Thursday, July 18, 2013

Things That I Am Afraid Of

The thing about anxiety is that it's not really defined.  I know that my palms are sweaty, my neck is crimson, and I feel like I'm about to hurl; I have identified these sensations as being related to anxiety.  I know when I feel anxious; I just don't always know exactly what I am anxious about.  Sometimes it is easy to figure out what I am anxious about, like a new job. Other times, I end up more anxious about not being able to figure out what I am anxious about.  It's a vicious cycle, and while my anxiety doesn't completely shut me down, it certainly makes it difficult to function.  Over the years I've acquired a variety of fears, guaranteed to up my anxiety to extreme levels. 

10. Crickets.  Right now you're thinking, crickets?  Those cute little bugs that play lovely music?  Why on earth would anybody be scared of those?  And I wasn't ever scared of them, either, until I went to college.  It was there that I found out that crickets like to hold what can only be called cricket conventions.  They will congregate by the thousands, all over the walls and the ground.  These congregating crickets will crunch underneath your feet as you walk, no matter how hard a person might try to avoid them.  They will fly off of the wall without any warning, ending up in book bags, purses, and hair.  These crickets also seem to enjoy flying into the ventilation, just to wake unsuspecting college students up by landing on them in the middle of the night.  Ick.

9/8. People/Speaking in front of People.  I am an introvert, as I've said before.  Large crowds drain my batteries.  It's not that I'm afraid of people as a general rule.  I just feel awkward and completely ridiculous around them.  If I am walking, I think that I am going to fall down in the most spectacular way possible.  If I am trying to talk to people, I almost always feel as though I am speaking in complete gibberish.  Part of me knows that I am speaking English, and it registers that the person I am speaking to is nodding and responding.  I am still afraid I'll say the wrong thing, even if I have no idea what that might be.

7. Forgetting Everything.  My grandmother had dementia caused by mini-strokes.  Every little glitch erased a piece of her memory, until there was nothing left.  While there are a few memories I wouldn't miss, I do not want to forget all the good memories I've collected, or the names of my friends, or the names of my family.  I am paranoid about this.  Every time I forget a date or name, a little part of me panics, even if there is a perfectly logical reason.  I used to have a great memory, but just like every parent has to give half of their IQ to their children, I think I gave half of my memory to my son.

6. Something happening to my child.  This is part and parcel with being a mother, but they don't really talk about it in the brochures.  Nobody talks about how, in the dead of night, you'll wake up and have to lean over the crib because you can't hear them breathing on the monitor.  They never discuss the fact that a parent never stops worrying about their children.  Ever.  If my child coughs, a part of me wants to wrap him up in a blanket and take his temperature, even though I know perfectly well that he has allergies.  It is all I can do to drop Zane off at school; my brain is always waiting for a phone call, even though I know that he is perfectly safe.  That's the thing about anxiety--it is not a reasonable emotion. 

5. Precarious heights.  If I am in a building with multiple floors, I am generally okay.  But if I am on a ladder, I feel less than steady.  I feel downright disoriented.  Even standing on a chair, changing a light bulb, I'm concerned that the chair will wobble and I'll fall.  I am not afraid of the plane crashing--I am afraid of how far the plane will fall with me in it.  When we visited New York City, I refused to go to the top of the Empire State Building, because I was afraid that I would fall, or the elevator would fall with me in it.  Logic has nothing to do with fear; even telling myself that there was no reason for me to be concerned, I was still freaking out.

4. Small Spaces.  I had no idea that I was claustrophobic until I had to have an MRI in my 30s to rule out MS.  They put me into that tube, I looked up, and my first thought was, "Coffin."  I hyperventilated until they got me out.  Then they gave me two Xanax; obviously I wasn't the only person to lose it in the MRI.  They put me back into that tube, and I still wasn't going to be able to do it, until Larry, my future husband, came into the room and held onto my foot.  That's how freaked out I was--I didn't even care that poor Larry would not have any hearing after hanging out with me.  All I cared about was the idea that if he was holding onto my foot, I could not possibly be in a coffin.  Poor man!  Soon after that, my claustrophobia began to rear its ugly head in other areas, like elevators.  I can handle small elevators as long as I am the only person on it. If anyone else gets on, I have to get out and walk. 

3. Pain.  I can deal with a lot of things.  I can tolerate migraine pain and fibromyalgia pain, but only because I've had years of experience.  I can handle the dull pains I get from walking, lifting, exercising.  Getting out of bed after my first C-section, however, nearly killed me.  That sharp pulling pain in the gut, the feeling as though your insides were about to be your outsides!  I fractured my arm when a galloping horse tossed me out of a saddle not because I landed on it, but because I was holding so tight to the horn. I didn't want to let go, because I knew how much the landing was going to hurt.  Yes, that was really stupid. 

2. Extremists.  Think the Taliban is bad, with their horrible treatment of women, the 'honor' killings, the acid in the faces of people who disagree with them?   There are people like that living here.  Those individuals who think that it's their right to own 4700 semi-automatic assault rifles and to heck with reasonable gun control?  Extremists.  Those people who want every single immigrant in this country deported, no matter what?  Extremists.  That evil church in Kansas?  Extremists.  Those people make me nervous, because it would be sooooo easy to just let all that hate take over and react to that extremism in kind.  I guess that I'm afraid of them because they make me doubt my ability to resist them. Well, that and I really don't know what I would look like in a burka.

1. Cockroaches.  My parents used to let us go to the movies by ourselves, and they didn't always make sure that the movies we went to were G rated.  Somehow, I ended up seeing the movie Bug.  The poster had a specific warning that this particular movie was not a good idea for people with insect phobias, but since I was 10 years old, what did I know?   I've been scared of them ever since.  In Texas we have HUGE cockroaches, which sometimes fly.   The last time I ran across one of those, it fell on me.  In the shower.  I pulled the shower curtain down and the towel rack out of the wall in my haste to escape, and I'm sure that my scream registered seismically.  Now I gladly pay a pest control company to show up here once a month to make sure that there are no cockroaches in this house, among other critters.

What are YOU afraid of?

 List 10 things you are afraid of.
Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. My greatest fear is to be tried by a jury of my peers. But that probably ties in with your #2!! Second on the list is phoning ANY telecentre 'customer service' hotline about ANYTHING. And 3rd is a strange amalgam of heights, snakes, flying, and the weight of others' expectations ... maybe I better stop before you think I'm totally neurotic - or is it too late??!!

  2. I would say numbers 5 and 7 are pretty much top on my list. But...yes......"Crickets???" I'm sorry, but that is funny!

  3. I agree with #7 as it runs in the family. Every time I hear a story about how to avoid Dementia and the big A, I am listening close.

  4. Oh crickets! When my siblings were younger and we were in Cape Cod during peak cricket time, they would put dixie cups over any crickets they spotted! For a minute I thought you were speaking of (crickets) like quiet crowd times! That is a mighty scary list. Pain scare me as I conjure up possibilities of what is causing it!

  5. Turtles.

    Kind of makes you're crickets seem reasonable, doesn't it? :)

  6. Yeah, I can pretty much relate to all of them in some form or other. Now I'm going to lie awake and think about them all night....


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