Social Anxiety, Quantum Mechanics & Existential Dread.
I currently feel like I am not human. Not fully complete. Hollow. Shallow. Like someone has grabbed a handful of my mind and won’t let go. Time is jumbled up into one indistinct ball of matter, and the world feels hazy and bleak.
In other words I’m on holiday and have no idea what to do with myself.
I’m basically used to being occupied. For most of my existence my mind has been filled to the brim with school, minimal sleep, painstaking page flipping, harsh glaring screens and hours and hours of sitting and internal screaming. So in social situations my anxiety about how other people are looking at me or what to say or i shouldn’t have said that now i look like an idiot oh god why am i like this just fades away. I have a justification for being socially incompetent. I can almost forgive myself for interactions such as:
“Why are you eating alone suspiciously in a corner?”
“Because I can”
“Hah. Okay” *walks away*
I stand there internally kicking myself while my mouth is full of biscuits because I can’t act like a normal person and explain that I am not allowed to eat in the library; and because of this I sound like a pretentious rat. “Because I can”
I mean this interaction could have gone worse. I have improved slightly from this:
“So where are you from?”
“Atlanta Georgia” I still cringe at my short and blunt response. This question in itself immediately induces a panic attack. Does he want to know my ethnic background or where i was born? I cant just start a whole speech…
“Cool! Which coast?” I should know the answer to this question. Also what kind of question even is this? Is this normal to know? That the state of Atlanta lies on the east coast and is 7973 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean???
I had two options. Lie and say that it was on the west coast but then if he actually knows the answer I’m gonna look like an idiot. or. Say i don’t know and look like an idiot because I had lived there for most of my life.
And so i did neither. I made a solid 10 seconds of eye contact and said nothing.
A miserable spectacle of wrecked humanity, pitiable to others and intolerable to myself. — Mary Shelley… or the words I chant to myself after ever social interaction.
But alas when I am on holiday I am left exposed. This blubbering mess is fully unleashed; and my anxiety is back. If I couldn’t fully function without my anxiety… well look at me now. I am fully equipped with awkward silences, uncommitted sentences and stares, mumbling, sweaty palms and a permanent smile on my face in fear of ever looking like a pretentious rat again. Although I think it only makes me look worse. My internal decay shines through my placid glazed eyes and widened enameled smile.
I am constantly anxious about making a fool of myself which is what paradoxically makes me make a fool of myself.
So I am stuck in this ever tightening gyre of self loathing and uselessness.
But there is hope. There is his theory. Schrödinger’s cat. Basically if I lock myself up in a room there are infinite possibilities were I could be the most confident person ever or an absolute weirdo or somewhere inbetween. These possibilities are all happening at once. Being in a social context and observed by others collapses my state of superposition. But just what exactly is seen by others I have some sort of control over. I can choose to be funny. So when I open up that door, i’ll be observed by others as confident.
Quantum Mechanics is tricky.
The point is that no amount of time will fix this mess. I need to take action and actively try to get better. Not be concealed by routine. But placed in uncomfortable situations where I will eventually. And hopefully. Get better.
Speaking of infinity. Have you every really thought about it? It really puts death into perspective. Makes it seem like sunshine and roses.
I was watching this show. It explains future possibilities of Earths apocalyptic demise. In this episode a monstrous and permanent hurricane had engulfed the entire Earth and the only form of survival is to stay in its eye, track the movements of the storm, and keep moving. Forever. This sort of life is sickening to me. There was no hope. No outcome. No songs of better days. The human condition and entirety of human life was reduced into a simple binary outcome. Life or Death? To choose Life and keep suffering or succumb to Death.
I mean Life is still a binary outcome. But we have so much more to fill it with. The purpose of living is not to die. The purpose of living is to live. to feel. To be happy.
That is not to say we should simply life a hedonistic lifestyle. I think (trying not to sound like a pretentious rat who knows the answers and secrets to life) life is about helping others.
Because if we are doomed to die. Considering the end of the end when there is nothing left it almost seems hopeless to bother existing or making art or worry about the economy. But paradoxically ( can you tell this is my favourite word) because of this it means that the purpose of life isn’t the end goal but to help as many people as possible to enjoy the journey while enjoying it ourselves.