Moments Of Sheer Terror In Daily Life

I’m experiencing these moments of sheer terror throughout the day. I’ve noticed this fear coming on the past few years.

Today I had to tell somebody over the phone that I couldn’t help him. As I struggled to get this out, repeating myself, I felt like I was stepping off a ledge and falling through space.

This happens to me a few times a day, usually when I have to ask for something or when I have to say no to somebody. I need to chronicle more exactly these moments of sheer terror.

I think I started noticing this problem in 2006 when I went on wellbutrin (for about a year). When I walked down the street, I’d have these moments of sheer terror that a car accident would happen right in front of me. I’d see drivers pulling out and paying insufficient attention, in my view, to the traffic around them. None of these accidents ever occurred but I felt my heart drop to the pit of my stomach each time. Walking down a street bordering traffic became stressful.

Now I have to pick up the phone at work and ask for stuff and I just feel like dying. I’d 100 times rather email or fax the request.

Every year that goes by, I become increasingly withdrawn and more scared to initiate social contact.

My boss notices that every time he asks me to call somebody, I fax or email whenever I possibly can instead of getting them on the phone.

And when it comes to my personal phone, I’m afraid to pick it up unless I recognize the number and want to talk to the person. I’d much rather avoid the contact.

It’s been more than a year since I’ve asked a girl out.

I fear I have emotional anorexia.

I feel like a battered child much of the day. I just want to collapse and to throw my hands up to protect myself. Stop the blows! I go into new human contact in an emotional crouch, warding off the blows I suspect are about to fall. I don’t want to run into people who don’t like me. I fear approaching people.

It did not use to be this bad, but I’ve always had these frightened defensive tendencies.

I think the past 15 years of working from home and isolating set me up for this.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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