress is something that can crank up anxiety way higher than it needs to be. This is where meditation and relaxation exercises can come in handy. Guided imagery has been a big help for me, and has helped me relax and decompress when I find my stress levels reaching the critical point. Soothing music also has been a life saver. If you find your anxiety and stress level are reaching the breaking point, try this little trick:
1) Get yourself to a place where you feel safe. Bedroom, shower, living room, doesn't matter. All that matters is that it's a place where you feel safe.
2) Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths. Make sure you're sitting/lying in a comfortable position.
3) If you have music that comforts and soothes you, play it.
4) Focus on one thing that makes you happy or that makes you feel better. Use that thought as your anchor as you let all the overwhelming thoughts drift out of your mind.
5) Imagine a place that you would love to visit. Focus on every detail of the place in your mind's eye.
6) Walk yourself through that place. Take in every sight, every sound, every smell. Immerse yourself in that place.
Damn, another long winded post. I gotta stop doing this lol. I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I sincerely hope that everyone can take something positive from my story. If I've made someone's day a little brighter by sharing, then that's all I can ask for.
Now, about getting back to sleep.......