I don't usually watch anime, but the other day a friend showed me a series the other day called Watamote. Today, it is all I can think about. Reverse the gender of the main character, add more brothers and a sister, and it is like looking into a mirror of my life before I met my wife. I can't even begin to explain it. Every little thing that happens-- every thought and reaction... I get this clenched feeling in my gut the entire time because I feel like I'm reliving things that have actually happened to me, like some twisted real life Ebenezer Scrooge forced to watch scenes from the past but can do nothing to change them. It is like torture, but I keep watching anyway. I just can't emphasize enough how surreal this is. I really feel like I'm losing my mind here. I keep thinking: "How could they have known I did that? You can't make that sh*t up!" Like this scene where Tomoko sets the alarm on her cellphone to make it appear to be ringing, so she could have a faux conversation with an imaginary person so the person behind her would overhear the situation and speak to her. I HAVE DONE THIS!
I would go to extreme lengths like that all the time to get some person or people to speak to me or to get a hint, all because I was unable to talk to them. The ending was always the same as well. Nothing would happen-- the desperate silent screams completely unnoticed.
Maybe it's just that no one talks about the problem Tomoko has. People don't seem to realize how crippling social anxiety can be, often not even the people who suffer from it. I can't help but think about how everything could have been so much different if my brain would just allow me to speak to people. Granted, it's not nearly as bad as it used to be. Not even close. It is still painful talking to people I don't know, but at least it doesn't stop me anymore.