Voting And Other Normal Things Made Into Waking Nightmares By Anxiety Disorder
Every four years, Ohio becomes an important state for the length of the Presidential race. I forget every four years to get my absentee ballot paperwork in before the primary vote takes place. Today was no exception. Perhaps you’re thinking I should just drive my happy ass over to the polling place (ironically a church) and vote like an adult.
That’s right: I’ve had a panic attack while trying to exercise my civic duty and get a sticker that replaces the heart in “I [heart] Voting” with an outline of the state of Ohio. I Ohio Voting! That makes sense!
The simple and easy task of voting is transformed by my jerk brain into a daunting, Hunger Games-like battle for calm in a sea of the elderly and/or crazed crowd. What if the parking lot is super full and I can’t find a spot?
If I do get a spot, I’m afraid I’ll hear someone say they are voting for a candidate other than mine and that will make me nervous. I’m afraid I’ll overhear someone being racist. I’m afraid someone will want to make small talk. I’m afraid my voting machine will become sentient and begin to steal people’s medication. So, I vote absentee ballot or I do not vote. It’s a real pain in the ass, but something that I both become accustomed to and more ashamed of yearly.
Let’s look at some other normal tasks transformed into bloodsport by my brain!
Going to the Movies
The best part about this particular ‘quirk’ of mine is that I never know when it will strike. I saw Deadpool twice in one night. Then I went again a week later with no problems. A month before that, I had to cancel a press pass for a different movie because I had convinced myself that I would be shot if I went to the theater. Why was that time different than any other time I did go to the movies?
I do not know. My synapses are infuriating.
Watching the News
My husband had to learn that watching the news with me in the room was not allowed. I don’t want to hear about shootings, stabbings, deaths, arrests, politics, or anything else. I think we’ve established that I worry about those things enough on my own. I have literally eaten dinner on the floor of a spare bedroom rather than watch the news at my grandparents’ house.
Yet, when the Boston Marathon bombing took place, I was glued to CNN all day long. I watched as much live footage as possible. I was serene and convinced that Boston was going to take care of this and that was that. I even traveled to Boston not long after, with no worries. This brings me to -
Flying On An Airplane
I have a strong fondness for Southwest Airlines and prefer to fly it when I have to fly. Southwest is not an option for an upcoming trip, so I have been bugging the hell out of everyone for advice on which other airline to fly. When should I buy the ticket? Do they fly out of Dayton? I refuse to fly out of Cincinnati or anywhere else. Is there a layover? Is it an hour or longer? I need to have all of that time to get to my next flight, even though I disembark my plane immediately go to the area where I will board the next plane.
From the moment I get in the car to travel to the airport to the moment the plane takes off, I am in agony. I’m nervous about the people around me. I’m afraid someone will be in my seat or that I will not be able to find an empty seat next to someone who doesn’t smell like twice-baked dog turds.
Once the plane takes off, I am fine. I look out the window. I have a snack. I SUDDENLY REALIZE I AM TRAPPED IN THE PLANE CABIN WITH THESE PEOPLE AND I DON’T GET TO CONTROL WHEN I LEAVE AND OH MY GOD WE ARE HIGH IN THE AIR AND WAS THAT TURBULENCE XANAX AND then slee
What if the store is busy and I have to sit for awhile waiting to turn? What if some creepy person starts chatting me up in line? I can’t possibly parallel park if I think someone somewhere may be glancing in my general direction.
A four-way stop? WE’RE GONNA DIE.
A left turn from a stop sign onto a busy street? PREPARE FOR THE SWEET RELEASE OF DEATH.
Someone parked in front of my house? THEY’RE HERE TO KILL ME.
Seriously, it’s a goddamned rollercoaster in my brain of no cares given to everything is a ticking murder trap. It’s exhausting, but it does sometimes give me some original thoughts. Like my Emu Fight Club.
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