Do you ever have those moments when you know, logically, that you are acting/thinking really irrationally? But you still can’t stop. You still can’t get that thought out of your head? If you have health anxiety/hypochondria or other forms of anxiety, you probably know what I mean. Let me share with you the incident of two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago I was at church with my husband, Jefferson. He was leading a meeting about our youth group and the upcoming year. As a volunteer, it was important for me to be there too.
It was fun and he did an amazing job. But it was also long and tiring, and by the end, I was a bit cranky. Anyway, it’s like, 10:30 at night and I’m already in a cranky/anxious mood from being around people all day.
Anyway, so after everything finally gets cleaned up, and I somehow manage to stay awake and socialize with the other youth leaders, Jefferson tells me it’s time to go. So, in order to leave and lock up properly, we have to exit the building through this back door with…literally no lights. This is what it felt like:
Once we leave the building through this side door I have never gone through before, I am practically blinded by the lights in the parking lot. Now, this door also happens to have a garden around it and a very narrow pathway. Because I am temporarily blinded, I walk slightly off path. And then…BAM!
I stop in my tracks and wait as my eyes adjust to the light. I felt a sharp pain in my leg, similar to the “did a bug just sting me?” sort of pain. Nothing intense, but definitely a pinch. I looked back on the path and see one of those annoying, tall spiny weeds bumping back and forth right where I had just walked through. Now, here is where it gets…dumb.
I really, really want to tell you that I made these scenarios sound way more funny and outrageous than they actually were, you know, for comedic effect. Like in reality I just briefly wondered: “Oh no, what if that’s a poisonous plant?” then moved on with my day.
But unfortunately, I am not exaggerating. All three of those scenarios ACTUALLY ran through my head. All during the drive home, all I could think about was the nagging twinge of pain in my leg and the thought that I was now, most likely, infected with rabies.
Two weeks later, I can look back at this and laugh at myself. I can see how absolutely insane it sounds to say I legitimately thought there was a chance a crazy man with a needle stabbed me in the leg and a) I didn’t see the man at all and b) that seemed more plausible than, oh you know, I just walked into a spiny weed.
But this is what anxiety looks like. This isn’t an exaggeration, this is real. These are actual thoughts that not only ran through my head two weeks ago, but also cause me to have an actual panic attack. Even as I write this, I still have to fight the thoughts that say “but how can you be sure it wasn’t a rabid animal? How can you be absolutely sure?”
It is a fight, every single day. And it’s tiring, and it’s frustrating, and it’s annoying but sometimes it’s even a little funny and you just have to laugh at yourself.
P.S. If you liked this post, feel free to read about the time I called the cops on my grandma.