What Is Wrong With Me?

Dear Reader,

I have to admit this story is probably going to sound pretty funny now.

I am making a conscious effort to try to learn more about how to help myself seeing as doctors pretty much suck at it. Which isn’t their fault, mental illness is personal and because of that its hard to help someone, especially someone who struggles to form words when around new people or people who I feel are prying too deeply into my mind (Doctors included)

So I decided to go to the book shop in town today, I was meeting a friend for lunch so I decided to go a little earlier so I could go to the book shop and look at the self-help books, I am almost embarrassed to type that. I mean do people still read self-help books? Whatever. I decided to go and look, I guess I was looking for Depression for dummies or whatever, not that I really need a dummy crash course on depression. I mean, I know what depression is. I don’t know what I expect from these books.

Regardless, I got dressed 10 minutes before I had to leave, I wore my pyjamas top under my sad day hoodie because I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed for the 2 hours I would be out of the house.

I contemplated putting my coat on, but realised that with my sad day hoodie I look like an idiot with my coat on so opted for no coat. I walked to the bus stop and the bus arrived soon after.

Sitting on the bus with my headphones on I don’t really realise much, I get carried away listening to the music and that’s, that. At the time to get off the bus approached, I realized I was wearing my stupid jeans that no matter what fall down. I made an awkward attempt to pull them up to my waist whilst sitting and acting casually (it didn’t go well.)
I got off the bus and walked to Waterstones, the bookshop which is maybe a 3 minute walk from my bus stop. I noticed as I was walking to the store that I had made a grave mistake not putting my coat on. it was 2 degrees outside, the ground was still frozen really and little patches of snow were still on the grass verges that sporadically straddle the pavement in the town center. Well, I fixated on how dumb I looked, imagined people I know seeing me and thinking “what an idiot. it’s cold.”

By the time I got to the book store I was fixated on the idea that I was an idiot for not wearing a coat and how I look like an idiot. The shop was quiet, very few customers and just one staff member who was on the phone.

I walked straight to the stationary section, well, speed walked. I don’t know why I walked so fast, but I felt clumsy and awkward. And I wasn’t wearing a coat. So I automatically must have looked suspicious, why would anyone leave their house without a coat in this weather? I convinced myself I looked suspicious to the staff member and the customer who was now a plain clothed security guard in my head. And so i had a panic attack, I tried to hold my breath to prevent the hyperventilating. But of course that did not work, so I walked around the shop breathing heavily, without a coat looking like a criminal. They must have thought I was a shoplifter, I looked like I had been “pulled through a hedge backwards” as my mother used to say, scruffy sad day hoodie, jeans that were suddenly too big for me and my hair which is in terrible need of cutting.

So, I escaped to the basement level to look at the self-help books, it was empty. No staff, no customers, I was safe and I began to breathe ok. I walked over to a table and read the back of a book, I became incredibly weary of the idea that all security cameras were trained on me and my suspicious look. I moved to another section and looked at more books, but than plain clothed security / customer came downstairs so I walked away (Which probably made me look more suspicious) I walked back to the ground floor, then journeyed to the 1st floor almost walking into some guy who was coming down the stairs.

On the top floor I browsed around but didn’t see anything interesting, so I stared at my phone and pretended to text, that’s what normal people do right? Text? I couldn’t leave the shop now, I would look weird, I had to look normal. What do normal people do? I kept typing and scrolling and smiling at my phone. Did I look normal or crazy? Then it all got too much and I left because I was frustrated at my own weirdness.

So, my next stop was the comic book store, I had a standing order with this shop for 7 years, but I moved my orders to an independent, cheaper shop that some friends own a few years ago and gradually reduced my order. Then the staff changed and I felt the personal service was gone so stopped collecting my standing order. Which caused them to cancel it because I ignored their phone calls. Anyway, I went in and was happy to see that the manager wasn’t there, then I noticed he was and felt uncomfortable and left.

I now had about 10 minutes to wait for my friend so I went to meet her. When we sat down to eat, I told her about my panic attack in the book shop and why I had, had it. She looked at me gone out and told me it was bizarre and weird. So I stopped talking about it. I don’t like to freak people out with my weird brain. Sometimes my brain has odd thought trains.

Still didn’t get my self-help book. Maybe next week.
Same time again Waterstones? I’ll try to look more presentable this time.

As Always,

The Elephant in the Room

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36 thoughts on “What Is Wrong With Me?

