As I’ve mentioned before, I have an avoidant personality disorder. I also suffer from severe anxiety. Both of these contributed to how I am now which is me just not doing anything on a daily basis. One day, I broke and decided that real life wasn’t for me. But really, I broke because it all felt too real and too hard. I didn’t give myself a proper chance with proper tools to not only adjust but navigate the real world with these two conditions.
I simply stayed home and didn’t do anything. That’s no way for anyone to live. I stopped connecting with friends and I didn’t bother to meet new people. My circle of support dwindled because I wanted to be alone all the time. That way, no one can see what I’m going through and possibly judge me for it. (Though, I received unsolicited, unhelpful advice. Yet these folks have no idea how to exist with this type of mental state.)
In time, I’ll say three years later, I did want to return to the real world. But I learned that I made a grave mistake in just giving up. I had a window where I could have pushed through, but I abruptly closed it and decided it wasn’t for me. Now, I want a job, I want a future, I want more. I want a real life and to live up to the potential I once had.
I learned a lot of things, some of which I’ll mention here. Others might make a great post in the future. So, I’ll just discuss the few I can think of right here and now.
I had to learn to deal with self-doubt.
It won’t just disappear. It will grow if not tamed, and it will poison everything in your life. I made friends with my self-doubt. Anytime I attempted to do something, it was right there, reminding me of all the negative opinions I had for myself.
To fix this, I learned to look at the value I possessed. I reminded myself of the things I’d accomplished. I learned to be proud of the skills I already possessed. And if there was something that wasn’t already innate in myself, I could learn to develop them.
I have room to learn and grow, and not all at once.
To become an expert, to fully develop a certain skill, it takes time. I had to learn patience with myself in this way.
During my time away from real life, I did take classes and picked up new skills on and off. It helped me build knowledge and confidence. These were small steps in preparing to reenter the real world.
I had to stop punishing myself for my failures.
It’s easy to ruminate over and over where things went wrong. That won’t bring the situation back; it’s long gone. It won’t improve or change anything. It happened. Instead of punishing myself, I simply learned to acknowledge it as a part of my past and a lesson learned.
None of these things fixed me, but I did learn to cope better with my situation. And that’s all I (we all) can do. Each day I strive to improve my life. With time, while I still might be anxious, but hopefully a better functioning human being.