Sometimes waves of anxiety will suddenly wash over me and it's all I can do not to curl into an immobile ball of hyperventilating panic. I will be walking down the street and my stomach will clench, my hands go clammy, my vision starts to blur.
I am terrified of failure, of incompetence, of being abandoned and dismissed. Every once in a while these fears overcome me and all the responsibilities and expectations that weigh so heavily upon me become crippling.
Over the years I've gotten better at self-soothing, at talking myself away from the proverbial ledge. But every once in a while the panic attacks get the best of me and even once my heart rate returns to normal and the black spots clear from my eyes, a sort of haze surrounds me for the rest of the day. Shell-shock, if you will.
So I am wandering around these unfamiliar streets of Seoul this afternoon, lost in my own self-doubts, oblivious to the blaring k-pop music from the storefronts, dragging my feet and delaying the transit of the salaryman behind me as he rushes to gets to work, or home, or the bar, or wherever it is Korean businessmen go on an unremarkable Thursday afternoon.
That's all this really is. A non-event on a sunny Thursday afternoon.