So my parents took the plunge and adopted a dog, after four dull, dogless years. He came from an animal hoarding raid somewhere in Tennessee, where he’d spent his first two or three years in isolation and neglect (from humans- there were at least seventeen dogs rescued from the property, where they were kept together in a pen.) His next stop was a municipal shelter where, his rescuers told us, he was about to be put down in the next couple of days. Luckily, he made a journey to New York, where my parents’ neighbor spotted him lounging on the sidewalk with his foster owner, wearing one of those bright orange “Adopt Me” vests. And the rest is very recent history.
He’s been with my family for less than a week and his personality and intelligence are already shining through. However, everything here is new to him, so he is pretty overwhelmed, as am I. He’s discovering a new world just as I am rediscovering mine. We’ll face it together, two frightened adventurers on a quest for okayness (and treats!)
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.
I have been riding the bus a lot, but lately it has felt more difficult. One stop may not seem like much, but it felt great to get off and take a long meandering walk home.
I write and draw every single day, but I’ve never kept a visual diary, let alone a diary devoted to a single subject. I’m not sure if I will do this daily, because August is usually a slow work-month for me, and hopefully in the future there won’t be as many anxious moments to record!
One day at a time. I like the idea of an Anxious Deli, where all the snacks are constantly rustling and crinkling their packaging when you come in.