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Re-walking a thorny path

 

It was 10th May 2019; I had just appeared for the selection process for a Tier 1 B-school. Today was the result day. On the selection process day my heart was pounding. Before the interview I was so nervous that the student coordinator multiple times tried to soothe me. It was then that I knew I will not get through. But in the kingdom of hope rationale is a prisoner. I still hoped that some miracle would get me through. The verdict declared rationale not guilty and I failed to get in.

This was only the tip of the ice berg. Anything that involved speaking and lot of people in general would create a strong emotional reaction, to a point where it would completely paralyse my cognitive abilities. Let alone professional failures, in general navigating through day-today life was a task. Going to college was a task. Going to the shopkeeper to buy something felt like a challenging thing. Finding a rickshaw to go to college felt like a task. Any small activity was challenging. Right from the time I stepped out of my house till I came back I used to be nervous all the time. Presentations in college used to be nightmare. The thought of it itself used to trigger a panic attack. After college I would make some excuse that I would be late so that I would not have to travel with other people.

In my first year our college trip had gone to Uttarakhand for 10 days. Those were the worst consecutive 10 days ever. I was in a complete traumatic state as being around people and talking is what you do on a trip, combination of which triggers a panic attack. Next year I made an excuse that I had some work and did not go although my friend did try to persuade me. In general life was thought. Now that when I panic sometimes it reminds me that this is how it used to be most of the time. The present me wants to go back and give the past me a warm hug. He is my hero.

But where did it all start? What was the big bang moment? I think it is a combination of both biological factors and life experiences. There were not many children in my locality in fact there was only one .My large part of childhood was spent with him and my brother. Naturally my ability to make friends or talk to people was slightly deformed although it was nothing abnormal. Obviously in social situations I was the passive observer. All was good until it was pointed out to me. By a lot of people. One amongst them that mattered the most was my father. Parents are such important entities in life. We always want to make them proud. I believe all our likes and dislikes can be tracked down to some incidents of encouragement and discouragement form them. My father constantly pointing my short coming and telling me to be more outgoing was the start of the downfall. It was coupled with my overthinking and over analytical abilities that I made the situation worse. Me drawing conclusions of how others perceive me and the gap between how I should and how I am led to accumulation of a fear of talking and people in general.

10th May was the day I decided things need to change. That was the tipping point. The phase from 2019-2021 I have been operating in blitzkrieg mode. I underwent a self-development program. Constantly took challenging roles in Toastmasters. Did lots of small-small things beyond my comfort zone. Most of the things happened in the lockdown. Recently I was involved in something for which I had to interact with lot people in the physical world. I was so happy to discover my efforts for the last two years have paid dividends. Something I craved for so manly years I finally possess. The anchor has been cut off. The fire is doused but a part of the forest lost needs to be regrown. I do agree that my certain skillsets are deformed and needs some work. Years of conditioning had led to the formation of some mental barriers which needs to broken. But if Rome can fall, my barriers will also fall. Until then, I have to be patient.

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