Waiting is hard. Over the years I have developed a several coping mechanisms for your normal, average, everyday waiting. For instance, I never leave home without a sock to knit shoved into my purse. That takes care of those DMV lines or a wait at the nail salon. You get a few strange looks as you juggle five needles while appearing to be crafting a tube out of yarn, but other than that sock knitting is a proven winner for many waits.
Sometimes larger weapons, such as books, are deployed. Books are super because they keep my brain from thinking all the anxious thoughts for a while. Thus when waiting for something that may be painful such as a full body wax or a doctor’s appointment they are ideal. Books are even more handy dandy now that they fit inside my phone. As an added bonus no one stares anymore because now they can’t see the cover of the hobbit filled, world on the back of a turtle shell, modern day wizarding, or dragon and fairy based fiction I choose to read. Win. Win.
Not all waiting is dispensed with so easily though. Right now I am waiting for some test results. You know the kind. The ole, you could be just fine, or you could be harboring a hideous and fatal disease, kind of test results. Of course they are also the kind of results that take entirely too much time to come in. The worst part is once the results are in you have to wait again to get an appointment to come in to have said results revealed to you by the every busy and time crunched doctor. There is no book or sock for this kind of waiting.
Instead I peel the skin from my fingers until they are bloody, or graze on food all day long. I binge watch television in the background, and force myself to clean the house. But despite all that I can still feel a festering anxiety in my gut reminding me that none of my tactics are really working. I’m still nervous. No way around it this time.
This may be the drugs talking, but I am feeling much happier and more relaxed today. Despite discovering a cat pee soaked towel in the bathtub I am feeling pretty damn good, which is saying something.
The last few weeks uncertainty and self doubt have had me in a snare. It’s felt inescapable. As soon as I would start to feel better about the rest of the world, I would find something I said or did to perseverate worry on.
I haven’t had a break from my own head at all lately. Trying to stay busy helps, but then I find myself worrying about having to stay busy. When I fall down the rabbit hole of anxiety I swear I become the most creative worrier known to man. I can always find something new to freak out about. I wish I were that good at ideation in the rest of my life.
With the help of my husband, prescribed pharmaceuticals, getting lost in a few books and movies, and some extra sleep I seem to be doing a bit better. I know I will shake it off, eventually. I always do. Besides, the cat pee didn’t send me into a total panic, so ehhh maybe I am moving towards the bright side.
Yesterday I went on an annual pilgrimage to the liquor store. My city is dry, because of prudes, so getting the sweet nectars of Dionysus requires a bit of driving.
I filled my cart with all the holiday classics, including liquor for my favorite kind of drinking, breakfast drinking. There is nothing better than a hefty pour of Bailey’s in your Christmas coffee. Thank you baby Jesus for allowing me to get buzzed at 8 am!
My cart was full of all sorts of goodies, as one of my favorite gifts to give is booze. I find it makes people incredibly grateful. Since I only liquor shop once a year my cart looked like an alcoholic’s cheat day just begging for a trip to the emergency room.
Pushing my cart up to the checkout is when I realized I still can’t look a cashier in the eye at a liquor store. I am 35 years old and as soon as I start stacking bottles on the counter I feel guilty as shit. For the love of god I don’t know why. I never even drank underage and now that I am 14 years above age, I still can’t help but get all jittery and a severe case of diarrhea of the mouth. What the hell is wrong with me.
I swear every bottle that checker scanned incited me to explain who it was for, how much they will drink in a day, and how I promise I will take their keys away if they get wasted. Multiply that times the number of bottles I purchased yesterday, and you have the makings of a hell of an awkward one sided conversation.
As soon as I got to the parking lot I started making weird noises to shake the awkward off. On lookers probably saw me and thought I had already been on the sauce… that or I had some sort of syndrome. Maybe one day I will be able to shop for liquor like a normal human.
I wish I weren’t rattled by the small things. Swear to god, you change one little thing in my world and I mentally flip into an inner panic reason cannot fight.
Recently I decided it would be a great idea to dog sit. My husband has been wanting to get a dog, and I figured this would be a great way for us to have a trial run. NEVER LET ME DO THIS AGAIN.
I spent the last five days in anxious turmoil. Everything was wrong. The house smelled different. The dog wanted attention. It made weird sounds. Food and water were spilled. I had to venture outside to let the dog pee. My cats were upset.
Those are all really small things. Rationally I knew that, but for the life of me I could not get the message to my head. Instead my brain produced constant tides of anxiety rocking back and forth inside me. My life went completely on hold while I simmered in an anxious sea. I was unable to concentrate on anything beyond the knot being thrown about by waves in my stomach. Writing was on hold, dishes piles up, laundry went undone, books unread, it was awful.
Last night the dog went home. Slowly the knot inside me is unravelling. As I start to feel better I can’t help but feel life shouldn’t have to be so hard. It seems like little things like a house smelling different shouldn’t throw me for such a giant loop. Having water spilled in the kitchen shouldn’t cause me to crawl onto the couch and sit in the fetal position.
I know anxiety was just the card I was dealt, but sometimes I want to cry mulligan call for another shuffle. But then again, if I didn’t have my anxiety I wouldn’t be me, and that makes me incredibly anxious too. So I guess anxiety and I are just stuck together.
I have always struggled with anxiety. It isn’t like I had a sad childhood; I was just kind of perpetually nervous. I remember spending Sunday evenings crying in bed because I was afraid of going to school the next day. I didn’t want to mess up on classwork, loose my lunch box, have no one to play with, I panicked when I did something wrong, and I had a horrific fear of having to go to the bathroom at school. You know typical kid stuff.
My worries just sort of always tagged along behind me like a beast on a leash. Occasionally they would hold me back from doing something like watching a movie. I have a double edged sward when it comes to movies. I tend to really get inside them when I watch. I loose myself if the story. It was wonderful because it was escapism at is best. It made me fall in love with visual storytelling so much that I majored in it in college.
But it was also a big problem. There were some movies that build up my ever-present anxiety to monstrous levels. You would think it would have been horror movies, but no for me it was movies like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles or Airplane. I realize both of these movies were intended to be comedies. To me they were anxiety provoking, panic inducing, hellish movies. I still struggle to watch them even as an adult.
I live in a mind that is constantly showing me pictures of the worst case scenario of things going dreadfully wrong. When I watch movies in which things are going to hell in a hand basket my anxiety level goes up exponentially. It is like feeding steroids to my anxiety beast. The beast gets so big that he squishes me by sitting on my chest and farting just to show me who’s the boss. It is decidedly unpleasant.
As an adult, I have learned to wiggle out from under the anxiety beast pretty well. Most of the time I can switch the channel or talk myself down. On occasion he still gets a hold of me before I realize what is happening. That is when my family and friends have to come in and pull me out from under the bastard, and yes, I still avoid those movies.