I cried with my face in the muck

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It was a two-story home on the hill, separated from the town, with youngsters lounging all over the place, smoking up, lying on the floors of the bathrooms, making out on the staircases, and dancing like lunatics gone mad. All these noises and yet the silence in my head was louder than that I couldn’t feel anything, the sense of that void inside me deepened, and I thought I was experiencing a panic attack. With tears in my eyes, I ran into people tripping down the steps. They noticed me, but no one cared enough to get up and ask. I kept rushing out of there, not knowing what to do, how to make it better, or even what was happening to me; I just kept sprinting towards the dark street with no one around me, my heart throbbing like it was about to burst and would stop working.

The next thing I know, I’m in a hospital with my parents and a boy who appears to be quite familiar is by my side. “How did I get here, and who is this person?” “Why are my parents so concerned about me? Did something happen to me?” Relax, Naina; this is exactly what you should not be doing; don’t overthink and make yourself anxious” he could make out from looking at my face that I was stressing about something. His voice was calming that it made me forget what I was thinking and felt like I could listen to him all day.

Like any other teenager, I was eager to get to college, meet new people, have fun, and enjoy my freedom. I didn’t have friends initially I sat alone and was just observing all the other people in class or walking around the campus in the library surprisingly I saw this one face everywhere I went not like he was following me but he was already there. Then this literature event happened and I made these new buddies who appeared to be as nice and wacky as anyone could wish. I was no longer the introverted loner. Life seemed perfect and what I had always wanted was that I wouldn’t be the loner in college. Not like we never fought over different opinions even though I didn’t feel nice during those times but I accepted that every relationship has ups and downs. This one day we were out for brunch which was quite low-key and we were all just chit-chatting gradually realized that I saw that same boy again whom I saw when I didn’t have these friends. I wanted to talk to him, but I was nervous so I asked my friends if they knew him. They told me straight up that they wouldn’t talk to me if I were friends with that guy. That is when I knew I didn’t belong with them and felt strange. I was afraid that if I stood up against them, they would abandon me and I would be alone again. This went on for a long time, and I felt it is not a huge deal; it was not something that impacted me at all, but I think I was mistaken about that. I did not realize until that night when I forced myself to go to that party. I had lied to my parents and told them I was studying at one of my friend’s houses. I was all set for the party; my friends thought it was the coolest party of the year and I should not miss it. What I landed doing there was being left alone to smoke. It provoked me to the point where I felt bad for doing what I was doing; I was engaging in it only to be a part of a group that was not even my inner circle. My behavioral outburst during that time was a bit concerning to a pal in the group and it was he who took me to the hospital. The hospital suggested me a therapist and if you ask me, it was the best decision that I took. I have not gone down that path again.

My interactions and sessions with the therapist made to understand that it was my people-pleasing issue that made me think I need to make my friends comfortable and it was my responsibility to make them happy. My abandonment issues didn’t let me leave those toxic friends and my inability to set boundaries in life.

Many people live their lives trying to please others. A happy life, however, is dependent on healthy limits and being true to ourselves. Setting healthy boundaries is one of the most important skills someone can master, yet for a people pleaser, the concept of setting a boundary can be frightening and feel dangerous.

Trying to make other people happy might exhaust your physical and mental resources. Trying to manage the dynamics can lead to stress and anxiety, both of which can be harmful to your health. Helping others can offer a variety of mental health benefits. However, failing to make time for yourself may result in poor health repercussions of chronic stress. We need to prioritize looking after our mental and emotional health and seek therapy if necessary.


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