Attractive Panic

by Noise Pollution

A new girl showed up at my support group today. Well, maybe not “new,” she had been to it once before, a few months ago, but still new in my eyes.

She is unbearably attractive.

She is the kind of pretty that makes it hard to look at her for too long; you immediately become self-conscious and worry that you might be leering at her. So I didn’t look at her much. Eye-contact with pretty people is not something I’m good at.

I had to remind myself that I’m not exactly in good shape right now. Like, I understand that maybe it’s bad to put myself down, and maybe I should have a more positive outlook, but as far as matters of the heart are concerned, I”m pretty much dead in the water at the moment. I have gained a lot of weight over the last few years. Like, a ton of weight. Like, an I-should-be-worried-that-I’ve-significantly-shortened-my-lifespan amount of weight. And this isn’t, like, me “fat-shaming” myself or anything, but I don’t think anyone would find me attractive. This is just reality. I can live with it. If I want someone who I find attractive to find me attractive, I need to lose weight. I’ve come to terms with that, and aside from a few sporadic moments of weakness, I’ve kept my heart pretty closed-off as a reaction to that.

I had a bit of panic attack.

Why do I do this? Why can I not stand to be attracted to anyone without short-circuiting as a result? I got into a bit of a loop; I would fawn over her for a second, then berate myself for being stupid enough to fawn over her, then berate myself for being conceited enough to find her attractive. Like, by entertaining romantic thoughts about her, I’m assuming that there’s any chance of them happening, and that’s wrong, because there isn’t. Then I would yell at myself for being so self-absorbed; that I’m so focused on how shitty I am that I can’t think of anything else; how selfish of me. Then that line of thinking would repeat itself and become exponentially more severe, and interspersed throughout all of this are occasional butterflies in my stomach, and it all eventually filters itself into what can only be described as actual screaming inside my head.

There were no coherent thoughts, just anxiety. Just self-defeating pangs of hysteria, cutting through every other potential thought or action. I had to excuse myself. I had to sit on the bathroom floor and listen to my own music on my iPod. I had to breathe. It was pathetic.

To top it all off, she was, like, nice to me and stuff. She said hi to me, sat next to me during group, and then even complimented me. It doesn’t mean anything. I’m 100% certain of that. I’m 1000% certain of that. But it gave that shitty part of me that was so attracted to her hope, and that hope just made everything worse. It made me more mad at myself.

I don’t know how to handle this situation. I think… I mean, it wasn’t clear to everyone else why I was having so much anxiety, so it’s not like I’ve created an unsalvageable situation. Her and I can still be friends; this was all happening entirely inside my head this time, unlike the last social panic attack I described here. That’s cool. But I’m well aware that this sort of thinking is actually, legitimately  crazy. But I can’t change it. I’m so freaked out. This is all just icing on the cake of my current nihilistic existential crisis, so I’m… I’m really not doing so hot. I’m scared. Of the future, of the present, and of myself.

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