Lately I’ve noticed that the anxiety I’m dealing with is just a heightened response to things that simply annoyed me before. Sometimes it helps to whisper “This is annoying and uncomfortable, but it’s not life-threatening. You’re not melting.” It also helps that this summer wasn’t nearly as bad as 2012, 2011, or 2010.
Bugs are one of my favorite subjects to draw. I like most of them. However, I have a primal fear of those hulking water bugs, aka American cockroaches, that are the size of mice and not nearly as cute.
I realize they are nothing compared to the Madagascar hissing cockroach, or to “palmetto bugs,” which are flying water bugs, which I thought only existed in tropical Florida until one of them whizzed into my bedroom a few nights ago! Luckily my husband caught it. I used the ensuing adrenaline rush to check all the cracks and openings in the house. There were a lot of them, which tired me out enough to go to bed that night.
Luckily it was someone from FedEx with my new scanner! I guess doorbells, especially buzZZZzzers, are a pretty easy thing to be startled by, especially when I’m concentrating deeply on work. Of course I still feel better having a real working doorbell than none at all, like in some of my previous apartments. At least now I know when someone is there.
It took a while longer for me to calm down than in my “normal” days (lots of extra adrenaline and my nervous system is still very sensitized!) but once I did I had a pretty good day:
I always liked small talk, but it’s one of those things that never came easily to me. It wasn’t until I lived in a neighborhood where no one spoke to each other or even made eye contact on the street that I learned how lonely it feels without a few words each day. Now that I’m making myself start some conversations, I’m surprised at how good I can feel afterward.
I’m worried that this new series may make it seem like I’m afraid of everything now (HUMIDITY? Really?) but one thing I’ve learned about anxiety and panic is how PHYSICAL it is. It’s not just a bundle of worries that are “all in your head.”
The inside of my head has become fairly calm most of the time, thanks to therapy and the simple passage of time. But there are still some external things that trigger me and set off reactions in my mind and body, like swampy humid air. What was once a minor annoyance now makes me feel dizzy and disoriented. I start sweating, shaking, gasping for air, then choking, which means I will fall down and die if I don’t get home RIGHT NOW, INSTANTLY! And that’s a panic attack.