Self-harming, just not in the traditional sense. For someone with such a myriad of anxiety problems I have managed to miss some of the more obvious phobias. I have no problem with flying, but the stress of an airport makes me break down. I don't seem to notice when my hands or face are dirty. I find cuts and bruises on my body, but don't remember hurting myself. Strong flavors and spicy foods don't bother me. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference in the taste between two different types of apples. I wouldn't taste it if someone added a teaspoon of salt to my glass of water. I have accidentally consumed dairy products that have gone bad because I did not notice. I would be the last person to detect it if something was burning. I can't distinguish a familiar person from a stranger based on their smell. I am unaware of odors that others notice. I can't tell if my clothes are clean or dirty by smell alone. The man smiled, a bit confused. Columbus is the English pronunciation of my name, but your Portuguese is flawless. I naturally assumed . Michael grinned. I'm speaking Portuguese tonight only. Columbus tilted his head as if he were trying to see what Michael thought was humorous. I see, he said, though, clearly, he did not.

Clapping his hands and rubbing them together, Columbus changed the subject. Whatever it is that you are doing tonight, he said, the night itself will soon be over. The sun will join us shortly! Small spaces make me feel safe (if I had the energy and motivation to, I would probably spend a large amount of my time in a pillow fort), large open areas are brilliant until you throw crowds into the mix. Weird but don't bother me. They are basically just necks with a face. We've been through this. The bizarre irrationality of anxiety is what makes it so hard to understand and even harder to diagnose. Most of the time when you are feeling anxious the response from a friend or family member will be Stop overreacting' orYou're causing a scene'. To which the correct response is: I am not causing a scene, it's you who doesn't seem to grasp the severity of the situation. <a href=''>There</a> are too many people here. <a href=''>It's</a> too loud. <a href=''>That</a> man smells weird. <a href=''>High</a> Sensation <a href=''>Bright</a> lights bother me. <a href=''>I</a> need sunglasses even when it is cloudy outside. <a href=''>I</a> am uncomfortable with intense visual scenes, like wild parties, disaster zones, or chaotic scenes in a movie. <a href=''>I</a> cannot work in a coffee shop because seeing all of the activity around me is distracting. <a href=''>When</a> others are watching television, I either leave the room or ask them to turn it down. <a href=''>The</a> sound of others eating can be irritating. <br /><br /><a href=''>I</a> find it difficult to work with background noise. <a href=''>Unexpected</a> sounds such as sirens or car alarms put me on edge. <a href=''>Certain</a> elements of clothing, such as seams, labels, fabric textures, and jewelry irritate me. <a href=''>The</a> rocking of the vessel seemed more intense in the high perch, but otherwise, Michael felt safe, almost comfortable. <a href=''>Looking</a> behind the Santa Maria, he could just make out the shadows of two other boats. <a href=''>The</a> Nina and the Pinta? <a href=''>Michael</a> asked, proud of himself for remembering the names from his studies of Christopher Columbus. <a href=''>Why,</a> yes, Columbus answered. <a href=''>Seaworthy</a> vessels both, though not quite so luxurious as this. <a href=''>He</a> flung his arms out below him toward the deck of the Santa Maria. <a href=''>Michael</a> tried not to smile. <a href=''>Do</a> you know where you are? <a href=''>Columbus</a> smiled. <a href=''>Why</a> would you bring me to a Moomin museum? <a href=''>If</a> I explode from stress and die I am going to come back and haunt you. <a href=''>And</a> just for good measure, although it's not technically a form of anxiety, more of a third cousin-twice-removed that turns up to weddings they aren't invited to, is my struggle with imposter syndrome. <a href=''>For</a> those unfamiliar with imposter syndrome, it is the general fear of everyone finding out you have no idea what you're doing because you've faked your way into your place in the world. <a href=''>I</a> have this in spades (wait, who measures things in spades any more? <a href=''>I</a> think I am a nobody. <a href=''>High</a> achievers have a Lamborghini and a coke addiction; <br /><br /><a href=''>I</a> have one pair of shoes that are held together with tape and maybe a slightly obsessive like of roast potatoes. <a href=''>If</a> I tried thedon't you know who I am? Imposter syndrome is a never-ending terror that one day your boss, or your friends, or your partner will realise who you really are. I feel uncomfortable when others touch me, such as during haircuts and visits to the doctor. I don't like it when I have to stand too close to other people in line. I avoid going barefoot in the dirt or sand. I don't like strong-tasting mints or candies. I am sensitive to the texture of food. I always buy the same brands of food. If the store is out of what I like, I cannot tolerate the alternative. I sense that food has gone bad and cannot eat it before others do. I am hypersensitive to strong smells. I become overwhelmed by the scent of other people's deodorant, shampoo, or soap. I am right here! Do you know where you are? Michael looked around. The Atlantic Ocean? Columbus said, clapping Michael on the back. You are a wonderful navigator! Michael was a little uneasy.

Do you really not know where you are? Does that have any bearing on what I can accomplish? Columbus asked in return. That at some point in the future they will rip off your bad Scooby Doo villain disguise you've made for yourself to hide the anxiety-ridden weirdo you truly are, and it'll turn out you were Mr Davies the creepy old janitor the entire time. Or something. I don't think that metaphor made much sense. Anxiety disorders are particularly good at making you feel worthless, like you don't deserve any of the good things you have received in your life. As a result, imposter syndrome is commonplace. However, as I have said before - though in no way am I trying to trivialise this syndrome - I am entirely convinced that normal people, people who look like they have everything together, are faking it. We are all just trying our best, and our best is just hoping that everyone else doesn't figure out that we're all panicking on the inside. The one thing to remember is that anxiety doesn't play by your rules, which is why it can be so hard to diagnose. One of the hardest things you can do is to stand face to face with your mental health problem and scream feck YOU' in its face, or at least,You and I will have a long conversation about this when we get home', accompanied by that glare your mum used to do when you were in trouble but also in public. My anxious brain is proficient in ignoring my persistent screams to give me a break, even if it's just for a day or so, but it is important to keep screaming, to keep letting it know that we won't stop screaming at it. I react strongly to smells that don't seem to bother others. I will not eat a food that smells strange. A very high score indicates that your nervous system is poorly attuned to your senses. But, remember! Knowledge is power. If you are hypersensitive, you may feel as if someone has turned the volume on your senses all the way up, which can make navigating life very uncomfortable. This may affect your daily routine or cause you to feel the desire to avoid certain people, places, or situations.