“It’s so important for us to have an anchor”
Fiction. Based on a True Feeling of Being Overlooked
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
You often feel overlooked.
Out of place.
One small misstep causes you to unravel. One small thing can strip away that armor that makes you feel secure. It makes you want to take up as little room as possible and blend in as best you can. You try to match how to you so as not to stick out. It makes you feel even more exposed.
You feel the distance in groups of people, even in groups of people you know. You want to speak up but feel like you aren’t often heard or acknowledged. So, you slip back into silence. Then people wonder why you don’t speak. Or, when you do speak, you regret it because like you get too excited or choose the wrong dialogue option. You look back at each conversation, finding the things you said that make you cringe. Then you worry that people don’t like you because you’re awkward.
When you try to step out of the comfort zone or put yourself out there, you think people don’t notice. Or that you’re doing something wrong.
When you’re with a group of friends, sometimes you feel like you struggle to keep up. You want to be a part of the conversations, but there are often too many going on that you can’t seem to slip into. It’s not about being the center of attention but rather being acknowledged. So, you wait until you can be included. You try confidence, but it always seems to come out as arrogant and annoying. You shrink as your energy dwindles, drained away by the effort to try and socialize and maintain the façade that you’re a functioning human being.
You pick up on the subtle changes in demeanor and tone of others and worry that they don’t like you. The slightest disinterest alarms you and makes you panic. Are you making too much eye contact? Not enough? Do you sound engaged enough? Should you talk more? You don’t know.
Sometimes you think it’s better just to wait and let people come to you. It’s easier that way. You can retreat and not risk making the first move. Besides, it shows they care when they reach out to you.
But then you fear they’ll forget about you even more. You’ll fade away into the background, texts unanswered and conversations avoided. You’ll be alone again. You know that you’re not the only one who wants someone to reach out to them. It’s a constant debate about whether or not it’s worth the effort.
You have to stop yourself before you spiral into a deep hole.
Grab onto something to slow the descent.
Dig in deep and hold onto the core truths to keep yourself steady.
You can pull yourself out of the pit and right yourself again.
The cracks in your armor are still there, and it’ll take time to fix them.
You pick up the pieces that fell off and prepare to try again.