It can be insane sometimes; thinking I left the car lights on; that I put the wrong address on an envelope; took down information incorrectly. It’s doubt. Extreme doubt. In myself. In my abilities. It holds me back. I’ve let so many chances pass me by because I am afraid of change. I nearly sacrificed my education. I lost my wife. This fear holds my heart so tight I can hardly breathe, the anxiety choking me.

For the longest time I didn’t even know what it was that I was suffering from. That is until I took Psychology in college. It’s nice to know that part of my psyche is warped by the pressures of Life. Many parts actually. If you only knew all the phobias and flaws that mar me. My psyche must look a mountian range with me lost in the darkness of the valley.

I read of worse cases than mine. People unable to sleep because of various fears running through their head such as leaving the oven on or leaving the doors unlocked. Individuals counting every step they make in order to ensure both feet walk the equal amount of steps to the degree of hopping on one foot to even them out (my ex-wife suffered from this one). There was even this one case of a man who, every time he drove a car, had to stop every few feet to get out and check because he was sure he had hit a kid on a bike and was dragging him under the automobile.

I won’t say I am the most normal person in the world. Far from. Compared to those above I might be passable enough to be considered fit for society but not by much. Most of my problems force me to withdraw. I was the guy who always sat in the corner at the back of the room in class. You know, the quiet one everyone assumed probably had bodies in the fridge. Yes, I do suffer from a mild paranoia over what people think of me. I can’t help it. There is always that whisper causing me to cringe, to choke on any words I could offer to the conversation.

I work the graveyard shift to avoid people. It’s not really by choice but to remain in my comfort zone. I have problems with conversations. I literally find myself dwelling on the day to come just as it is dawning. Who will I meet? What will I say? What will they say? Will I make an ass out of myself? Will I insult them? Will I get myself into yet another “situation”? It’s enough to make me avoid people because I am unsure how it all will turn out. Turtle syndrome, I know. Pull into the shell and blanket myself in complete darkness. Just forget the world outside and create one of my own.

I’ve tried to be outgoing, half-heartedly of course. It was my ex-wife who really pushed me out into the glaring world. She wanted me to go to clubs, have dinners with her friends; social stuff like that. Surrounded by strangers, everything alien; God how I hate social events! They are so unpredictable. Normal people are too free spirited and open. All that touching. Enough to make me cringe.

I have this mannerism that gives me away when an anxiety attack is about to hit me. Well, two actually. Whenever I am nervous and feeling the OCD starting to really kick in the first stage begins. I rub my nose. Scratching is how it starts, slight scratch here. Slight scratch there. Eventually I’m full on squeezing it until my proboscis is crimson. When I’m about to full on lose it, I enter stage two. My face twitches. I mean really quivers. It is a sight to behold.

So how do I function in society? I create this fake persona I completely control. I don’t reveal the real me. How do I know how someone will react to it? I tailor myself to my audience. I watch people really closely, pay attention to their appearance, their words, their mannerisms. I do my best to manipulate them towards whatever end I need. It’s become instinctual, ingrained into my social skills. I just can’t trust people and unpredictability. I’ve become corrupted by a fatal flaw. I have had few true friends. I just can’t face taking off the mask. I lock my heart up tight and wither inside this armor I wear.

There is so much more to it, but I won’t go into it today.

The worst part is knowing the problem and not being able to completely overcome it. I try. I fight it every day, this terror that quakes in my chest causing sure legs to bow and buckle. I try to keep the doubts out of my head, to achieve this Zen-like state of nothingness. But every now and then I realize…I am in Hell. I am psychologically damned.

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