Over the last couple of years I’ve developed a problem with anxiety. It only flares up occasionally, but the odd thing is that every time it hits me I seem to think “Oh, this is new. Where have I got this new problem with anxiety from?” If I look back at posts on this blog though, I can see that I’ve written about it a number of times, and described it in exactly the same way. Certain things set it off, usually around a loss of control or a lack of certainty, but the way I respond is always the same – I freak out, I feel sick, and I want to remove myself from whatever situation or decision that has brought it on. And then I get past it, and think it was the worst episode I’ve had so far. But who knows if it was? Every episode feels like the worst.
In the past I’ve had freak outs about starting new jobs, buying a new car, and buying a home. I haven’t had to do any of those for a while, so most recently it has been caused by travel to new places. Booking holidays is a fun thing to do, right? Everyone likes that. Choosing where you want to go, picking a hotel, booking flights. These are exciting things. Holidays are nice.
NO. I don’t like it. It makes me feel sick. What if I choose badly? What if it’s horrible? What if it’s a bad hotel, or we get lost, or robbed, or stabbed, or it’s not a nice city? It’ll be a waste of money. I won’t like it. I’ll be trapped and I won’t be able to come home. I don’t want to book a holiday. I just want to stay at home where it’s safe. Or go somewhere that I know, where I can get on the right train without getting lost, and feel comfortable walking around the streets.
I’m a freak. I don’t want never to go to any new places for the rest of my life. There are lots of places I’ve always said I’d love to visit, and I don’t want to deprive Chris of going and doing nice things. But it’s only fine in theory. As an abstract concept it sounds great, just as long as I don’t actually have to book it.
Last week I freaked out because I didn’t want to go to Nice. To NICE. It’s almost definitely nice there, it’s in the name. Who doesn’t want to go to Nice? I wasn’t even paying, we’d been given some money to spend on a holiday. But no, I absolutely did not want to go, for no real reason, and it turned into a major thing.
I don’t know what to do about it. I hate it when it happens, I hate myself for not being able to control it, and I don’t think it’s just going to go away. We’ve arranged to go to Madrid now instead, and I feel OK about that – the trip looked more manageable to me, the hotel has great reviews on Trip Advisor, and there’s a straightforward metro from the airport. It sounds OK. I can do Madrid. It was also a way of not going to Nice, which is illogical, but it helped somehow. Once I’ve been on a holiday and I’m back home safely again I can look back and say yes I enjoyed that. It’s just that I have to get through it first, which sounds so, so bizarre.
Chris and my Mum think I should look into counselling or hypnotherapy or something. They’re probably right. I’m past the episode now though and once I’m back to normal again it never seems worth it. I don’t know. I hate it. I hate being weak and not in control of myself. I hate not liking myself, because normally I really do like myself.
I should probably do something about it.
Maybe next time.