WARNING: This post covers sensitive information and mentions detailed stories of violence and abuse. please do not read if you feel this will be triggering or in any way harmful.
Throughout high school i started to notice that when i was near males i felt extremely nervous. i never understood why and my friends understandably joked about it and assumed it was more to do with crushes then anything else. I didn’t know how to explain it and it felt like no one would ever understand.. I would be frozen. stuck there, unable to move or speak and i would have such an overwhelming sense of fear come over me. I avoided all situations that involved males whenever possible.
near the end of grade 12 i switched schools and was finishing my high school courses on a college campus. this was great, except now there were thousands of guys and the fear got even worse.. we had to use the college gym which meant walking a long way through the college hallways to get there. I hated gym. I would put in my headphones and put my music on full blast hoping that it would keep everyone from trying to interact with me .. looked down, held my breathe and walked as quickly as i could. along the way though I would notice all the spots where danger could become reality, secluded stairways and places out of view.
This never stopped. although my fears of a guy popping out of the stairway when no one was around and attacking me never happened, the thoughts continued to haunt me.
I ended up going to college at this same school. not long after starting college I met my soon to be girlfriend. she encouraged me to get help as she learned of my fears and struggle with mental health. she made me feel safe, empowered somehow. i became almost invincible when I was with her. something about holding her hand as i walked through the hallways made me feel almost fearless, i felt like no one could ever bother me now and why would a guy want to? clearly, I’m not interested.
No, these thought were not rational but that’s how it made me feel.
later, through my girlfriends encouragement i started seeking help.. i didn’t get very far and the resources i was given weren’t helping but eventually after a long struggle and a ton of set backs i started to learn about my fears.
I learned that what i thought was extreme nervousness was actually ANXIETY, once i understood this i was able to start to learn how to feel better and cope with the anxiety. again this took a long time, I am about three years into this now and only recently have i felt that i really have a handle on managing my anxiety.
but where did this come from? why was it guys that made me so anxious.. what was i so afraid of? well as i started talking about my past and my home life i started to uncover a lot of suppressed feelings i had. I had blocked a lot out and instead of letting myself feel emotions i would internalize everything and take it out on myself through self harm. when i finally began to let myself feel i uncovered where the trauma and fear came from.
i briefly mentioned this in my video about my upbringing :
For a period of time in my life i was living with a step-dad and my mom, i had two other siblings living with me and what i thought was normal fighting and occurred regularly was actually a dark and twisted case of domestic abuse. i feared for my life on a daily basis, always terrified that as i sat at the kitchen table with my back to my stepfather that he would come up behind me and start stabbing me. this created a fear for me around knives, i would stand at look at the knives terrified to touch them.. i always felt like i wouldn’t have control when i was holding a knife and had thoughts and visions of losing control and stabbing myself in the stomach or stabbing someone else. (no I’m not a danger, this understandably as a child was my way of trying to make myself feel safe.)
many nights there were dishes being thrown like freebees and glass shattering all around the house, there was screaming and yelling and a lot of death threats. during these episodes me and my older brother became trained to take our younger sibling to his room and distract him. we always knew what was happening outside that door and i always feared for our lives and that we would end up cornered and killed in that very room.
I never knew this to be anything out of the ordinary.
it got to the point that we all had bags packed at all times so if we had to we could literally grab our stuff and run. many nights we did end up leaving with our bags and each of us holding onto our stuffed animals as the cops talked to our mom on the porch.
once I had been mad aware of the fact that this was not “normal” and that it created trauma for me i began to understand why i feared guys.
to this day, i have moments when being around guys makes me very anxious. i am much better and have learned to start to trust more and more but i still have many flashbacks and am always hyper aware of spots and situations that could put me in a dangerous situation.
as i mentioned in the video, the man i mentioned throughout this post is no longer violent and aggressive. he has worked on changing and has quit drinking.
I now live with a very supportive and loving family and for the first time I have someone i can call dad who i don’t have to fear in any way. I still have a really difficult time with the thought of upsetting a guy in my life and try to avoid doing anything that could upset them. my family is working with me on this and trying to get me to slowly start to face my fears and tell them honestly if something they did or said is bothering me and trusting that they will not react violently or aggressively.
please note: if someone has been through a traumatizing situation it is very dangerous to force them into “facing there fears” they need to do this at there own pace and with professional support.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an abusive situation: https://www.thehotline.org/