Fragile Cargo: Please Don't Touch

Bree Blatchford

Some times it starts with a warm embrace. Other times it comes from someone's breath on the back of my neck. Other times nothing happens at all, however that has become a very rare anomaly. 

It begins as a hard lump, like a stubborn boulder, in the pit of my stomach and moves up my spine like a strand of icicles creeping their way into my brain. I feel sick, like physically ill, and it becomes hard to suppress those emotions without feeling like a crazy person. My entire body is frozen in the moment and the act becomes magnified tenfold, causing me to feel like a small island in the middle of a windy, untamed river.  I can't explain it, but the act of touching tends to send my anxiety over the edge. This sounds rather vague, I know, but I am investigating these feelings as I type, therefore it might appear scatterbrained and all over the place. 

I know that this reversion to touch comes from my need to control the environment around me, a part of my Anxiety and Depression mind manipulation. I have to feel like I can control all of the actions and people in my immediate contact, and lack of that sends me reeling, as if punched really hard in the stomach. This could possibly be an isolated reactive instinct stemming from the damage caused by a mentally abusive, all-over-the-place ex-boyfriend, however it could also simply be an instinct of those with my Depressive and Anxious thoughts. It may also be a reaction of my fear of being trapped or closed in, however it all seems like a mystery to me.

An unwarranted, or even warranted for that matter, touch encourages my mind to think that I can't control the actions of the person administering it and makes me nervous. I don't even know if anyone feels the way that I do, or if I am talking to a dead audience thinking that I've completely lost it. Either way, I'm going to be completely blunt (per usual), and get it all out there in the blind hopes that I touch at least one person and make them feel validated in their tendencies. 

I've mentioned before that intimacy with my significant other was initially very difficult for me, especially after the previous disaster of a relationship I endured. With the level of trust that has been established over the past 6 years with my man, touch is not a problem coming from him. Luckily, he is overly cautious and delicate with me, and in result I have been able to let my guard down. However, with him and my closest family members, there are still moments when I cannot stand the thought of being touched. The smallest action triggers something inside of me that I have not yet explored, or managed to tame for that matter. Not that I think it is important to tame or suppress my Depressive thoughts or feelings, however it would be nice to accept a hug from a family member without wanting to control it. 

I have found that administering the physical affection myself has become my way to overcorrect the problem. Most of those close to me, or those who have come into contact with me, know that I am naturally a very touchy, affectionate individual. I seem to desire to let those around me know that I wish to have that personal connection with them, however that I also wish to be in charge and do it myself. I would rather get all of the touching out of the way myself as to deter further advancements from them. This sounds insane, I know.

Sometimes I feel insane too. WHY can't I stand touch from those who I adore so much? WHY can't I hold it inside and ignore it? WHY hasn't the problem fixed itself over the years? 

I liken myself to a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. The person who retrieves it and means to help it back to its nest doesn't intend to do harm, however the baby bird panics regardless due to a foreign touch. The baby bird cannot control what happens to itself next and has to succumb to the will of the person holding it. This, I've found, is the root of the fear. This doesn't mean that I am not able to love my family or friends any less, in fact I love them even more for giving me that affection. I will always be grateful for their support and that will NEVER change or alter. 

So there it is, all out on the table once again. I am hopeful that one day this will not bother me anymore and I will be able to accept any touch or small action without fear. I will overcome, and I will fight through. The beauty and kindness that has been shown to me over the past year gives me the strength to fight through all of my negative behaviors and thoughts. The love I receive on a daily basis will be what heals me overall. So thank you, thank you so much. You all help more than you realize. 



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