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Day 7888 | Day 7968 | Day 8044

It's been a relatively quiet summer for me. This is mostly by design, since festivals, fairs, fireworks, warm weather, blue skies, barbecues, summer sports, movies, traveling, and—honest to god—sunlight tend to set off my anxieties like almost nothing else. I tend to bundle all these neuroses together into what I half-jokingly refer to as 'my usual case of summer agoraphobia.' Outside of school I'm very oblivious to social expectations so without the structure it provides I become fairly reclusive. For the last two months I've only left my house every other week or so to buy groceries and my interactions with others have basically ceased. Because of all this, I am in almost the exact same place in my life I was at in May and have only recently begun to make some personal progress.

In mid June I gathered enough courage to set up an appointment with a therapist who had been recommended to me. At the time it had already been over a month since my last session and it was beginning to show. After filling out all the normal intake paperwork I was told that I should expect a phone call in a few days to set up a regular appointment schedule. And so I waited. For six weeks.

There's a tendency to think that it's more than a coincidence that I received a call from their office on the exact same day I had decided to give up hope on ever hearing back from them. You'd think that it would've kindled my hope much like it had in the past. But despite the good news, I instead found myself overcome with dread since, like many people, I have particular difficulty talking on the phone. In the weeks since my initial burst of motivation I had completely lost my nerve and so when the phone first rang I was filled with a sense of impending doom and threw my phone across the room. Something about being unable to read the body language of the person I'm conversing with makes me extremely self-conscious of my words and whether or not my meaning is actually being communicated. I digress.

A similar process happened when I received the second and third calls. Every call set off an internal battle between the parts of me that desperately desired to get better and the parts so afraid of change they would rather choose death than face any kind of risk to the status quo. And with each call I missed my despondency grew. My squandering of the few chances I was being given to help myself was immensely discouraging, the regret paralyzing me even further.

Fortunately I've managed to reach out to others much more in recent months and have formed many connections with people whom I feel I can rely upon for advice. All of them encouraged me despite my poor handling of the opportunity I was being given and for that they very much have my thanks. As one person put it: "This isn't like calling a dentist or a mechanic. This is not a missed communication or inconsiderate act, it's a symptom." So despite everything I managed to set aside my fear long enough to make a return call and schedule an appointment.

That was two weeks ago and for the first time in months I feel like I'm making progress with my life again. The fact that the resumption of therapy has coincided with the return of my panic attacks and insomnia doesn't escape me but there's also been a return of hope and that alone seems reason enough to continue.

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