With the phobia finally conquered I felt intense euphoria. I expected a relapse at some point but I was confident now that I had the skills to combat it, and what was more important I felt free for the first time in almost twenty years.
Naturally I overreacted and sought out new opportunities to use my new found skill. I literally invited myself to dinner whenever I could. I was trying to make up for lost time and also to experience the joy and pleasure of such occasions which I had denied myself for such a long time.
The post phobia period was a very emotional time. Amongst the general feeling of euphoria I also felt bitterness at having endured the disability and thinking back over the years of lost opportunities, particularly the year which I travelled and always wondering what might have been. I will, of course, have no way of knowing what might have been.
I also found myself in an isolated position caused by years of deliberately pushing family and friends away and keeping people at a distance. I wondered whether I could ever restore the damage caused by my continued antisocial behaviour. With old friends and acquaintances moving off on different life paths with the passage of time this thought could only prove to be a fantasy. It could never be practically accomplished.
To regain some level of internal peace and closure I did attempt to reach out to some long lost friends who remained dear to me or who had at some point been an integral part of my life. But I found they had advanced on into life with new commitments and responsibilities and apart from some brief friendly exchanges of texts and emails or a quick phone call my rejuvenated connections quickly dissolved.
I also looked up several of my older relatives and took some time out to visit them to restore some form of family connection. This proved a timely gesture on the part of some who have since passed away.
As well through the post phobia period I also partook in a little reading on the subjects of general happiness and mental wellbeing and much which I had self realised regarding the subconscious was confirmed to me. However I did find some snippets of information interesting and one was how the mind establishes a fear situation whether justified or not. Apparently our minds in the interest of self preservation are capable of creating a short cut so that fright and flight can take place before the source of the fear is identified. In that way you can quickly remove yourself from the danger zone before looking back to see what actually scared you. This short cut is very effective in keeping us all alive but can cause problems in the form of a phobia in our modern world as our subconscious can easily form fear links in our quickly changing environments which are not justified.
Also I discovered that the breeding ground for phobias occurs during childhood and early teen years and that if a phobia has developed it will surface in the late teen years. Looking back I can see this is precisely what happened in my situation.
And I discovered that empathetic people are more susceptible to phobias.
But the phenomenon which will always amaze me and remain with me was the fact that my damaged mind healed itself in the remarkable situation of a lunch time get together where on the outside I appeared to be socialising normally. While I was busily integrating with my fellow guests and the hosts with care free chatter and banter my mind was at war with itself until the war was eventually won. I will always find this a staggering scenario and it gave me the inspiration for my novel which is due to be released later this year. (see my blog the novelist for details)
But in the end after much soul searching and deliberation I decided the best thing to do was to simply move on. But before I embark on the second stage of this trilogy tale I would like to mention one other thing.
Early on in the phobia years when my confidence and self esteem was low and I was becoming increasingly indecisive I had to decide on a career choice. I might add that in the early years when I did not understand what was happening to me I was becoming afraid of any non social, confined, inhabited space. This of course affected my career choice as I wanted to avoid office spaces. I was committed to gain tertiary education and embark on a professional career, so I turned to land surveying. This not only fulfilled my self imposed criteria of a global profession with a university degree attached but I could see that it would also allow me to work outdoors for a significant amount of the working day.
Although it proved an intriguing and versatile career choice it also proved to become a source of inspiration because at one particular moment during my self evaluation years I received, literally out of no where, an incredibly strong desire to write; and to write about the characters which I came across during my time at work.
So before I proceed with the main feature I would like to present a handful of these initial stories over the next few blogs.
I will present them in their original form regardless of the writing style as it preserves the intention of the moment.