  1. I have never stolen anything from a shop, but always get really paranoid every time I’m about to leave the store because I’m convinced the security will grab hold of me and accuse me of stealing… crazy minds

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  2. it’s how something fixates in your mind and you can’t let it go and it just grows into something huge, I dislike that feeling that I’m being watched because I know sometimes my behaviour is erratic, which then makes me act more erractically to appear normal..see round and round it goes:)

    take care:)

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  3. I can relate to so much of this. At least for me, when I am deep into depression, I don’t care how I look when I go out. Sometimes, I’m not even conscious of it. One of my doctors once described it as “an outside manifestation of the way you feel on the inside.” That’s a fancy way of saying that I sometimes look as bad on the outside as I feel on the inside. I have longish hair, and people will sometimes ask me if I’ve combed my hair that day. I thought I did, but maybe I didn’t. Recently, my pants have been falling down on me, even with a belt. That may be because I tend to skip meals when I’m very depressed, which means I lose weight–and not in a good way. I have noticed that lately, I have to tighten my belt even further. It’s hard to make sense of all of this sometimes.

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  4. Okay, I love your blog name, the theme, the content – this is all wonderful. I have Cerebral Palsy and blog a lot about that, I really hope I can get as good as you are at writing this type of stuff. I’m a big fan of “self help” books but I think the trick is not to go into the self help section but to look for books based on what you’re working on at the time, that’s what has worked best for me.

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  5. Hey don’t be so hard on yourself I’m sure no one was judging you as hard as you were being on yourself! I have an anxiety problem so I get the whole crazy mind thing to an extent. Very well said, good luck, show Em who’s boss and get that book!

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  6. I totally relate to the feeling like you look suspicious sometimes or are being watched, its almost like just being uncomfortable in your own skin and it feels like the whole world notices and is watching cuz somehow you’re just oozing “the weirdness vibe” or something. And for the record I still read self-help books! haha so go for it! Hope ya find yourself a good one!

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  7. I hate feeling like I’m being watched, which is pretty much how I feel whenever I’m outside the confines of home. On one hand I can’t stand crowded shops but at the same time the focus of being one of the only people in a store has a whole other element of pressure – and trying to act normal without having a clue what ‘normal’ looks like.. ugh I feel you!
    Good on you for facing the challenge that leaving the house and being in public can really represent.
    Seems pretty crummy of your ‘friend’ to treat you so poorly about your panic attack and emotions. I’m sorry that you didn’t get the support you deserved there. :/
    All I can say is I understand how you’re feeling and I think you’re doing really well.
    Stay strong! xx

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  8. This story made me laugh because I saw myself reflected in it. Even though I work in retail and know what suspicuous customers look like (you didn’t come close, so don’t worry!) I always worry that because I get anxious and paranoid that they’ll think I’m stealing, especially if I don’t buy anything.
    Also, there is actually a ‘Depression for Dummies’ book in existance, and I’d love to read it. I hope you have more success next time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe you will get the book next time. 🙂

      I have read self-help books. They’re so interesting, IMO. Some have not been too helpful (honestly there are some that repeat the same information over and over again and you can tell their whole book is written around only one idea they had). But some I have really appreciated. Good luck 🙂

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  9. Hi,
    About your self-help search. I read a book called “Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wertzel. It’s a memoir. It’s not a “self-help” book per-se, but it did help me see, finally, that yes, I am depressed and not just crazy. A lot of the things that she says about depression are things that I’ve felt/experienced and it just made me feel better knowing that I’m not the only one that goes through it. Hope you get to feeling better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I absolutely love your blog; First time reader. You have a way of lightening the (my) mood. When your friend could not relate to what you were saying, I instantly related to your experience. People think I am weird if I am actually truthful about how I feel. I think my therapist even thinks I weird. Thanks.
    Dale

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  11. I have been trying to cope with irrational fears,one of which would be if someone thought I was shoplifting. I hate that your friend couldn’t relate. I feel like that a lot. It’s hard to open up to people then when they look at you like you’ve grown a second head makes it so much worse! I wish a book would help, but not sure it would.

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  12. Thank you for liking my poem Lost Sister on WordMusic. This was the hardest poem to write, ever. It happened 17 years ago and it still hurts. My sister was my best friend and I didn’t understand the depth of her illness until she was gone.

    Brent Kincaid, WordMusic.

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  13. hey. Enjoyed reading your piece. I received a great deal of help from self-help books. There is no shame in saying anything that you said. Many people are closet readers of self-help books and feel the need to keep this a secret. The more we talk openly and share the more we know.

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  14. I chuckled inside when I read “I don’t like to freak people out with my weird brain.” As far as I am concerned there is nothing weird about your brain. Your thoughts and reactions make perfect sense to me. That is neither good nor bad, It Just Is, I guess. Thanks for stopping by my little bit of space in this world. I clicked on your post because of the title. How could I not? I don’t think there is anything wrong with you.

    Liked by 3 people

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