23 May, 2012


I've made no secret of the fact that I suffer from a severe anxiety disorder. I have a number of triggers that can set off anxiety attacks.

Some of them are the normal things you would associate with anxiety attacks; being in a closed space with too many people, and driving on a busy, undivided highway can both give way to panic.

Some of them are not as common, but are still explainable, as they are manifestations of traumatic incidents in my childhood, like my inability to be outside alone after dark, and how people driving past me with their windows down makes me uncomfortable.

Others, though, especially (for whatever reason) those that are focused on the night, are oddly inexplicable.

One of the strongest is a fear of closing the bathroom door. My brain, despite efforts on my part to convince it otherwise, has determined that if I close the bathroom door, and murderers break in while I'm in there, then I won't hear them and I'll walk right out and into their murderous plan. However, reason fails when it comes to understanding why having the door open, and them seeing me on the pot would save my life.

Another that stands out in my mind, and is equally lacking in logic is the idea that 5 AM is the magical time when murderers stop breaking into houses. If I get to bed before midnight, before Josh, or if we have company, this does not apply. (Again, this is not something I want to believe; these are simply things that my brain makes me believe, despite what I know to be true when I'm not in the midst of an attack, and can think logically.) I don't know why. I suppose all murderers have to be at work at 7 AM, and therefore they must do their dirty work before 5, so they can get home and get ready for their day job.

I'll share one more, and I don't know where it fits in exactly, because I've never really talked to other people with anxiety as severe as mine. I've read a few blog posts here and there, but it's not typically something people want to discuss, and I understand that, of course, but at the same time it's always nice to know that you're not alone in this horrible struggle. Anyway. The last thing I'll share is my fear of loud noises at night, or rather, what horrors those loud noises could possibly be covering up. Once it's dark, my TV gets turned down to the lowest possible volume I can get it and still hear what I'm trying to watch.

The rational part of my brain knows that these thoughts, these fears are ridiculous, and as I type them out I can see how silly they may sound to someone who's never felt the level of panic that I can feel over some of these things, but the truth is, when you're trapped in an anxiety attack there is no logic, no reason, it's just fear. Pure, unadulterated fear and panic, and those things are so very real in that moment. It's an awful feeling that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, but I feel lucky that I have wonderful and understanding people in my life who help me through the darkness on my worst days.

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