So we meet again! Thanks for coming back. Today in honor of Friday, I thought I’d shake things up a bit. From today forward, every Friday I’ll post a humorous anecdote from my life, or a video I found or the like. It’ll be called, Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday or LAFF (get it?? heehee!! 😉 ) . Oh and before I forget, PLEASE feel free to share any of my blog posts with anyone you think would benefit. So without further ado, let’s get this first LAFF started.
**Disclaimer: The following story contains broad generalizations that may or may not be based on real life. (cue Law and Order SVU sound effect)**
By the time you get to be my age you are very well aware there is a vast difference between how men and women approach certain tasks. This is particularly true in how they go about finding a parking spot. Case in point:
Two couples drive out-of-state together to attend a music festival. They arrive in said state and attempt to park somewhere in a multi-story parking garage. Here is where the difference comes in. Scenario 1: Woman in the driver’s seat. She drives into parking garage, circles around, finds the first parking spot she sees that’ll fit her car, drives in and parks. Pretty simple maneuver. Scenario 2: Man in the driver’s seat. He drives into the parking garage and circles around to the first available spot that’ll fit his car. The big difference is he keeps going. He’ll drive around in circles as the women in the back seat keep saying, “Hey, there’s a spot….ok never mind….Hey, there’s a spot…..ok never mind….” Finally, after vertigo begins to set in, and she’s regretting the huge breakfast she ate because she fear’s she’s about to see it in reverse–and why DO they call it a Grand Slam??–, the driver finally parks the car and stops…..in the first parking spot he originally came to. 😀
I hope this made you smile. Always remember you are not alone. I’ll see you again here first thing Monday.
Let’s talk about noise. I’m not talking about noises that are so ubiquitous we don’t think about them, like birds chirping or the sound of the coffee maker. No, I’m talking about those noises that can drive you NUTS!
For example, today I walked into our bathroom and turned on the light and exhaust fan. Now our exhaust fan occaisonally will sound like a speeding freight train running over a group of shreeking violins. It also sounds as though it could break off and fall to the floor at any moment. Today was no exception. Fortunately I can handle that noise and eventually I know that it goes away on it’s own (Sidenote: If anyone reading this is an expert in exhaust fans and knows why this is happening, please comment below. Thanks!).
Now, there are some noises that I absolutely can’t stand and actually have anxiety over. One of these is balloons popping. Seriously, I. CAN’T. STAND. BALLOONS. Nowadays if someone wants me to work with balloons, I can truthfully tell them, “I can’t, I’m allergic”. Thank you latex allergy! 🙂 I can still be around balloons, but I can’t touch them or my skin will begin to itch. It should be noted that I used to not be allergic, but with many allergies, it showed up later in life.
Balloons have freaked me out for as long as I can remember. I’m always on edge around them and anxious they’ll prematurely burst. This was such a problem when I was a kid that I remember one time my mom took me outside with my siblings–who each had a couple blown up balloons. They stood at the edge of our yard, while I was at the other. They popped one balloon each. Then they moved forward a bit and popped two more. This continued until they were right in front of me. I was able to handle it with little anxiety–as far as I remember. When I grew older I learned it didn’t bother me probably because we were outside, so there wasn’t a place for the sound to bounce off from (ah, science….).
Nowadays I am still anxious around balloons and other loud noises, but my anxiety level has gone down over time. This is one thing that I’ve learned about my anxiety over the years, in some instances, I seem to sort of grow out of it, in terms of being able to tolerate some things better than I had as a kid. Hopefully that gives you a bit of encouragement if you are struggling with the same things.
Remember, you are not alone.
Do you wanna know the irony about starting a blog about living with anxiety?? Constantly second guessing myself and being worried about what I’ll write about first, thinking, “Well, I need to begin like this so people understand…..the flow won’t be right unless I say this first…” So in honor of this being my inaugural in-depth post, I’m throwing caution to the wind–in an orderly fashion, I can be a bit OCD–and letting the following serve as an introductory post:
My first inkling of anxiety happened pretty early in my life. I remember being in an auditorium at my sister’s spelling bee when I was about 5. I was pretty tired so I fell asleep and when I woke up, the bee was over. For some reason the next time I went into an auditorium, I felt a sense of doom and was panicky the whole time. It wasn’t until years later when I was able to put a word to my panic: Agoraphobia.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, agoraphobia is defined as, “a fear of being in open or public places”. I’ve also heard it described as being afraid of large open spaces. So it does stand to reason that I would panic in larger places like auditoriums or theatres. Going to a sport’s arena was out of the question. For me having agoraphobia is a double whammy because I also have a fear of heights. Yep. I’m that awesome! 😀 So if I go somewhere where the only available seats are in the balcony, it’s a total no go.
Through the years things have gotten marginally better. I am now able to go to concerts in larger places as long as we have floor seats, and in some instances, seats that are on the floor in a covered portion of the theatre. Even then I more often than not have a few minutes of panic, but return to normal fairly quickly. An understanding spouse and ushers have been a God-send through the years. The one bright spot about having agoraphobia, is that once I’m in a place and am comfortable, I’m able to go back to that same place and enjoy myself with no panic at all.
Living with agoraphobia has taken a whole lifetime to figure out that, 1. It’s a very real fear even if most people don’t understand and, 2. It can be managed as long as you are open to exploring what works for you.
I think I’ll end our first conversation here. I hope this has been helpful to you if you struggle with similar feelings. Remember, you are not alone.
This is officially my first post. Not sure how often I’ll publish here but I feel God is calling me to blog on my experiences living with anxiety in this season of life. My blog will be a mix of personal stories of my experiences with anxiety, as well as humorous anecdotes about life; as humor has been an important element of my journey so far. I hope this blog serves as an encouragement and a source of light for all that visit. Enjoy! 🙂