You probably know the feeling, everything is going well and there seems to be no end. Will it always be this way, you think hopefully. But no. Just when you cautiously dare to be happy, the sky breaks and hell opens up.

An oasis of peace

Last summer, my girlfriend and I went on vacation. Well, vacation? We went to a campsite every weekend. More than two to three days is too much for us, we won’t survive that. After an hour’s drive from Utrecht, we turned our van into a forest path of a nature campsite in Gelderland. Immediately the tranquil peace fell upon us. The silence was refreshing and the warmth of the heatwave penetrated a lot less in the dense green forest. Slender sun rays and patches of shadow can be so heavenly.

A safe oasis

So, the campsite was in the middle of a forest. After we crossed a bumpy dirt road we saw a few camping fields where we could set up. To our right there was a large central field with thick green grass, a fire pit in the middle and lots of tents, caravans and teepees. Children played, dogs barked and fathers, mothers and other camping tourists filled the field. Sweat broke out and fear grabbed me by the throat. All those people! My girlfriend saw my big eery eyes in my pale face and said redemptive and happy: oh, look, over there, that field is completely empty! Through the trees we saw another field where indeed nobody was camping on. Laughing at our typical social-avoiding behavior we drove to that empty field and went all the way down in a corner, close to the edge of the forest and placed the van with its back to the center of the empty field. This way we had made a nice and safe oasis for ourselves.

We went five weekends in succession to the same campsite this way, to our campsite, the same field, our corner. The predictability and silence without people around us gave us a peace of mind. We both know that we both need that. She because of her autism, I because of my social anxiety disorder. Here we felt free, safe and in love. We believed, carefully that we could be happy too.

A cozy hell

The last time we went again, however, was quite different. I knew the road well enough by now and on autopilot I entered our forest path. When we arrived at the campsite, we were shocked to see that people were already camping on our field and that our little place was occupied. I freezed and did not know what to do. My girlfriend did not know either. This was unexpected and very disruptive. Panically we looked for an empty field, but no. Only on the large ‘social campeniers field’ there was still room…

In next week’s blog post Rogiér will explain how he dealt with the situation.

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Rogiér Cenin

I am a philosopher, teacher and experience expert in the field of anxiety, PTSD, depression, personality disorders and just life! I am coming from far and would like to share my experiences and thinking with you.

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