me and june 12. 2014 – illustrating my anxiety

i have spent some time trying to figure out a way to explain my anxiety.

this is about the best i can come up with. i ran it by a friend this afternoon just to make sure it made some sort of sense. i hope this helps.

 

let’s say you are deathly afraid of spiders. you shiver and eek and run away when you see one. even the super tiny ones and those that you know could never hurt you. a spider is a spider and there is no reason to try and differentiate between them.

imagine that (most) every time you leave your house and once the door closes you see spiders. big ones. there are maybe 5 or 6 groups of them just hanging out. they aren’t looking at you, but you feel kind of gross as you hurry past them to your car. once you are safe inside you look out the window and see them. ugh. you shake your head and drive off.

you make it to the grocery store. you park and get out of your car.

immediately you see the spiders again. and there are so many more. big and small ones. they are scattered around the other parked vehicles, minding their own business, but still…gross. you start to feel a little unnerved. why in the hell are there so many spiders out today? maybe you even start to get a little paranoid, feeling as if there are only so many out because the universe knows how you hate them and is playing some cruel joke. you hold your breath and rush past them, and when you get to the door you exhale because you made it and you are safe again.

until you look up.

and they are fucking everywhere. 

thousands of them.

they are staying off of the shelves, but they are covering the floor. there is no way you are going to be able to get around here and avoid them at the same time. this is bullshit, universe. you don’t deserve this. you start sweating, and then the paranoia really sets in. they are here for you. they are all here to make this the most frightening and uncomfortable thing you will ever do in your life. just by walking around you. just by being there. fuck, this isn’t worth it. it’s time to turn around and get home. away from all of them. you know they cannot hurt you, but that hardly matters right? they are here. their presence is enough to make you shiver and come dangerously close to crying.

fuck this. it’s time to throw down the basket and run.

(there are times when this is as far as i can make it before just giving up and going back home)

but you have to shop. in your mind you are already erasing off your shopping list those things that you really don’t need. you whittle it down until there are just a few items left. necessities. you feel like you want to throw up. there is no reason for this. you look for ways around where there might not be so many of them. paths you can take where you don’t have make eye contact and you can grab your groceries and be gone. you realize you are still standing in the same exact spot as you were when you first arrived and noticed them. you have to walk. you close your eyes and go for it. each step and you grow more uncomfortable, sure that you might actually die from the fear. they aren’t looking at you. they aren’t crawling on you. there is always a path to walk. sometimes it is narrow, and sometimes you have at least a foot or two on both sides of you. they couldn’t give any less of a shit that you are there. this has nothing to do with you.

you’ve been in the store for five minutes.

it’s getting so intense that you even start neglecting those items that you absolutely needed. fuck it. maybe next time.

you are now at the point where fainting is a very real possibility. and then you think about what would happen if you did that. it would certainly attract a lot of unwanted attention and it would make everything worse. but you might not have control over it happening, and that is why you need to leave. now. you get in line, trying to keep your balance with those spiders crawling around you. if you don’t act normal you are going to make everything worse. acting normal is quickly becoming impossible. this line better hurry, or the police are going to be dragging you out of here while you scream and cry and nobody understands. you look in your basket and realize you only picked up four or five things. maybe one or two of them were on your list. the other ones are things you threw in there and have no idea why. you pay, grab your things, and walk quickly outside. the spiders are still there, but there are fewer. concentrate and just get to the car. once inside you don’t feel safe. you know there are still those that are hanging around in your front yard. you are not okay yet. there is still time for your brain to break open a hole in your head and run away, saving itself. you are close. you drive home, still light-headed and still shaking. you pull up and park. the spiders are still there.

you hurry out of the car, put your head down, and go straight to your apartment. you make it. you open the door. shut it behind you. use the chain lock. use the lock in the doorknob. and then –

safe.

your heart begins to return to normal. the blood returns to your face. the air conditioning is freezing the sweat on your body. you can breath. they cannot get to you in here.

the idea of never leaving again is so romantic. it might be the only way you can stay alive. how does the world expect you to do something like that every day?

and that was just a 15  minute trip to the grocery store.

even just writing about it starts to shake it awake.

this here is a big reason why the idea of trying to have a job right now frightens the hell out of me.

this here is why on some days i don’t make it any farther than my front porch.

because some degree of this happens every single time i leave my apartment.

and i guess now you know.

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~ by alltheavenueslookugly on 2014/06/12.

12 Responses to “me and june 12. 2014 – illustrating my anxiety”

  1. your fucking tags make me laugh (nearly) every post. please continue tossing (the word) •vomit• about, just for me?
    xoxo

  2. Yes, this. So much THIS. I just landed what is basically my dream job, and starting there this week is making me have to confront so many of the anxieties that I have let control my life for years now. I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it working there, but I’m trying really hard. I just keep telling myself that if I don’t go, I can’t pay my rent, which will get me evicted, and I have literally nowhere to go if that happens. So I push and shove myself into the deep end because if I don’t… I’m fucked. Sigh. I would so much rather stay safe at home.

    • that’s exactly what happened to me. i was able to make it for almost three years. three years of every day feeling like i couldn’t fake it any longer. it finally caught up with me.
      i really really hope things go better for you than they did for me. you are such an amazingly kind person, and the world deserves to meet you.
      take care. 🙂

  3. That was very well written. I understand.

  4. Explains very well Sean. I vision it in my head and it very much is like the feeling of anxiety. Great post.

  5. Fantastic analogy of the irrational fear that just grabs hold and won’t let go. I began to have trouble breathing just reading this. I have left many a grocery store and most recently a professional baseball game. I don’t even know what happened just felt like I was going to die if I didn’t get out of there. I actually took off my sandals and started running before I even got to the gate to leave, my worried husband running behind me. Often, as long as I am with someone I can trust, it keeps the anxiety at bay, but not all the time. Hope your anxiety calms down some Sean, too much and there is no function possible…as always, you are not alone ❤

  6. it took me longer than expected because i was having the same reaction. as i wrote about it i could feel it building up and had to take a few breaks. god, i know that feeling. going from completely calm to ‘shit, i am going to die if i don’t get out right away!’ horrible feeling.
    i am glad you have your husband to support you – even if he doesn’t fully understand. it certainly helps to have a support system.

  7. This is such a perfect illustration, I had to stop reading. Damn Spiders!!

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