I’m pondering this more and more. Because either my anxiety is growing or my awareness of it is.
Either way, I’m realizing how much of my life I spend tense and worried.
The dreaded car
Every time I’m in the car with Tim I’m very tense. I just keep feeling like we’re a hair’s breadth away from an accident and having to afford a new car.
Given our history with cars down here, that’s not completely insane. So far, we’ve gone through two cars. In one of the accidents, it was the other driver’s fault; but we still had to get a new vehicle.
Still, I’m actively scared. Especially, but not exclusively, when we’re less than a car length away from the next vehicle.
Of course, many Arizona drivers are terrible, and Tim likes to speed and is far more comfortable than I am following other cars closely. So perhaps this worry is warranted.
But I don’t think that I should be this gut-clenchingly fearful.
I actually ended up teary the other day. A freeway sign announced that our exit was closed, so Tim had to get over quickly. Which meant he had to scoot in between cars because no one here believes in letting people merge.
He was already trying to keep more distance between us and the other cars — because I was actively breathing slowly to calm myself down. But then he had to get over quickly.
I understood why, but it still made me whimper and then start tearing up out of fear and embarrassment over the fear. And tears aren’t normal. Not even in Arizona traffic.
Is that enough?
That alone probably sounds pretty concerning. But is one area of anxiety — however intense — really enough to medicate for?
I’m not that abnormally anxious about other things. Probably. I mean… It all kind of seems normal and/or makes sense when you’re in the middle of it. So I’m trying to take stock of what else makes me tense.
An unprotected bed
I spent most of Saturday worried because we finally decided to nix the mattress protector. It’s slippery and doesn’t like to stay on and it was defeating the purpose of the cooling gel in the mattress. Because we couldn’t feel much through the material.
So that made sense, but it’s one of those beds that the warranty is voided if it gets wet. And it was a hellaciously expensive bed.
Tim’s careful, but I kept thinking about the fact that his first spill would of course come right after we took off the cover. But beyond that was the worry of Pandora.
The damn dog licks anything she lies on. So there will inevitably be small circles of dog saliva now. And it’ll be a light coating. And maybe a two-inch circle. But it’s still moisure, and I couldn’t stop focusing on what it would do to the mattress.
Incidentally, by “focusing” I mean getting incredibly tense, feeling my heart speed up slightly and seeing the bed somehow ruined by dog saliva. Even though I knew it was silly and unlikely to damage the material.
The worry kicked up again last night when I saw her licking. But in my defense, she also had terrible breath and the sheet stank in that spot (which was, of course, right by me) for a couple of hours afterward.
I’m excited about our upcoming vacation. There’s pretty much nothing short of injury/illness that will convince me to cancel. But every time I think about dipping into the vacation fund — rather than using rewards points — I feel a flutter.
Why is that silly?
Well, the only thing our rewards points won’t cover is food. And we eat a lot of convenience food anyway. Other than a nice meal on our anniversary, we won’t be spending too much more than usual. Which means we might not even need the vacation fund.
But I think about dipping into the account and I get a small stirring of anxiety. Even though all of our main expenses — plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental car — will all be covered by rewards points.
So whatever money we do take out, there’s no way we’re going to drain all $1,400. It’s just not possible. And even if we did, the money is there to spend on trips. It’s okay to use it.
But I still feel vaguely anxious. Nothing too serious, but definitely not comfortable.
We do not leave the house on time. Pretty much ever.
There are times that it’s my fault. Sometimes I decide to check work emails one last time before we leave — usually one or two minutes before we’re due to walk out the door.
And if we’re going out on a date or to a party, my hair and makeup inevitably take me 15-20 minutes longer than planned. It doesn’t matter how much time I allow. It’s always at least 15 minutes too little. It’s just a gift, I guess.
There are times it’s Tim’s fault, since he tends to take “We need to leave in 10 minutes” to mean “Start getting ready to leave in 10 minutes.”
And we both inevitably forget to put Pandora outside, making sure her food and water bowls are full, until we’re about to walk out the door.
Whatever the cause, I get anxious as the minutes tick by. It’s not just annoyance. I get increasingly tense and sometimes my heart rate even speeds up. I can’t calm down until we’re there. I just keep thinking about the office staff/doctor waiting on us or the party getting too many people and it being overwhelming before we arrive.
Overall, it’s low-level, but it’s probably still an overreaction. Or maybe not. That’s why I’m asking you.
Otherwise, I’m okay
I think I’m pretty calm about most other topics. Maybe a little rigid, but that’s a separate issue.
Of course, there’s always part of me waiting for the next unexpected expense to rear up. But that just seems rational given that Tim and I have five chronic illnesses between the two of us. And when we get a nasty shock — like $300 for the cat’s insulin — I just kind of shrug.
Then again, I could go back to being more tense when we have to dip into savings to replace the front window and back slider. On the other hand, we have a big refund coming our way, so maybe I’ll stay relatively sanguine.
Normal expenses — well, normal for us — like fast food cause more annoyance than anxiety. Unless we’re running low on funds for the week.
And of course I’m not currently worried about zombies. Which is a plus.
Should I not worry (about my worry)?
Perhaps I’m overthinking all of this.
Laid out, it does seem to point to an anxiety disorder, but certainly not an extreme one. I’ve heard about full-blown anxiety disorders: heart pounding, can’t breathe and/or feeling like you’re dying.
The closest I’ve come to that is the whole zombie issue, and that was (mostly) situational.
I don’t want to overreact because new meds can mean new side effects and/or problematic drug interactions.
Also, my medication management doctor is… Well, he’s unpredictable.
He’s cautious about throwing pills at a problem. Which is great overall. Still, it seem like he’s not taking your concerns seriously. And it can be tough to determine where the line is between “He’s a professional and knows more than you do” and “He’s being dismissive. I know this is a problem.”
Before you suggest it, I really don’t want to switch doctors. He’s the only one willing to prescribe me energy meds. (And no, they’re not causing or heightening my anxiety. I already took that into account.)
So I want to get feedback before I take these concerns to him. Especially because I just saw him a couple of days ago and will have to make a special appointment solely about this.