Real Life Two-Face

For a very long time it has seemed that I have two very distinct images of myself, kind of like an inner and outer layer of the person I comprehend to be myself. They are quite obvious: on the surface is the person I try to be and want everyone else too see in me. He’s supposed to be smart, relaxed, funny in a dry-and-dark way, knowledgeable, infallible, musical, a bit geeky etc… He’s also the person that has to behave perfectly.

The core of me is everything that goes around in my head and all the things I go through but don’t want to show anyone else – or can’t in the case of my anxiety. Some things I like to keep inside my mind and uphold the PerfectMe exterior to keep them hidden from view. I rarely feel like I’m the person I try to pass myself as to everyone else, but it’s something that allows me to hide in plain sight. Without the barrier I feel like all the things I keep secret from others would be exposed or I would be vulnerable to every sort of attack such as humiliation.

The problem is when I want to show that inner part of myself. It’s easy to smile when you’re happy and a bit harder to shout when you’re angry. But when I’m anxious, there’s no facial expression I can show. There isn’t a way for me to nonverbally say “I’m anxious right now, please try to not make it any worse even though we have to do this thing we’re doing”. It’s not a particularly easy thing to say out loud either, or something that I want to spurt out in the middle of a conversation. Thus I just keep up the facade even though there’s a storm just below. This is one of those moments when my priorities shift completely: I try to do what I’m supposed to, such as focus on the lecture in school, but my utmost priority is to survive, make the anxiety go away and calm down or bolt out of the door, out of that situation, somewhere where I don’t feel threatened.

You can probably see the problem here. People around me won’t see anything coming. Suddenly I just say that I have to go or give some lousy excuse to take a break (at this point my mind will already be making up and evaluating the best lines that allow me to leave). I come back in thinking or knowing that I can’t explain why I just had to go right that time, not five minutes later when we’d have wrapped up our discussion. And wondering what those people think the reason was, did I go do something or am I just a douche who lets others wait for no reason?

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~ by Ndprs on February 9, 2012.

One Response to “Real Life Two-Face”

  1. Thank you for sharing about your anxiety. Anxiety can be a real lonely place. Just wanted to send an encouraging note to keep writing about your struggle. It’s facing your fear that will help you learn to cope with it. Anxiety is hard to live with because it is hidden in plain sight. Hang in there, and keep working at addressing your anxiety.

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