It is interesting that the neurotic, similar to the paranoid, thinks that he is the only one suffering out there, that he is the emblem of neuroticism. Everyone else seems normal, leads a normal life, while he is not only left out but has been cursed with nervousness; everything he touches, including his hopes and dreams, upon contact turns to jittery dust.
Yet from hearsay and personal experience, I cannot shake off the notion that neuroticism is, in fact, more common than you may think. The same applies to insecurity. On average -- and I am making up my own stats now -- most people out there are insecure, regardless of job, status and experience; whether they show it or not, express it or not, deep inside they are neurotics at heart.
I think, however, that waves of neurotic habits and insecurity come and go in different degrees. Some people are so neurotic that they turn everything into a nervous debate or fluttering question mark, ranging from breakfast to existence on the planet. In other words, the neurotic is always on the run and in conflict with himself and is extending Hamlet's famous question “to be or not to be” to every part of ordinary life: “to sleep or not to sleep” “to eat or not to eat” “to buy or not to buy.”
In fact, decision-making is probably one of the worst features for them. A decision means choice and with choice comes the idea not only of free will but a moral matter of right or wrong. Or at least some decisions have better, more fruitful outcomes than others. Also, keep in mind that decisions are either approved or frowned upon by others, so to a certain degree, they also depend and extend onto other people.
For example, let us say the neurotic wants to get a haircut. This decision stems probably from a sense of insecurity about one's looks and less a necessity. First, what kind of haircut would be best for me? The people in reviews are much better-looking, and the particular haircut might suit them, but what about myself? How would it look on me?
Then the train of thought continues derailing. Would that haircut be appropriate to my livelihood. Would short hair be accepted by my boss or clients? What will my friends think? Did not so-and-so get a similar haircut recently and would they not construe this to be a shameless copy and imitation of their looks? Would I be accused of being a copy-cat or even worse attempting to usurp them, be like them in order to steal their identity like I saw in the movie Single White Female about the psychopathic person? Am I a psychopath?
And all this time, the qualifications and expertise of your chosen hairstylist will be put into question: Is this person qualified enough or what if they are distracted and give me a terrible end result? If the haircut outcome is a horrendous eye-sore, what are my options then? What can I do to hide it: buy a wig, wear a cap, stay at home, never see the light of day and do all my shopping online?
These are just a handful of possible ideas running around restlessly in and through a neurotic mind. If you recognize some of your thought processes here, do not be alarmed. Rather take refuge and comfort in a seemingly uncomfortable thought: Although it may seem otherwise, you are not the only one suffering from these levels of insecurity.
Everyone does -- some more, some less -- and they might show it or know how to hide it; it may seep through their behavior or not, but deep inside we carry around the same fears and doubts, from panhandler to Wall Street broker, from writer to business-person.