Daily Conversations With Anxiety: It’s FAAAAAALLLLLLLL

Are there sharks on land? Because I swear to God, the Jaws theme-song has been pounding in my ears for weeks now. Or maybe that’s just my heartbeat.

Duh-nuh. Duh-nuh duh-nuh. Duh-nuh duh-nuh duh-nuh duh-nuh DUHNUHNUH.

My anxiety level has held steady lately at Code Horror Movie, and my inner voice that says all sorts of dumb shit has been on top of her game.

Heeeeere’s your Anxiety Voice!

I’ll be in my car and need to cross oncoming traffic. I’ll look both ways. And then look again. And again. And then I’ll start driving, and the voice will say, Watch out, dumbass, you’re about to get T-boned! That’s gonna hurt! and I panic and look both ways again–and of course there is no car approaching mine. But my heart rate has skyrocketed anyway.

BECAUSE THIS IS TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN IN A TOWN WHERE APPROXIMATELY EIGHT PEOPLE LIVE AND YOU LIVE WITH ONE OF THEM. Anxiety is impervious to logic.

Or when I’m running with Atreyu, we’ll turn right and a car will drive by and the voice goes, the next car is totally going to hit you or Atreyu and your life will be ruined and you look fat in those sneakers.

Or my phone will ring, and it will be a New York number that I don’t know, and I’ll immediately start hyperventilating and I’ll have to shut my phone off and not check the voicemail for three days. Nine times out of ten, it’s some political party calling me about money, or the vets calling to check on Atreyu (he’s been sick, and then his ear decided to be gigantic, and then he decided to get sick again). But there’s the off-chance that it’s someone calling to heap verbal abuse on me for something I wasn’t present for, and I won’t take that chance, so I’ve stopped answering my phone if I don’t know the number. The second my phone rings, my voice goes, HA HA HA YOU’RE ABOUT TO BE YELLED AT AGAIN. HA HA HA. HA. HAHAHA. YOU SUCK, LOSER.

I’ve also started having themed weekly nightmares starring people who have really hurt or scared me in the past, which is fun if you like waking up feeling violated and scared three or four days in a row.

That voice is a chatty motherfucker, let me tell you. Whitney, you’re going broke. Atreyu hates you because you didn’t run three miles with him today. None of your friends like you. don’t even like you, and I’m stuck with you. Also, did you hear how Atreyu was breathing last night? I think he’s getting sick again. Maybe he has Lyme disease and you’ll get it, too, and then you’ll die because it’ll go undiagnosed for forty-seven years and you’ll slowly go insane because Lyme disease does that, or something. You haven’t worked on your thesis for a while so you’re behind schedule and your writing is shit anyways and how are people going to react to a shitty book? Blah, blah, blah, blah

My OCD gets worse when my anxiety gets worse. I set rules for myself that I don’t need to follow, like, “you have to win this three times before you can do anything else,” and if I don’t win it three times or if it takes too long, BOOM, panic attack. I start picking at my skin again, and then I notice it, and BOOM, panic attack. I’m my own worst douchebag.

Don’t think about that image. You’re totally thinking about that image right now. Sorry not sorry.

There’s something about the fall. When the season changes and things start to look pretty and die at the same time, shit hits the fan. People go nutso when temperatures start to drop. When we get a little further away from the sun, people get depressed or nervous or whatever, because the Sun is this big warm thing and also a metaphor for something important.

Oh, God… What is it… I just can’t remember…

This happens every year. If you remember, last year I was all super angry and then I started worrying about whether or not I had knee herpes and other dumb things.

I know perfectly well that I’m not going to get t-boned by some imaginary vehicle when I’m driving (that’s what she said? Maybe?). But I can’t say for sure whether or not a land shark will pop up through the ground and eat me alive.

Because this movie exists, and has kevin bacon, so therefore I’m at most six degrees away from being eaten by a landshark. Or something

29 Comments

You know, those land sharks probably constantly worry that once the get on the surface, they’ll get run over by a car, or get a sunburn, or start getting calls from political parties asking for money.

Tremors was one of those movies that they played over and over and over again on the Sci-Fi channel and AMC for some reason when I was a kid. Kind of like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jaws I, Jaws II, anything else with Harrison Ford, etc. Did anyone else notice the disproportionate frequency of play for these films or was it just my imagination? Or maybe Kevin Bacon and the guy who plays Joe Dirt’s dad were just that phenomenal.

In autumn we’re actually getting closer to the sun, despite angling away from it. But don’t worry, we won’t fall into the sun. I guess… And I don’t think the world could handle a Whitney Land Shark! Way too scary! Even for Fall 😉

When I’m getting anxious my mind works (or doesn’t) like you described. Very good writing in that you captured the very real crazies of panic attacks. Plus it was funny! 😉

Let me know what you do about your dogs breathing, cos my little Patterdale is driving me nuts. I have to sleep in one room with him and the husband in the week ( we rent during week cos of work, return home at weekends), all day said dog is chilled out, taken for walks ( ambles actually, he is old and lazy) played with, fed, etc etc. Totally loved. NIght happens, and bang – bed time routine finished, lights out and it starts. He rejects his bed, and stands motionless over it, as though for execution. I ignore him. A gentle intermittent whine permeates the room , threatening to disturb the somnulence of husband. I attempt firm but kind return to dog bed, whilst administering soothing strokes, ( dog, not husband). Dog demurs. It is a temporary respite as we journey into the second phase. Dog becomes upright, and commences deep panting ritual. WHY?????????
I am now resigned to nursing said dog to rest, with doggy massage.
Ahh well. I spend my nights recalling ones decades earlier with young sons. C’est la vie.

You are an inspiration.. you wait three days to check your voicemail.. I can’t even listen to a voicemail I don’t know, let alone open the voicemail app without crazy anxiety!! Four for you Glen Coco You go Glen Coco

It’s interesting that you wrote that; when I shared your post with my husband, he said something like maybe if you can fix you, then I can fix me because someone else did it and I’m not so weird. Both reassuring and mildly not nice, though he has amazing intentions.

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