Not Alone #55 – by Brandon Morgan

My name is Brandon and I’m a 25 year old humanist. Most of my life I’ve lived scared to truly be myself due to social, family, cultural pressures. Not too long ago I decided it was time to take control of my life as my anxiety issues were getting far to hard for me to handle. One of the first things was to no longer hide my true religious views (basically atheist but refer to myself as non-religious), and then to also no longer hide anxiety issues. I do feel more freedom than I’ve ever had but now I also fear for my future. A large part of my personality is based on open mindedness and freedom of expression, yet I don’t feel that this is possible for me. I long for a life where I can use my knowledge, rare personality, and unique views in their full capacity, and not be subject to group think. I’ve recently been working very hard to be active and network until I land in the right place.

Have you navigated through things like this? Honestly I’ve grown so much yet I’m at a point where I need guidance.

3 comments
  1. Steve said:

    Brandon,

    Fear of the future is a bugger. Anxiety is too. I hope that you have had or have at least sought professional help with the anxiety. I have suffered it in the past, nowhere near as badly as some friends of mine, but have had that sense of being chased, followed, and of imminent attack. A little cognitive behaviour therapy and very mild drugs for a limited time cleared it up for me, but if you have not already done so, seek help.

    I was a very shy child and taught myself how to be comfortable with sharing things which some people think inappropriate. I used to and still do, strike up conversations with strangers, who unlike your family, friends and workmates, have no baggage and you will likely never see them again. Strangers are great to dump problems on for that very reason. You don’t have to be accepted, liked or even understood by them. You get to practice sharing and learning that the things you think are unacceptable and unique, probably aren’t. I have met people who don’t understand anxiety and/or depression and who are no help, but those who do understand either were very useful to me. I am now surrounded by friends who understand when I am depressed, know that ‘helping’ can be as simple as ‘I know how you are feeling, is there anything I can do?’ They have ALWAYS responded if I have asked anything in particular and have undertaken to keep asking me about it until I tell them I have made progress or even if I feel well enough to not be labelled as depressed.

    Self examination was never something I was good at but here is an example.

    When my ex-wife and I purchased our first house, we lay awake at night worrying about being able to pay off what seemed an unimaginable amount of money. My very wise Mum asked me some questions which resolved our fears.
    1) What is the worst thing that can happen? A) We won’t be able to afford the payments.
    2) What will happen then? A) The bank will repossess the house.
    “The bank doesn’t want your house, they will want the money repaid and will do everything they can to allow you to keep making payments”
    3) But if we can’t make the payments? A) Then sell the house.
    4) What then, we’ll have no house? We’ll have lost money. A) So? You’ll both still be well and go back to renting. No big deal. Besides, you are both smart and working. You will be able to budget and keep up the payments.

    Something we were completely unable to dismiss from our fears and unable to even get close to overcoming was overcome with four answers and one statement.

    As a sufferer, I am always available to listen, even if I am well old enough to be your Dad. I don’t have his baggage though. My email is open.

    I hope this helps and remember, sometimes your brain will tell you lies. You are worthwhile, you are unique and you are cared about.

  2. Bran Gardner said:

    I live in a Republican/Christian community, have for almost 33 years. I am an out liberal/Celtic/pansexual and I’ve never felt so happy! I talk to younger people and never judge their faith, politics, or sexuality. But I DO get them to talk about what we have in common. Showing compassion and understanding is the first step to having it reciprocated. I have talked to them about ways in which the dichotomies they’ve been taught can shut good people out of community. And I found them remarkably open to me. It helps to be non-confrontational. If you’d like to chat about my experiences- you can find me on Twitter @madhousemirror. I’ve made friends there with Christians, Mormons (actually one of my new best friends is LDS,) etc. Don’t be afraid to find safe spaces online. We’re here. Waiting for friendship.

  3. Bran Gardner said:

    I should probably also tell you I have PTSD with sudden onset of severe panic attacks, so I’m also open to any anxiety issues you’d like to discuss.

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