Without a doubt, opening up has always been a toughie for me. Still can be. My issue has always been trust, trying my best to believe that those in whom I might confide will truly listen to all I have to say; and accept it, not necessarily in agreement, without passing judgment. God only knows I’ve always been willing to do the same.

Looking back over the years, I can only imagine the price I’ve paid in relationships and personal frustration because of this opening-up dilemma. But when you really think about it, I suppose it’s not too hard to figure out why any panic sufferer would turn out to be somewhat of a recluse. I mean, we all too often don’t go anywhere because of agoraphobia, social phobia, avoidance, assorted irrational fears, etc. Hence, we kind of get in the habit of, indeed, simply avoiding people and relationships, excluding from our lives any sort of environment in which we can open-up and be comfortable in simply being ourselves. And if you’re like I was, that probably suits you just fine. Right?

Why would we want to associate with anyone? What could we possibly have to offer? Shoot, the very last thing we’d want to do is expose anyone to all the misery in our lives, and the misery of us. It’s not like they’d want to hear our long litany of pain, much less be able to understand or do anything about it. We’d just feel like a whiner. And we sure as heck don’t want to have to be confronted with the successes of others. I mean, why would we want to subject ourselves to any form of self-comparison to someone, who in our minds, we could never match. I mean, what’s the point? Not to mention, because of our fear-ridden perception of the world, who could we trust anyway? And, of course, our very low self-regard bangs these falsehoods home day in and day out.

Well, I can tell you from experience that opening myself to others wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, and still isn’t. No doubt, there are just so many hidden agendas held deep within that keep us from really reaching out, taking the risk of being exposed. But I can also tell you that we must try as hard as we can to pull it off. There’s just too much to be missed. Now, I’m not saying we have to pour our heart and soul out to each and every person we come across. No, we just need to release ourselves from the chains of any mode of thinking that entirely excludes expressing ourselves at some decent level of depth. I mean, it’s so easy for us to be quite comfortable living the life of a recluse, but I promise it won’t be long before that lifestyle choice will turn into a highly littered dead-end street. Maybe it already has.

Trust me, there are people out there who either do, or would, really care about us and would be more than willing to accept us just the way we are, and help us leap to the next level. And the cool thing is we haven’t even met some of these people yet. We’ll miss out on so much valuable release, input, feedback, and companionship if we elect to live our lives alone, keeping all of our thoughts and feelings inside.

I know it’s never been easy to trust anyone in the screwed-up and crazy world in which we live or have lived. But, that can all be a bad memory now. We really need to take a shot at being known and knowing someone else, baring a bit of our souls. Yes, it’s a risk; but we’re more than strong enough to handle it. And the potential rewards are more than fabulous.

Author's Bio: 

After a winning bout with panic disorder, a career in the business world, and a part-time job working with socially challenged adolescents, Bill found his life's passion and work. So he earned his master's degree and counseling credentials, and is doing all he can to lend a hand to those having a tough time.

Bill has some powerful mentoring and service packages available on his website, which include his panic attack education and recovery eWorkbook, "Panic! ...and Poetic Justice." The eWorkbook is ready for immediate download. You'll also find a link on the website to Bill's "Panic Attack Freedom!" blog. Lots of good stuff going on and much more to come.

In addition to doing psychiatric emergency work, Bill continues to do a lot of writing and speaking. He's conducted numerous mental health workshops for non-profit organizations and remains available to present more. Bill is a national and local member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (N.A.M.I.).

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