My day started off very productive. I started two loads of laundry, rode downtown to get some studying done. I saw a movie and had an early meal. I then rode to a pub where a friend was having a birthday party. That’s when I ran into trouble.
I told myself I wouldn’t let it bother me that the friend who invited me was going to be the only person there that I knew. And I told myself that it I wouldn’t let it bother me that I had never been to this pub. As I arrived, I rode my bike past the entrance. I thought I saw my friend through the window. But, I wasn’t sure. I could feel my chest tightening. I knew if I walked in, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. But, instead of leaving, I rode slowly around the building a couple of times, hoping that I would eventually be able to calm my nerves. After about 5 minutes, I realized it wasn’t going to work. So, I took off.
I feel like a jerk for letting these feelings get to me. I was grateful to be invited. I RSVP’d that I would be there. I wanted to go. I say she is my friend. But, we don’t know each other really well. We communicate online via twitter and facebook more than in person. What we do have in common is a love of bikes. I rode with her once when I lived closer. I wanted to use this occasion to both get to know her better and prove to myself that social anxiety wasn’t an issue for me anymore.
Of course I knew what was coming after I rode away. The further I got away from the pub, the worst I felt. I have a history of beating myself up over personal struggles. And tonight didn’t disappoint. I rode slow. I wanted to continue thinking about why this happened and less about whether or not I was going to make the next light. By the time I got to where I am now, it happened. For the first time in over a year, I had a suicidal thought. I didn’t dwell on it. But, there it was. If there were a gun holstered on my belt or somehow fastened onto my handlebars, I would have at the very least, put it in my mouth. I’m not proud of it. I don’t feel that way now. It didn’t last long. But, it was there. And I don’t know how to handle it, outside of writing about it.
What I do know is that I don’t like what people see when they see me. To the world they see a man. And it bothers me a lot. Somedays are better than others. But, it’s an embarrassment that persists. I’m not entirely sure if this was the root cause. But, it’s quickly becoming the only problem on my list. I take medication to combat the social anxiety. And 95% of the time it helps. I’m able to sit in a classroom. I am able to attend group meetings at the GLBT Center. I have friends. I have held a job for a long time. But.
I’ll end up going home in a little bit to finish folding laundry and read a little bit of a book. I’ll try to not think about how the day ended. But, it’s going to be hard.
Tomorrow is another day. One filled with new, different challenges. I intend to continue fighting without dwelling.