And what to do about it.

80’s Child via Shutterstock

I never expected to meet someone like this.

When I was younger, I was naïve, and more than a little insecure. I didn’t expect anyone to have bad intentions and would do my best to keep other people happy. I was easily manipulated, and quick to react if provoked.

This is fertile ground for being narcissistic prey.

A narcissist’s personality is divided equally between self-loathing and self-importance. Their self-hatred is only matched by their sense of entitlement. They convince themselves of being superior to others to avoid looking at who they are.

A narcissist can take the form of a…


Breaking social anxiety starts with creating momentum.

Man alone and isolated
Man alone and isolated
Photo by Анастасия Беккер from Pexels

I don’t know about you, but I used to feel like a foreigner when trying to be social.

If I was around people I didn’t know, I would feel like a “stranger in a strange land.” I looked perfectly calm, but inside I was clenched up in a thousand ways. I felt like everyone could sense I wasn’t natural in my environment.

This made me feel isolated, and the more I retreated into myself, the more I could feel the tension building. …


Mourning lost time and moving forward.

Ornate pocket watch
Ornate pocket watch
Photo by David Bartus from Pexels

I’m turning 29 soon. I was hoping to keep a realistic, level-headed perspective about my age. But no, it got under my skin.

My mind went into disaster mode.

Instead of feeling gratitude for the things I’ve done and experienced, I could only focus on the things I haven’t.

I was having spells where I would think it’s too late to do anything meaningful, too late to drink life’s nectar, too late to do, see, or feel. It’s over. All opportunity is gone. The future is determined only by what I’ve done, not what I’ve yet to do.

A little…


Emancipating yourself and focusing on what matters.

Jorm S via Shutterstock

I have something to admit.

I don’t know if I’m addicted to the internet, or if everything I do is confined to it. If I am addicted, then I want control of my life back.

I keep having a scenario play out in my head. I imagine a person whose relationship to the internet is close to nonexistent and what that life would look like.

Let’s say it’s the not-so-distant future. I picture a woman who lives in a quiet New England town. She has a day job working in a library. …


The art form that creates wellbeing.

Sylverarts Vectors via Shutterstock

It felt like a tyrant was cracking a whip in my head.

I was having a depressive episode a few years back. I was at work, so I was trying hard to keep my composure.

A thousand thoughts were eating me up. I had no outlet, and I didn’t see many options for dealing with it. In retrospect, I should have just spoken to someone, but I discovered something important in what I did next.

Not knowing what else to do, I took out my phone, opened a random note-taking app, and started writing. I wrote the exact thoughts I…


You’re not kind. You’re scared.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

“I shouldn’t do this. He’ll be embarrassed if I win. He worked so hard, and he’s struggling so much. Who am I to take that away from him? And…what will he think of me once he loses?

In my moment of doubt, he cranks my neck to the side and sinks in his fingers to choke me unconscious. You aren’t supposed to feel bad for your opponent in submission grappling, or any kind of serious competition. But I did. And it ruined everything for everyone involved.

The Consequences of Being Too Nice

Imagine you’re fighting your heart out in the activity you care about most. You’re…


Speak up.

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

This is what social anxiety and self-denial look like. And this is what you should never, ever do. No matter how shy you are.

I took a leap in 2018. I went on a retreat to Dublin Ireland for people who struggle with social anxiety and dating. There, a group of us met with coaches who helped us move past our fears and become comfortable in our own skin.

The event had the vibe of group therapy. The coaches were receptive and accommodating. It was a safe, welcoming environment.

And it was our first day. We were meeting in the…


It’s not because you aren’t loud enough.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

“How the hell did she not hear me?”

I was making small talk with a customer at my job. I said something clearly, audibly, and without mumbling, to her face. She completely ignored it.

We were talking about health and fitness, and for much of the conversation, it seemed like I wasn’t even there. She would ask a question, I would give an answer, and halfway through my response, she’d be speaking again. At one point she asked, “Do you work out?”

I said, “Yes. I do actually.” And she said, “You really should.” She wasn’t agreeing with me. …


It’s the thought that counts.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I botched the shit out of a handshake today. It’s still gnawing at me. Have you ever done that?

My jiu-jitsu coach was the victim.

We had just finished our sparring session and I was on my way out the door. My coach wanted to say goodbye, and he put out his hand. What I gave him in return was a closed fist.

He wrapped his hand around my fist like he won a game of rock paper scissors. Then there was a 1000 year pause. I’m only speaking for myself here, but I felt like dying for a good…


Sometimes you need to get weird to get wise.

LUMEZIA via Shutterstock

Terence Mckenna did a lot of drugs.

That’s probably an understatement. Timothy Leary, the figurehead of the 60s LSD counterculture, called him the “Timothy Leary of the 90s.” An ethnobotanist by trade, and a “mystic” by choice, Terence Mckenna wrote and gave lectures on the merits of psychedelic drug use.

His work can be found all over YouTube. The lectures are filled with tales of taking “heroic” doses of mushrooms and prophetic insights about the future. He was a critic of western culture and a champion of authentic human expression.

Using substances, he took his mind and bent it, twisted…

Charlie Lukas

Psychology, Philosophy, Hope, Pain, and Vibes. Top writer in mental health. https://strengthinsilence.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store