Next Tuesday I'm stepping out…to be a speaker at a local Nerdnite. This probably isn't a big deal for some. Or most.
It's already caused moments of near panic and anxiety for me. I've never elaborated the psychological effects of being stalked- other than stating it is going to seriously mess you up. There are some common consequences that most victims will experience. I think I've mentioned those. I've also tried to emphasise that there's no difference between men and women. The effects are shared.
One of the most isolating features I've found has been the total loss of trust. I struggle a lot with trusting people. Especially strangers and especially in places outside my safe zones. Which really means that I don't trust anyone I don't know. I'm not prepared to let anyone get close enough that this stalking could happen again. It's utterly irrational. But hardly surprising.
So I haven't been to a social event (where there wasn't a safe core of people I knew) in nearly two years. I missed the Massey graduation this year for the first time since 1995. There were just going to be too many people I didn't know. I missed out on seeing many of my students capped.
Next Tuesday…I won't know anyone. Hence the anxiety. The distress, the flashes of panic. On the other side, I hate the isolation. The cloud it generates. So time to move on. I'm stepping out.