Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walking Alone

I have anxiety attacks.  They randomly occur in strange places: trails, beaches, or on college campuses.  I don't know where the anxiety or fear comes from.  It just exist and presents itself at odd times.

This past week the weather has been ideal.  I talk about our second summer in the post before this one and how delightful this time of year is.  Warm with cool undertones.  Still and fresh.  The perfect blend of summer as it bumps into fall. Both season representing themselves with acute differences as well as an indistinguishable likeness.  I forget if it is summer or fall.  The weather is perfect.

My pulse quickens.  Screw the weather.  My thoughts change and I am brought back to the idea of taking myself for a walk around the campus.  The prospect of walking the campus by myself is about to send my blood pressure through the roof.  Over the edge.  Into despair.  Sweat is rolling down the inside of my shirt.

Like a flash my mind wonders if I am wearing deodorant.  Just as quickly it replies--Shut up!  Who cares!

It would be easy to stay inside and let myself succumb to the anxiety I feel.  To listen to my crazy mind convince my heart to skip a night outside exploring the college campus that I adore.

The light is dimmer than when I arrived to the gymnastic center.  The air is crisp.  I should have worn a sweater.  Damn.  I tell myself to get going.


 I do it.  I get up and walk outside.  I am driven by Isabella's desire for a slice of cheese pizza.  Pizza will make me feel better.  One foot in front of the other.  I walk to the center of the walkway and look straight ahead.  I see students, teachers, other kids.  Smiling.  Heads held high.  Confidence in each stride.  I feel like a fraud.

They can't hear my heart skip and dance like a fast cha-cha.  Nor do they notice my clenched fist.  White knuckles hugging my phone like a security blanket. Nervous eyes.

I mimic what I see.  I walk.  Look confident.  Find my destination.  The pizza place is right before my eyes.  I made it.  I am here.  I order what I need.  I do NEED pizza and find a seat.

Isabella will be happy after practice to see that I have managed to make her dinner dreams come true.  While I sit I think.  I question where the anxiety comes from.  Why does it happen?  I write in my journal. This helps to read about my experience. It's silly.  A bit embarrassing.

Aging is a mind game sometimes.  The years of experience exist deep inside.  That experience and knowledge allows me to have a loud voice.  I need to be strong to fight the real-time reality that creeps out of the darkness and into my life.  This time in the form of an anxiety attack.

The anxiety makes me feel like a prisoner.  I am learning to use my strong voice to coach me through these times of self doubt and fear. I know this is helping because a few years ago I would have sat for three hours on a hard bench waiting for Isabella to be done with practice.

I beat the anxiety today.

On Thursday it never crossed my mind to sit and wait.  I dropped Isabella off and left the training facility alone.  I walked 4500 steps that night on campus.

Another night down.  Walking alone is still scary for me.  I fear being lost.  It makes me nervous to meet new people in strange places.  Mostly though, the anxiety is a result of fear and being lost.  I don't like to be lost.

The college campus is large.  I am learning my way around.  This helps a lot. I am learning to enjoy the silence.  The alone time.

I am finding that I enjoy my walks alone on campus.

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