Daily I navigate a world unsuited for my mental health. I check and recheck locks, garage doors, clothes in suitcases, cards in my wallet, my face in the mirror —  I've questioned everything.

Everyday sitting in traffic, although annoying to everyone around me, causes great fear and anxiety of being trapped. When facing social situations, showing up extremely early to find a quiet space to be unseen or showing up late so no one will talk to me has been routine. I avoid social situations that do not involve my closest friends and family for fear of measuring up, being outnumbered, or severely judged.  There's always a contingency plan — I have limited trust people will protect me or ensure my safety, always! I always read people, watching mannerisms, studying behavior, gathering intel just in case — questioning people's motivation and responsibility to our relationships.  Insomnia causes late nights. There is a constant replaying of the events of the day, something said or done to me, making me questioning myself or those around me. Hyper-vigilant is an understatement when navigating a world not made for me.

It happens to all of us, so people think it's generalizable to say "I have anxiety", but when you 'have' anxiety it's not an every now and again thing — it's constant and pervasive. It requires so much energy to move and navigate relationships, avoiding situations and constantly playing and replaying situations. My motives are always questioned because I'm straight-forward. I often find myself navigating scenarios and conversations in my mind, solving problems and gathering all the information I need to set things "straight". I read people both literally and figuratively. It's nothing for me to dissect someone who may have slighted me in an inner dialogue and to their person. Never intentionally disrespectful, but always so they never cross my line of demarcation. Then I question my motives and intelligence.  It's exhausting; and when I shut down, I'm down. I've navigated a world not created for me.

These are not the things that define me as a person in totality — we're all dynamic — but they are things that I battle daily. Not every now and again but daily, hourly, by the minute.

People who don't understand just want me to calm down. They want me to be "regular" and "normal" — "basic". The most annoying phrase to hear is "just calm down" or "don't worry about it", like this is something I desire, like I want to be "on" all day. I've navigated a world which doesn't understand me.

With counseling, love, support, and a keen awareness of myself, I have begun the process to not to live with this diagnosis. I am slowly pulling myself out of the need to be hidden but it's a daily battle. I am slowly allowing my voice to be loud and clear above everyone else's, for myself. I developed a keen awareness of projection and misplaced emotions of others so I won't internalize burdens, but also so I won't do those things.

My best friend says "I'm an acquired taste". I respond "good because I don't want everyone tasting me." It's allowed me to accept myself and begin to appropriately traverse the 'burdensomeness'. I've decidedly accepted my 'weirdness' or as I've heard, eclecticism. I'm changing my narrative. I'm no longer navigating a world not suited for me, but navigating the world whether or not it's suited for me.