I should probably write this while I'm treading water in the Ocean of Anxiety that has recently engulfed me. When I go under, I don't have much energy or inclination to dive even deeper inward, as writing requires. It also requires social isolation, something I've gotten way too much of the last several years.
You may consider this yet another cry for help. Just when I think I can't fall any farther, a new trap door opens in my brain and I tumble into deeper depths of anxiety.
This most recent rough patch began a month ago when I decided to quit my lawn-mowing job. This was necessitated by the worsening condition of my back. It seemed I would do great damage if I continued, so I threw in the towel.
This was complicated by my parents' impending 2-week vacation. Suddenly, I was overcome with anxiety at the thought of being home alone. This summer I was reduced to one friend after a falling-out with my other friend. (In this context, "friend" refers to someone I see on a regular basis.)
With the help of a 99-year-old neighbor, phone calls with my sister and the Fringe Festival, I got through those 2 weeks, but there were many rocky parts. Ironically, the anxiety grew after my parents returned.
I'm stuck in an emotional Catch-22. My parents are the only people left I can really count on for consistently available emotional support. But living with them fills me with shame, to the point that I have to repress it and it manifests as anxiety.
This is a First World Problem of the highest order. On the other hand, it seems to highlight the decrepit state of communities in the U.S.A. I've had a hell of a time trying to make new friends in the last few years. One problem is I don't feel well-suited to the task. Another problem is that few people I want to hang out with seem well-suited to it either.
I blame middle school. That's what equipped me with the Great Stoneface and my deadpan demeanor. It was armor against bullying, a trade plied by virtually everyone at my middle school, including, occasionally, myself.
It's horribly depressing that the memory of that madhouse still guides my behavior 23 years later. I can't let it doom me to a life of misery. But I can't do it alone. If you have any fondness for me, now would be a good time to show it.