No longer as truthful as should be deserved, some names, places and events deliberately vague to protect identities that aren't mine

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A letter to the one who slipped away

So without going into huge amounts of detail, most of the people who read this blog seem to have an idea of what's going on, so I don't think it'll fuck things up too much to post this now.  Of course I could be wrong....

So for the last 6 months or so, a lot of my close friends have conspired against me, to bring a boy that I'm in love with to see me as a surprise visit.  They put themselves out, excused themselves from situations, created distractions to fool me, kept their mouths shut through being drunk and high, and did all sorts of crazy things to do this for me.  And I was a bastard and I found out 6 weeks ago.  Even to the point I knew exactly what flight he was on and had the airport live departures board open on my phone the night he flew here so I could text him "I love you" just as he was boarding.  And like the devil I am I said nothing and let you all conspire and think you were fooling me and play your little games.  You were all so mad I knew.  I made a very good, very polite, friend yell out "LITTLE SHIT".

Thank you.  I love you all for it.  Perhaps not as much as I love him.  But from what lots of you have told me, it was worth all your scheming just to see the smile on my face when I'm with him.  It's one of the sweetest things any guy, or group of friends has ever done for me, it's something I never would expected, and I never would have guessed it had I not found out from my own devious machinations.  I'm genuinely a little bit sorry I knew, because yet, it would have been an amazing surprise.  But even knowing, it was an incredible thing for you all to do for me, for so many of you to work together, for so long, in so many ways, just so I could hold a boy in my arms, and get to tell him I love him one more time; so I didn't have to wait quite so long again.

That's twice this year I have been forced to stop, been stunned and shocked by the generosity, understanding, and love of my friends, so much that a simple "you're awesome" to your faces wont cover it.  I hope one day I can do the same for all of you in some way.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Fear is the mind killer

So the other day I had a panic attack.

They don't happen that often thankfully; I know what tends to induce them and generally avoid those situations, but sometimes they can't be helped.  Sometimes they're induced without warning during a depressive episode and I can't do anything about them.  But I get them in other ways too; often they're related to social situations.

It's a point where the impressive amount of confidence I generally manage to exude completely falters, because it's not confidence in the slightest: it's all bravado, a lot of it, that actively overcompensates.  And okay it does it well cause most of you assume I can get what I want easy and that I know what I'm doing.  But as I say, it's all a lie.

One thing that really sets it off, and was the thing to set it off the other day, is being on my own in social situations.  As an only child I need alone time, but it also means I'm less good in social situations.  I don't necessarily need to BE with a friend all the time, but I need to know where they are, and have at least some vague sense of how long I'm going to have to fend for myself.  I don't do well by myself, I tend to stand in the corner awkwardly.  Even if I've been introduced to a group of people, I'm not good with people I don't feel I know well and am comfortable with.  I'm never sure if they actually like me, or are just being nice and saying hi because my friend is there.  I need someone else to initiate the conversation.  I need to be introduced to people first.  I'm not good at jumping in and putting myself out there.  It's something I'm aware of, and I'm trying to work on, but for reasons I'll go into in the next paragraph, I have to take it in almost imperceptibly small steps.

If I end up on my own for any length of time, for whatever reason - maybe the friend I was with bumped into someone they know on the way back from the toilet and got talking to them - and being 'on my own' might be hanging out with a group of people I just met that night, but am too socially awkward to actually interact with of my own volition, that's when the panic attack sets in.  At first I just get a little paranoid and agitated, with my conscious thought constantly wondering where my friend(s) is/are.  This steadily builds up and after 5-10 minutes I'm constantly looking around hoping I spot them coming round the corner.  My breathing starts to pick up and my heart rate increases to match.  Around the 15 minute mark I get into real problems - by this point I am very paranoid, very anxious and trying to stop myself from hyperventilating and throwing myself into a full blown asthma attack as a result.  My muscles shake but as I try and keep myself vaguely composed so as not to draw attention to myself and end up being 'the guy who had the freak out' I end up unable to move, and unable to speak except very quietly, because anything more than that and I'll lose control and the panic attack will completely take me over.  And when the whole deal is I'm feeling uncomfortable in social situations, having a panic attack in the middle of one is rather obviously the worst thing I can do to make me feel any better about anything.  Of course this then means that I can't even then go wander around to FIND my friend(s), or realistically ask someone else to go find them and impress upon them the importance of finding them and quickly without going into detail about the situation, and explaining such would make me lose control and I'd end up freaking out publicly.  Catch-22

Eventually, when the friend does inevitably turn up, and I manage to calm myself down, or tell them what's happened and get them to calm me down, my entire body then hurts, as the effect of the strain on my muscles from where they were involuntarily shaking in panic that I was forcibly keeping as still as possible so as not to draw attention to myself suddenly hits as the feeling anxiety stops taking up all of my conscious thought process and allows me to become actively aware of the world around me.

The person who had to deal with my panic attack earlier this week had no idea about this aspect of me, nor should he have, I've probably told the above to all of 3 people in my life before, and maybe another 3 have worked it out through their ability to read people's emotions and mental processes without being told them.  Again, the bravado-as-confidence that I normally display in abundance is designed to hide all this.  So the fact that most people, even most of my closest friends, probably didn't know quite how bad I could get until they read this post is really just testament to how convincing I am with the impression of myself I intend to project, and for you to see, versus what's actually going on inside me.

And on highly related note, this is why I am nowhere near as good at getting boys/sex/etc as so many of you actually think I am.  It involves putting myself in a situation, with someone I don't really know, or don't know how they're going to react to the prospect of a date or fuck, and even with a friend beside you, that's something you're effectively doing on your own.  I find it almost impossible to pick up guys when I'm out - It's a crippling and paralyzing level of fear for me to go up to a boy and try and talk to him.  I've been granted some modicum of grace by the internet, where you can idly message someone on grindr with a 'hey' or cruise someone on an online profile or whatever - I still get that painful stab of rejection when they largely don't reply, but it's at least something.  I am not good at all at making the first move.  Once a dialogue has been established, I'm fine, but that initial contact, that putting yourself out there, that making the first move; it's almost impossible for me.  This is why I love the US.  American boys and girls are so much happier and willing to make the first move, and culturally, it's not met with as much suspicion and hostility as a stranger coming up to you and saying hi is in the UK.  Americans are a lot shier when it comes to full on flirtation or sexual issues, but that's the bit I am good at, and I am confident at, so it balances out well.  And of course once they start talking to me, they hear I'm British and it all goes Love Actually and group sex instantly happens.