And now without warning or real reason whatsoever (in true anxiety disorder fashion), lets talk about mental illness again!
Because why not.
But mainly because it keeps coming up. And I hope it continues to. Because you can't beat what you can't face.
As of late, I've found myself in circumstances being asked to describe the experience of having anxiety. It sounds like such a general catch-all term for being afraid.
It's so far from founded fear.
It's more akin to seeing a spider, your brain recognizing that you see a spider and responding with "It has too many legs to properly predict how it will move and it wants to throw its self at my face and live in my hair forever and then I'll have to shave it and be bald to keep from feeling like there are bugs on my head."
Honestly, I’m not sure what for. I don’t know what, if anything, this could trigger.
But I’m so desensitized to it now that I shouldn’t be the judge of that.
A healthy mind starts at a 1 and escalates to a 10. Stress, happiness, sadness, whatever. 1-10
An anxious mind starts at a 10 and needs to be brought down to a 1. Mania, depression, paranoia. 10-1.
There’s no science in that sentence, just retrospective reflection.
It can complicate simple tasks. And it can heighten simple stressors.
Things like going to the grocery store, socializing in unfamiliar situations, losing things, airports, babies, money, health. You may start at a 1 getting on an airplane and end up at a 5 thanks to turbulence and losing the arm rest war. I’ll get on an airplane starting at a 10 because I’m about to relinquish all control of my belongings, well being and freedom to move my limbs. Plus babies, forced into being unproductive, physical proximity to a crowd of strangers, lines, every single system is entirely illogical and stupid…and then turbulence.
I’m a logical human and a reasonably smart one. I watch lots of videos of planes getting skull-fucked by wind and staying in the air. I know the statistics and the car crash analogy and all the reasons that I should not fear it. But when that sudden drop hits your stomach and your eyes widen, mine roll back in my head to the gruesome land of “shit that will never actually happen but your brain is going to continuously tell you it might.” And it is very vivid.
There isn’t a voice in there [I swear], but lets give it one to make this easier;
“So we’re going to die…”
“Statistically that’s super unlikely.”
“I know. But we’re going to.”
“You’re a fucking idiot.”
“Even if we make it, you’re gonna have to deal with the overhead bins. And everything is shaking around in there. What if your bag gets buried? It’s heavy and you’re tiny. You’re going to have to climb on the seat and ab wriggle it out of there. But you’re kind of drunk so what if your ankles get caught on the armrest and you fall backwards because of the weight of the bag? Or just holding up that line as the person behind you does that weird scooch into your personal space like that will somehow make you vacate the plane faster. And then your bags are going to hit every fucking row of seats from 25B to the front of the plane because you brought too much shit and it’s too heavy for your tiny bird body. What if all the pockets have opened up because somehow the force of the turbulence has fucked with the zippers? Now your important things like your wallet and passport and keys might be at risk of slipping out and being lost forever. Did you even bring your passport? You must have, you’re on this plane. But hopefully it’s still in that bag. What about your wallet? Is it zipped up? Do you have any cash in it? How much? Is it the same amount you left the house with this morning? Do you think you lost any along the way? What about the keys? Do you even have your keys? Do you have the keys?”
“Are you sure? When was the last time you saw the keys? Touched the keys? Did you lock your door? Did you leave your keys in the door? You should check for the keys. Just go look for the keys.”
“They’re in the overhead and I’m in the middle.”
“Just go look for the keys. Check your bag for the keys.”
“Go look for the keys. Just go look at the keys. You need to see your keys to know you have your keys. Are you sure you have the keys? You need to start making a plan for what you will do if you don’t have the keys.”
**I keep these bags under the seat in front of me. I always check for my keys. I have never lost my keys/a key/any key.**
“You’re an asshole.”
“I know. See ya in 6 minutes when you’re standing in the bathroom and another airpocket comes and you suddenly picture yourself flying into the ceiling because one of the wings has ripped off and that crazy vacuum hole opens up in the side of the plane and everyones faces are getting shredded on the jagged metal as they get sucked out”