Thursday, January 14, 2016

Living Life with the Fear of Being Touched

It's a Thursday, so here are some Thursday thoughts. I've wanted to write about this for sometime but I never knew how to approach it. Ever heard of the term Haphephobia, the fear of being touched? Touch, one of the most common senses that we use to interact with one another everyday. What we may not take into account is those around us may fear of being touched.

I have never spoken about it openly, and but those that are close to me know that I have the fear of being touched, they also know when my fear is on high alert. One thing that makes it hard, to live with this fear, is the fact that people may misinterpret when you pull back, or involuntarily cringe from being touched. There are times that my body is covered in goose bumps or chills when I feel uncomfortable with the person that is touching me. Sometimes, I may even pull away. I never mean it as a disrespectful gesture or trying to hurt anyone by it. Its just an automatic response that occurs when I feel uncomfortable.

A few months ago, I took a seminar where I met one of my now very close friends, there was a point when this person came up to me and gave me a hug. My entire mind and body went on high alert, wondering why would they hug me, why are they touching me? I knew even at that time that the person wasn't going to hurt me by any means but my body went into defense mode. Later, I opened up to the person about my reaction to their touch. I told them that my anxiety was off the charts and that I was even shocked that the person would offer me a hug.

Living with the fear of being touched, is one of my biggest struggles. Its not easy, some days you just have to "fake it till you make it", when other days you just want to isolate yourself from everyone and be alone, and then there are days where you want to hug everyone and welcome hugs from people but you will not voice it. My fear is part of my anxiety, and some days its worse then others. I can pin point the moment in my life when my fear became my fear, this fear was born when I was about 6 years old.

Recently, I have done something that is absolutely unreasonable to help me conquer a little bit of my fear, I signed up for a swing class, granted if it wasn't taught by my friend I would never have stepped foot into a partner dancing class. Needless, to say every week I battle my fear. Every day I welcome a hug, a hand holding gesture and if you are really lucky you get to dance with me. But, every day even behind the brave, smiling face there lingers the mist of fear.

In the end of the day I am grateful for still having people in my life that love me, and help me conquer my fear. Thank you to those that have seen me at my worst, and that have been told on multiple occasions to stop touching me. Thank you to those that have shared their life with me and have earned my trust, that touch is no longer a barrier between us. And I am sorry to those that may have to see me at my worst. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.

If you know someone living with anxiety, please be kind and patient with them, at the end of the day they will appreciate you more than you possibly know.