It’s a beautiful October day in Oslo and the sun is shining, it’s getting colder now but you can still feel the warmth from the sun. Not a cloud in miles and I’m walking around with my Nikon hanging over my shoulder. I have been looking forward to shooting some more street photography and the day is perfect. The light and shadows with the colors from all the fallen leaves from the trees on the ground. The kids are playing on the playground and you can hear their laughter and joy from a long way. In the park, an old lady is smiling while she is sitting peacefully on the bench alone and feeding the birds. Out on the field, the dogs are running carelessly and playing fetch. Everything is so perfect and peaceful around me but on the inside…
My heart is pounding and it feels like it’s trying to escape through my throat. I stop for a second and try to breathe and recoup. I feel dizzy, weak and scared. I don’t want to be seen. I want to run and hide but don’t know where too. I’m getting mad at myself because there is absolutely no reason for this feeling! What is the problem? I have anxiety and I hate it. It’s a never-ending fight which haunts me like a demon. I can beat it again and again, but then it changes his clothes and creeps back into my life with its brand new identity like the wolf in sheep’s clothes. It’s always there, you may not see him but he is always close by.
Sometimes I feel like I’m remote controlled, I’m there but same time I’m not. I feel more like an observer, sitting hidden in the back of my brain. The world is loud and exhausting. Going too fast and in slow motion at the same time. It feels unreal and scary. It will probably always be like this to some degree. It may get better or maybe not, it is what it is and I will try to make the best out of it. It can take my energy away, but never my dreams. I’ve had many years of lost time because of anxiety and depression.
I don’t always know what to do when I get anxiety, but I try to find a way through the feeling. It can be a walk in the woods or push myself in some other way. I tried the other day walking around from offices and stores, talking to people and advertising my dream of becoming a photographer. The first day was brutal and I felt broken and small after. I went up to a big bank downtown in the busy commercial district in Oslo. I had planned what to say and walked up to the receptionist, but when I was about to introduce myself my brain froze and words came rambling out in random order. I have always felt more comfortable with writing because I can delete and rephrase myself and you will never even know. Verbally it’s whole different story. I’m not a good talker and I know it. But that was the whole point of this exercise with walking around talking to strangers. Getting better mentally and becoming more confident with talking to people face to face. I knew this was going to be a hard challenge but it’s necessary. A challenge that I believe is going to pay off in the end with my project of getting a better life for myself. I am prepared for being turned down, and in a way that is also the purpose! I’m still breathing and it was not dangerous at all, a bit embarrassing but not dangerous.