I’m Afraid…

of everything. I am scared of anything I can’t get out of, whether that be physically or mentally. I’m not psyched about not being in control, either.

I remember driving home from the gold mine, and just being a wreck. Probably why I now get anxious on long car trips. After we got home, and I went back to work, I remember pulling into a drive-thru at McDonalds, or some other equally healthy establishment and promptly losing my shit when the line didn’t move as quickly as I thought it should. Now scared of drive-thru’s… Check.

I am scared of flying, not because we are hurtling through thin air at 30,000 feet, defying all laws of logic, but because I am trapped. And I am most certainly not in control. As soon as they swing that door in at the gate, and, “kachunk”, latch it in place, I am spun. My respiration gets shallow, my feet get prickly, my heart races, and I am looking for a flight attendant. Vodka, stat. Or at least I used to. More on that later.

Traffic jams, being a passenger in someone’s car, the dentist, going on runs\hikes away from “home”- yeah, I try not to do any of that. I will drive 20 minutes over surface streets to avoid a traffic jam, which might have added five minutes to my original trip. But it is natural to sit at stoplights, and that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as sitting on the freeway, where I should be approaching Mach 3 with my fellow miscreants.

Caffeine and medications scare me, because if I don’t like the way they make me feel, I am “trapped”, waiting to feel normal again. This is a bit of a prickly pear, as I am hopelessly addicted to Dr. Pepper. So, I am rigid about having my one bottle in the morning, and one after lunch. I have to know how much I am drinking, so I know how the caffeine will affect me. If I am drinking out of two bottles, and don’t pay attention, I will sometimes think that I may have accidentally ingested an extra ounce of Dr. Pepper, and will immediately panic in anticipation of the caffeine jitters that are sure to come.

Rationally, consciously, I know these fears are ludicrous, and that I am much safer sitting in Sacramento traffic at 12 mph than I am driving 80 mph on Sacramento freeways, but that doesn’t change the way I feel. The fear is very real, or at least the bodily sensations of fear are very real. Knowing that the fears are ludicrous makes it somehow worse. I should be stronger than this. My six-year-old will run screaming to the top of the water slide, and I will turn around, slink back to my seat, shrug my shoulders at my wife, and pretend that I didn’t want to go in the first place…

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