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Sometimes, They Win

I am always alone. That is how I will die and that is how I live, pushing people out and locking myself in. My thoughts are my own, left alone in my head. My body stands alone, even in a crowd. Loneliness is daunting. I can feel when it's near. It steals my breath and turns my body corpse cold. Then it all begins- the shivers down my spine, the closing of my throat, and the sudden sense of danger. All eyes go to me, except they look right through. Noises intensify, canceling out my thoughts. I can't hear myself think.


In Auburn, located in Central New York, I am forced to be alone. The force behind my perpetual loneliness is debatable. I place blame on everyone in this god forsaken town, but while my fingers point at them, theirs become daggers aimed at my back. Is it truly my fault though? I do not believe it is me, but instead, something within me that causes me to be alone. That something is anxiety.


July 23, 2011 was no exception to my spell of loneliness. It started out social. I went to the Battle of the Bands in Skaneateles. My intention was to support Jake, a close friend and crush for the past four years. He had publicly ignored me for the most part of those years, but recently started showing some interest. On my way to Skan-town I gave myself a pep talk in my head. I told myself that everything was going to be fine, Jake would talk to me and I would talk to him. I wasn't going to let my nerves take over and ruin this for me.


When I got into the building everything changed. My eyes spotted Jake, but as they continued to scan the room they caught a glimpse of someone else- Christine. She had an even bigger crush on Jake than I had ever had, and he actually acknowledged her existence in public. My mood changed. I felt sick. I couldn't stand to be there anymore. Nothing's worse than being the third-wheel.


As the night progressed, everyone talked to me except Jake. I knew that would happen. He makes the effort to walk to my house at 3 in the morning, but can't seem to manage even a "Hi" in person. A panic attack begins. I know its every move. First I choke up. I can't breathe. My throat is closed. No one notices. I gasp for air, struggling to keep my lungs open. Nothing. I can hear conversations of strangers opposite me on the floor, but I can't hear my own thoughts. No one else seems to be affected by the sudden change in volume. It's as if some clumsy person leaned on the sound dial of the room, turning it to high. The only way to quiet everyone is to leave. I make for the bathroom. Once there, I splash water on my face. As my eyes meet the mirror, the self-loathing begins.


I dry my face and leave the building. Sitting on a bench outside, I can't seem to hold back my tears. I let anxiety win over me again. I am powerless. An elderly couple walked by and the woman asked if I was alright. I told her I was fine, that it just got too hot inside- a well played lie. I texted my dad begging him to pick me up. He was in the middle of a movie and never responded. I was stranded. Alone. Hours later I was joined by more Auburnians outside. They were all surprised to see me, since they hadn't even noticed that I left. It's sad how complete strangers are more perceptive than common peers.


I step out of my comfort zone, hoping for change and a way out of anxiety's chains. In time I'll get there, but it has a tight grip. I'm loosening it ever so slightly each day. There are circumstances in life out of my control. Silent disorders feed on my soul. Long processes start with baby steps, though babies take a dozen tumbles before they can walk on their own.





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