Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fear This

Over the past month, I've become afraid of the elevator in the building where I work. This should not be odd. People acquire anxieties over the years. I've worked in the same building for twenty years, however, and I've ridden that same elevator at least once every day that I've worked there. Ridden that elevator, which only goes up two floors, with no anxiety whatsoever for twenty years. And now all of a sudden I am afraid of the damned thing.

I am afraid that the elevator will break down with me inside it, even though the elevator has only broken down ONCE in the twenty years I've worked there. Once I start thinking that the elevator might break down, that thought is stuck in my head. Like white on rice, the saying goes. This triggers my latent claustrophobia, even when I am not actually IN the elevator. The claustrophobia makes me feel like there is no air in the elevator, even when I am not IN the elevator. That's right--all of my thoughts and fears about getting stuck on the elevator all occur when I am not actually ON the elevator.

I know what you're thinking. You are thinking to yourself that that is just about the craziest thing you've ever heard. You are trying to think of a polite way to step back slowly and run away very fast. You are concerned that this kind of crazy might well be contagious. You are wondering if someone else is typing this for me because the strait jacket is too binding to type. The reason I know what you're thinking is NOT due to in any way to the hat that I made out of tinfoil, but because I have thought all of those things, and more. I am an anxious person by nature, but I usually have the low-grade type of anxiety running in the back of my head. Not the "OMG! Heart attack!" sort.

I have no idea why I am suddenly afraid of an elevator. Of this particular elevator. At this particular time. Is it because of stress? Is it a medication issue? Is it sleep deprivation catching up to me? Is it my hormones? Is it somebody else's?

I even went to my family doctor to talk to him about it. I told him that this was unusual for me, this being afraid of inanimate objects such as elevators. I told him that I was not an over-the-top anxious person. I told him that this sudden fear bothered me, because it is not the usual for me. I remarked that I was forcing myself to get on that damned elevator just to prove to myself that I can. I spoke for a long time about why this bothered me, and my doctor listened. He's good about listening. He listened, and then he gave me his opinion.

"Take the stairs," he said. And he wrote me a prescription for Welbutrin, which he said had helped people get over their anxieties, obsessions, and general weirdness.

Okay, so he didn't say anything about general weirdness. But I know that's what he was thinking.


  1. I am not sure I can help you with your 'elevator' problem, but I do have a comment about Welbutrin. NOT everyone has a good reaction to this medication. My mother and I (at completely different times) have tried it and BOTH of us had thoughts of suicide on this medication. WE have NEVER had these thoughts before, and within about 5 days of being off of it we have NEVER had these thoughts again. I have run across others that have this reaction too. Now, I also know some people that have benefited GREATLY from this medication, but I wanted to warn you to watch out for any 'stray' thoughts. It comes on you without you even realizing don't even realize you are thinking about it until you have already been thinking about it for some time! Be careful! ~KM

  2. You're not weird, I honestly think its just a phase. I know I know, at your age or any adult age we should be over our phases right?! Wrong! We have more phases I believe than kids, because we know we have the ability to do so!! I have a new phase at least every month, so no worries, this to shall pass!


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