A Glimpse Into My Anxiety
I never used to have anxiety. I miss those days. I can roughly pinpoint the period when it started for me and that would be back in 2003-5 when I was working a very high stress job and was not getting very much sleep. We would work well into the night and have to be back at work first thing in the morning.
It started as a fear of being on the freeway. All the cars whizzing around us at top speed suddenly made me panic. It never had before and it confused the heck out of both my husband and I when we would take our trips out to Las Vegas from where we lived at Phoenix at the time.
It progressed into agoraphobia. I remember exactly the day that happened. I was wearing heels on a smoke break at work. My friend DD and I were just chatting it up when all of a sudden I looked around and felt dizzy. I felt unsafe, like I might fall down because there was nothing around me that would secure me. That spiraled into a very long prison of anxiety that kept me from wanting to go into open spaces, like parking lots and any sort of area where I couldn’t grab onto a wall or something similar. It only abated once we quit our jobs and moved to California. While we were starting over, I was free of the long stress filled hours at a job that I hated. I began to feel half way normal again. I was still afraid of freeways and heights, but no longer felt the need to hold on to something as I was walking in open spaces.
Lately, the anxiety has been coming back. I wasn’t sure what was happening other than just random panic attacks for no apparent reason. At some points it was because I knew we would be traveling and I hate flying and freeways so either way sucked for me. I found relief in some herbal calming supplements, but it wasn’t helping the underlying issue.
Two weeks ago my husband was admitted to the hospital for an angioplasty that was needed because of the heart attack he had earlier in the week. I have pretty much thought I have been having a heart attack every day since this happened.
I can reason away part of it because of the strain my upper back has been under and how that effects my pectoral muscles in my chest, thus giving me chest pain.
What I am saying is, that I latch on to panic. I don’t know how to stop it.
Yesterday, we broke protocol and left the house. We went to the movies to see The Last Jedi. After I gathered our snacks and we settled in to watch the 80 hours of previews, I found myself looking around at anyone that had just joined us in the theater.
I kept thinking: “Is that the shooter?” “Are they going to the be the one that stands up and blows us all to pieces?”
At one point just before the lights dimmed, an older man came in wearing a red baseball cap and a backpack. In my mind he was wearing a Trump hat and his backpack was full of explosives. This was non negotiable, it was truth. I panicked and wondered if I could convince Rob to leave the theater.
I didn’t of course, but I spent the first 20 minutes of the movie eyeing the fella in the cap and wondering when the bullets were going to start flying.
These feelings are very real in my head. I know it sounds crazy, and it is amazing to me that I can keep them as in control as I do when I am actually feeling them, but they FEEL REAL. I had no doubt that the man in the red ball cap was going to kill us all. It wasn’t a question. The question was how to escape when it happened.
Afterwards I feel stupid, of course. When nothing happens, I feel like an ass for being so paranoid. I wish that I could make myself calm down, but it’s getting worse.
Driving and flying, I get. Those are two situations where you are supposed to be a bit fearful. That you cannot control the things going on around you to a point. You feel sort of helpless.
I SHOULD NOT FEEL PANIC FOR LEAVING MY HOUSE TO GO TO A MOVIE. I just shouldn’t. But I do. Yes, part of it is my own crazy, but part of it is the world we live in right now. This shit only used to happen in horror movies, now it is an almost daily occurrence. I hate it.
My fears were abating and I was feeling normal for a good while. It felt nice and I liked it. But the last couple of years, I can’t trust my fellow man. It scares the hell out of me. I don’t want to leave my house. Seriously. I DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE MY HOUSE! This is not normal or healthy and I don’t know what to do. I don’t have an answer.
But now is not the time to talk about gun control. It’s NEVER time to talk about gun control.
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