Crazy, like a fox

2/12/2016 06:51:00 pm

I went to a hipster cafe, and I enjoyed it.

That might not sound like a big deal, but it is. Not only because I am anti-hipster, but because I was able to go there without planning the route in minute obsessive detail, without panicking because I was there before everyone else. I was able to stand in the line for a buzzer by myself, was able to sit in the garden surrounded by other people without my heart racing, and without any feeling of terror or hopelessness. Was able to wander, and to eat, and take some photos without feeling as though all eyes were on me and I was found wanting.

Around this time of year, 8 years ago, things were not going so well.

I started to lose weight because I stopped going to the grocery store. Because other people were too scary. I did not leave the house except to go to uni and work. For 12 months I lived 200 metres from the beach, and I went to the beach 3 times. The first time for five minutes before I felt so physically uncomfortable that I had to leave, trying not to run. I lost friends, because I stopped going out, but I didn't tell them that I wasn't going out because I was sick, and lonely, and sinking.   A lot of factors collided, head on, and the result was a mess.


I am anti-hipster because my inherent insecurity assumes that they are cooler than me, and are judging me, even though they are the ones with the stupid clothes and ridiculous beards.

The difference is though, that 8 years ago, I would have wished to go to the hipster cafe to see the piggy and the beautiful garden, and eat exactly the kind of food that I most enjoy, but my fear of other people, especially hipsters, would have stopped me.

I have good days and bad days. It doesn't help that our suburb has started to gentrify rapidly, and is filling quickly with people in ironic denim and ridiculous beards, and I'm about to move halfway across the world, headfirst completely into the unknown.  Sometimes I feel panic rising; I can feel my heart in my mouth, a visceral fear creeping across my skin, making my hair stand on end. And for what? For no fucking reason at all, except for a chemical imbalance that refuses to right itself.

But I went to a hipster cafe and it was ok. I have come a long way.

By the way, if you are struggling with anxiety, or life in general, I recommend that you check out The Happiness Trap. It is a stupid title and the book cover is awful, but the idea that some thought patterns are not bad, but are just there, and need to be reduced to background noise, was a turning point for me at a very dark and down time. 
I found ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) far more beneficial than CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), in spite of the evidence at the time insisting that CBT is the cure for social phobia and anxiety. I have no doubt that CBT works for some people, and in some situations, but I was not that person. 

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