Almost every day throughout high school I experienced something that I could not identify. It was over a year since I had graduated until could put words to emotion. I discovered that I was not free in my own mind. I was in a prison. One that I couldn't touch and for many years I could not see. After several visits to counselors and therapists I finally had the words to describe what my experience was.
It had come to the attention of my family that I had some sort of psychological problem and something had to be done. I was always labeled as a shy and quiet kid, and like my family I had thought nothing more of my behavior. However, now it had become something more obvious. I had told my parents the kinds of problems I was having. Basically I didn't want to talk to anyone or to be anywhere near anyone I didn't know. I didn't really want to leave my house for any reason for fear that I might have to talk to someone. I was so critical and scrutinizing in relation to myself that I couldn't even enter into a conversation. Everyone seems to have a part of themselves that lends itself to thoughts of pessimism and failure, but mine was something that was in the forefront of my mind at all times. Something telling me that everything I did was a failure, and that anything I ever did would not succeed. Through discussion with my family it was decided that I should move out of my parents house to a place where I could find treatment and get a job. I was to reside with my sister Lisa, her partner Brynn, and their Saint Bernard in Greensboro.
As we pulled out of my parents driveway, the circumstances seemed very surreal. My entire way of life had been turned upside down with only a few hours consideration. I was very much “at sea” in the respect. No longer was I a teenager under my parents guidance; I was an adult with a whole new set of problems. As we drove away, myself in the back of the car, my sister and her partner in the front, the sun was shining into my face. The bright light irritated my eyes and I turned away from it. Looking back at this it seemed that the blinding sun was appropriate. I was moving towards change, something better, but the transition was to be a stinging one.
Upon arriving at my sister's house I began to get settled. I set myself up in a spare room that was available in the house and tried to get comfortable. That night my sleep was sparse. I was expected to start looking for work the next day and my mind did what it usually did at times of turmoil such as this. It destroyed me. The following morning I woke up and tried to explain to my sister and Brynn what was happening to me. It was evident that on the list of priorities, psychological help might be on a higher plateau than that of occupational interests. My first session with a therapist was to scheduled for later that week.
I sat in the office nodding. The therapist went down the list of signs of a panic disorder and those of an anxiety disorder. With each question...