The worst trick a childhood anxiety disorder pulls is, you spend your early years being applauded for being so much more mature than your peers, because you aren’t disruptive, you don’t want any kind of attention, you don’t express yourself, you keep yourself to yourself – this makes you a pleasure to have in class, etc etc – and you start to believe it’s virtue. But you’re actually way behind your peers in normal social development, and who knows if you can ever catch up.

Never heard a truer thing in my life.

The worst thing is to combine this with just enough natural academic talent that you can skate through elementary school, middle school, high school, maybe even the first couple years of college without asking a single question because everything is so obvious.

You grow up knowing that you’re mature, that you’re intelligent, that someday you’re going to do great things and make the world a better place and get rich all at the same time. And then you hit maybe, Junior year of college, when you’re getting out of the broad fundamentals of knowledge and into the serious specific stuff for the work you know you’re going to be doing. And there’s something you don’t understand. It’s an important thing, and the resources are right there in front of you, but no matter how much you read and reread and google shit on the subject it’s just not clicking. What you need is an explanation from a living person who knows how this works, and you’re just… incapable of asking for help.

But that’s okay, you’re brilliant, you got this. And you keep studying on your own and you keep working your hardest and you keep trying everything except for like, raising your hand in class or asking a friend or going to office hours or anything like that because something like that is just straight up impossible. And then exams hit and you still don’t get it and there’s nothing you can do but accept the failing grade.

And then the questions start. Did you use every resource available to you? Well of course you did(n’t). You’ve never had this kind of problem before, have you been slacking off? Or is it just too hard? And there are only two possible explanations; either you’re lazy, and you could have done the work but you chose not to, or you’re an idiot and even with all the resources available to help you were just incapable of doing this so what’s the point of trying? And it’s just one class, you could have recovered from that one big mistake if you’d like, started going to therapy a year ago and learned how to deal with failure as a kid and already knew how to ask for the help you need, but you don;t have any of those things so you just keep failing and failing and suddenly three years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars of tuition is just one big sunk cost that’ll never pay out.

So your dreams are all shot because you don’t have the knowledge or the degree you need to accomplish them, and if you bothered to make a backup plan for your life that was probably also founded on the notion that you’re a hard-working genius so it’s basically worthless, and you’re sitting there with no technical skills, no social skills, no real-world experience, no aspirations in life, a dead end job if you’re lucky, and a debt you’ll probably never manage to pay back. And you gotta build a new life for yourself from there. You gotta learn to be a regular dumb asshole like everybody else, because all you ever knew was how to be a genius. And this time, you really do have to figure it all out on your own, because all the resources laid out by society to teach people to be regular normal people are aimed at pre-teens, and you’re sitting there in your 20s trying to figure out shit everybody else knew before they hit puberty while you’re being bombarded by expectations to buy a house and save for retirement and all kinds of other impossible bullshit.

i ghost-wrote this last addition. It’s EXACTLY what happened to me, minus the debt, bc in my country college is relatively cheap and my parents could afford to pay for it.

Don’t be good, kids. There’s no percentage in it.

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