When I was 16, I started taking classes at a local community college. I was always the youngest person on campus, and I felt so out of place. I tried taking easy classes to ease myself into the whole scene, but it didn't help. I started feeling scared all the time, uneasy. It was like I lost all of my self-confidence and I started having panic attacks. I'd try to walk into class, and my heart would start beating faster, I'd hyperventilate, start to shake. I felt really claustrophobic. And I'd never make into class. I'd run and bury myself in a safe place. And for me, my safe place was usually the library. Surrounded in books, hiding in someone else's story.
Even when I was little, and there were problems at home, I'd dive into a book. I figured any story was better than my own. Like an ostrich sticking his head in the sand. Books can be really therapeutic and helpful ... but they can also be a hindrance. When they're being used as an escape route, when issues aren't being dealt with properly. I find it difficult to tell the difference these days.