When You Are So Embarrassed, You Want to Hide in a Cave in Afghanistan
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
And never, ever come out
I realize some people may find my title offensive, and I want you to know I'm aware of that, and I own it. I own using this title. Why did I use it anyway? Because one of the most difficult-to-catch terrorists of recent years hid in a cave in Afghanistan for a long time, and NO ONE EVER FOUND HIM when he was hiding there. I have felt so embarrassed in recent years that I'd like to hide in a cave and never be found.
With that explanation out of the way, let's talk about the times you feel so embarrassed and ashamed you'd also like to hide someplace and never be found. And the similar times you'd like to go wherever the career of Dennis Haskins, the man who played Mr. Belding on Saved by the Bell, went.
I'm not going to get into the reasons I feel such enormous embarrassment levels, other than to say they have to do with my behavior and the events that led up to my being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For years I thought I had OCD, and I was on the wrong medications.
I didn't make the best decisions when I was "whacked out by bad meds into Crazytown," as I call it. I didn't pick the best people to be around, and things happened, and I did things that make me cringe when I think of them. Getting into these things would make this post as long as a CVS receipt.
That's when you know it's terrible; when I don't get into it. I'm really open, even about dumb stuff I do. I am honest about the things most of us want to hide from the general public and never speak of.
For example, one time, I had to pee in a cup at the doctor's office, and I had to put the cup in that little compartment with the metal door. And, wouldn't you know, I dumped some of my own pee on my foot, which I might add, was clad in a flip-flop. I guess that's better than dumping someone else's pee on your foot, but when I don't discuss something that happened to me, it's BAD.
That's why sometimes I don't leave my house or talk to anyone. I even used to tell food delivery people in a note in the delivery instructions to leave the food on one of the chairs out front, so I didn't have to talk to them. One good thing about a worldwide pandemic is now they leave the food at your door and won't talk to you anyway!
Before, when food delivery people could talk to you face-to-face, they rarely read the delivery notes I wrote. They still knocked on my door. There was one special guy who did put the food on the chair out front, but then knocked on the door anyway. He gestured toward the chair as though he were a game show host, and the food was a brand-new car I'd just won. He said, "I put the food on your chair." At least he kind of followed my directions, though he should have been so embarrassed that he might benefit from reading this post.
Some embarrassments are small, like dumping pee on your foot or accidentally dragging part of your skirt through a public toilet. Some are larger, like when you text a coworker to tell her how stupid another coworker is, and realize you've been texting the stupid coworker the whole time telling him how stupid he is. Because, as is par for the course in your life, you reversed their numbers when you put them in your phone. (Not that this happened to me)
Some embarrassments are much larger, though, and can cause us great pain. These embarrassments happen to us when we misjudge a situation. We invest in a business that seems like a great idea, and it flops, and we lose all our money. I don't have any money to invest, so that example is aimed at the people who have money.
Sometimes we misjudge a potential suitor's interest in us. We feel really dumb when we discover he flirts like that with everyone. Sometimes we get drunk and do and say really embarrassing things at the office Christmas party. Then we can't remember what we said or did at the party, and we hear about it secondhand at work on Monday. We find out someone found us using a potted plant as our own personal restroom while singing "I Will Survive" at the top of our lungs. I made this scenario up since I've never worked anywhere that had Christmas parties for its employees or potted plants.
Whatever the case, when we feel embarrassed by a situation we think we got into by our own bad judgment, it is a bitch to rival one of my next-door neighbors. She'll never read this, so it's okay that I said she's a bitch. She doesn't seem like someone who reads much, plus, I'm not sure she knows my first name, much less my last name.
Getting ourselves into situations that embarrass, and in some way, hurt or damage us can make us feel like going to hide in a cave in Afghanistan for the remainder of our lives. I think it's because what we are feeling isn't just embarrassment. It's shame.
You know that old fun emotion, shame? The one from your childhood that so readily rose to the surface when mom or dad, or some other adult caught you doing something bad and then fussed at you about it, and maybe even spanked you? Yeah, that emotion.
It comes back when you're an adult, only now it's not here because you got yelled at for hiding behind a doghouse with your cousins during a game of hide-and-seek. And after the seeker freaked out when he couldn't find you, you still wouldn't come out. And even when the seeker enlisted adults' aid to find you, you all remained hidden when you heard the adults calling for you. Then, after they found you, you all got spanked by three different adults in a "spanking line." (True story)
Now shame is here, and the stakes are higher. It might be that whatever happened to cause your shame isn't your fault. Maybe you were naive, or you trusted the wrong person, or you made a decision in good faith that you could not have predicted would go wrong. You probably still feel like it's your fault, but it isn't. You did your best.
Still, whether we humiliate ourselves by getting publicly drunk and peeing on a policeman's shoe, or whether we were taken advantage of, shame is, as I said, a bitch.
I'm not going to tell you ten ways to stop feeling ashamed or how you need to stop hiding from life and get back out there. Whenever I read articles that tell me ten things I need to do to improve myself, I realize I'm not doing any of them. Then I feel not only bad about myself, but also lazy.
And, yeah, you probably do need to stop hiding at some point and forgive yourself and stop feeling stupid and start living life again. Like, if you are now 25 and you are still hiding when you become eligible to join AARP, that's probably not good.
But you go ahead and hide for now. Take your time. Feel your shame. Wallow in your shame if you need to. Don't talk to food delivery people. If you're like me, you may feel so ashamed you don't want to talk to ANYONE about what has caused these feelings in you, and that's okay too.
If you want to, you can always tell someone later, or you can even call someone to your deathbed to tell them just before you expire.
Just know you won't die from feeling ashamed, and if you need to, please seek guidance from a therapist or someone else who can help you work through your feelings. You may not feel like you matter now, but you do matter, and one day you won't feel ashamed, and then you'll feel like you matter again.
If you don't think you are coping in healthy ways, please reach out to someone. I'm coping by talking to a few people about things other than what happened to me. I also go to work, exercise, sit outside, go for walks, and spend time with my pets. And I alternate my crying place between the hammock on the porch and my bed because the birds probably get tired of hearing my crying. I'm also helping the environment by crying into hand towels rather than into tissues.
Just remember, if you feel embarrassed and ashamed and want to go hide in a cave, you're not alone. I don't know you, but even if your shame comes from something you knowingly did, you're just human. You're not a bad person. We all do dumb things. And if your shame comes from being embarrassed about making the wrong choice or trusting the wrong person, that's okay too. Sometimes, we all do that, only your situation has given you a bigger smackdown or is more devastating than you'd like. Of course, there's no level of devastation you'd like.
Either way, you're not stupid or worthless or an idiot. You do deserve good things. When you're ready, you'll see that, and you'll stop hiding, and you'll go on to live a better life after healing from your experience. And, no matter what has happened to you, you can take solace in the fact that there is a 100% chance you are much nicer than my next-door-neighbor.