Hey Wently I hear you completely with just about everything that you said here. I was always nervous in high school but always had good grades, and managed to make some great friends that for some odd reason are still friends with me lol. I've become an absolute former shell of the Mike they used to know. I start thinking tht I was so perfect then and that everything was going great. But then I realize and remember some of the worries/fears/thoughts I had back then. We were never, and never will be, free of anxiety. That's just a fact. But the one thing I was able to do then, which I feel I have definetly lost my ability to do, is to put my troubles to the side and focus on the task at hand. Back then I was able to put worries/thoughts/wants/etc on the backburner and just enjoy the moment. I've been in such a bad way the last 2 years, it's impossible for me to enjoy anything. I hang out with my friends once a week, maybe. A lot of times I'm so stressed/depressed I just cancel on them. I give them credit and really appreciate their loyalty to still being there for me because I know it can't be easy to put up with this crap that I do. I'm sure they feel like I don't care, like I'm a dick or whatever. But I just don't feel right, don't feel like myself, and honestly, don't really want to feel happy when it comes down to it. I mean I dream about and want to be happy, but when I go out and everyone is laughing and havinga good time, I just can't pull myself to get back to that "Happy place". I've just let myself become this miserable guy.
One thing you said that I really related to was how you got hurt and now you are very confrontational. Not to get into too much detail, but I was jumped/mugged about 2 years ago and was choked unconscious. All they got was my wallet which by that time of night, had only 5 dollars left in it lol. I've never been the same since. The anxiety/depression didn't hit me really bad at first. I would have mini panic attacks about thinking maybe I saw the car that they hopped out of when I would go shopping or just driving around. But the one reason why I said I changed, and still am changed from that incident...I don't let my guard down. Not once, not never. If I'm at a bar, if I'm in a mall, if I'm out in public anywhere, it's like I have become VERY paranoid. I am aware of everything, who's around me, who's behind me, if they're staring at me. For example, before this incident I was just out to have a good time all the time. I would just go out drinkin with my friends and fool around, joke around, was never a really aggressive type of personality at all. I would avoid any confrontations or any potential ones. about 3 months ago I was at a bar with a friend and he left first to head home on the train. I stuck around for another 20 minutes to wait for a cab to give me a lift back to my house. In that time some big guy from across the bar comes over and makes a comment to the bartender. So me being in my depressed/irritable mood told him to show some respect. This guy, who's probably about 5 inches taller and 60-80 lbs heavier then me gets in my face and tells me that the liquid courage I'm drinking isn't going to save me. Back in the day I would have just let it blow over and not think much of it, I'd still get worked up but I wouldn't instigate or add fuel to the fire. Nowadays, yea right.... I toss the glass down and tell the guy I don't need any liquid courage to take him down (in much cleaner words here). Luckily the guy just backed down, and I dont mean luckily because I was relieved that I didnt want to fight. In that moment in time, I wanted to, soooo badly, to toss this guy one of the worst beatings he's ever had in his life. But looking back now I realize how absolutely out of character that is from what I consider to be my norm.
I guess I'm just sharing with ya the fact that I to believe that experiences/events change us. I am working on my anger/paranoid issues afterwards. It's hard though, I too have these walls up that are impossible to get through. That's kind of why I laugh when I hear that song on the radio "Bulletproof" by La Roux haha. I know it's kind of shaky for a guy to relate to that song, but just the whole gist of the song of being hurt and making yourself harder and stronger. I feel like that's what I've become/becoming.