It’s Nothing Personal

I’m currently on the bus home from therapy. Right now I’m just reflecting on one of the thoughts I’m taking away from today’s session.

We’ve been working on a bunch of things over the past many months such as my depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep issues.

Today, in reflecting on where I experience anxiety, bussing came to mind. I usually spend several hours in transit each day, and usually those hours have varying levels of anxiety for me.

There are several aspects of bussing that cause anxiety for me. One of those aspects is just the people on the bus.

I can think of few things that create as much anxiety for me as being surrounded by a big group of strangers. On a bus, it’s that in an enclosed space, which doesn’t help the situation.

Anywho, in thinking about why I may feel unsafe, one of the things that came up is the unpredictability of who will be on the bus with me.

Sometimes there are the people on the bus who yell and push people around. Sometimes there are the people on the bus who hit me with their backpacks or purses. Sometimes there are the people on the bus who will lean up against me when they’re trying to get closer to the exit.

I’ve always thought about these things as they’re just doing what they’re doing because I’m in their way or something.

After my conversation today, what’s opening up is the possibility that their behaviour has nothing to do with me.

They have a goal, and I happened to be in the way of that goal. But it had nothing to do with me. It was only the situation we were in. If it were anyone else in my place, they would have behaved the same way towards them.

It’s a subtle change of perspective. It doesn’t mean that their behaviour wasn’t rude. But it does mean that it wasn’t personal. And somehow that feels different to me.

One of the things we’ve explored in the past is how I navigate my life with the lens that everybody hates me (or at least that nobody likes me). I’m curious whether these things are related, and how deep these subconscious beliefs are acting.

But yes, one of the things my therapist asked me to try this week is to just sit with the feeling of anxiety. Don’t try to suppress it. Don’t try to distract myself from it. Just sit with it.

So I’m currently sitting on the bus, trying to be present to this nauseous feeling like I want to puke. Part of me is debating whether I should try to drill down and figure out what thoughts are leading to the anxiety, and applying the perspective change that has been on my mind since our session. But then part of me is worried whether that would just be another subconscious attempt to suppress, distract, or otherwise method of escaping the anxious feeling.

And now that I think about it, this sounds just like me. Trying to control everything again. It’s the circle of life.

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