Living with Anxiety

At darts last week, I was talking to someone about stat sheets.  I volunteered to be statistician for the season and some sheets were left at the bar to be picked up later and I didn’t pick them up.  So, I was explaining it was better to email or text them because I don’t like to drive.  Like most people, they thought it was weird, which meant explaining I had an anxiety disorder.  They “never would have guessed.”  That’s because I know everyone in league and I’m comfortable in my surroundings, but let me give some examples of what does freak me out.

I don’t like going to new stores by myself.  I don’t know the layout.  I might not be able to find what I need.  They might not have what I need, then I’ll have to go to another store.  I might have to ask a store assistant and I’ll feel stupid when they tell me they are three feet to my left or don’t carry said item.  Yep, that’s enough to give me a panic attack.

I don’t like to pump gas.  Realistically, I know the chances of my starting a fire at the gas pump is slim… But I’m terrified I will.  I follow all the rules at the pump and never take my hand off the gas pump handle, because if I do, I might build up enough static charge to cause an explosion (I do actually have issues with static electricity).

When I drive, I have to check the temperature gauge, often.  I was once in a car that overheated, because the radiator cap exploded off while it was going down the interstate.  I was driving.  Now, I worry about it happening every time I drive.

Every time I get a scalp itch, I am convinced I have a strange skin disease or lice.  This is a problem, because I do have eczema of the scalp and I get hives there when I’m really stressed out, so my head itches a lot.  When I was helping raise my nephews, I kept lice shampoo all the time and used it once a month as a preventative measure.

I check my shoes before I put them on.  There might be things in them… Spiders might have crawled in during the night or worse, a mouse might have had babies in them during the night.  Nothing has ever fallen out of my shoes, but I still check.

As a kid, I once stepped on a slug while barefoot outside.  Now, I won’t go barefoot.  I won’t even wear sandals.  I can still feel the squishy yuck as the slug burst open.  Traumatic.  And things like that stick with me, forever.  Once something bad has happened, I will go out of my way to avoid it happening again.

If I am going to be late, I will just cancel. For example, if I was going to be late to work, I would just call in. It was less embarrassing than being late.  If I am meeting someone and running late, I become so stressed, my scalp breaks out in hives and it’s just easier to call and tell them I can’t make it at all.  (after all, what are they going to think as I scratch the heck out of my itchy scalp and show up late?)

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