Pulse pounding through my veins. Brain on red alert. Muscles tightened and ready to spring. Too bad I’m trying to fall asleep. Deep, calming breaths. Muscles begin to unwind. Just a hair. Without warning, some horrible thought resurfaces full force, goading my heart back to its hummingbird rhythm. I sigh with exasperation.
It’s been 24 years and I still have absolutely no control over my thoughts. Partially this is because I am a nervous person. And boy, when you’re a nervous person, there’s a lot to be nervous about.
With me, it’s not just the usual bit of nervousness. It’s not even limited to the “What was that strange sound coming from upstairs? Maybe it’s a burglar!” kind of nervousness. Oh no. It makes proclamations like that seem laughably rational. I can conjure fear from anything. Just try me.
Most of these fears are never realized. I’m nearly always aware that they are irrational. The likelihood of most terrible things occuring is small. But then again I can’t help thinking that the combined probability that SOMETHING will happen is pretty damn large. Right? I mean, look at all these horrible things that can happen in just a short period of time.
A twinge in my arm (is that a shooting pain?? Maybe it’s a heart attack! I thought my heart felt weird earlier…)
A slight pain in my side (is that the RIGHT side?? That’s where the appendix is! It’s probably appendicitis. I’ll have to be admitted right away for emergency surgery)
A sudden jab of pain in my eye or ear (I’m losing my vision/hearing permanently! *proceed to imagine the rest of life including hardships as a blind/deaf person*)
A blister on my toe (It’s probably going to pop and become infected, then I will probably die from meningitis!)
A need to pee all the time (*googles it* I’m dying from prostate cancer! Oh wait….I don’t have a prostate)
My anxiety isn’t limited to my own body either:
Can’t reach someone on the phone for a few hours (OMG they probably crashed their car in a fiery wreck and are in critical care in the hospital!).
Bus stops suddenly and driver exits for a few minutes (This is totally the start to a dystopian movie!! Who is going to die first??)
A pop up on my computer (I’ve got a terrible virus! It’s going to steal all my information, give it to someone across the world who is going to find my bank account password, take my money, assume my identity, and ruin my life forever!)
Car makes a funny noise (Am I breaking down?? I’ll be stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours and then have to pay thousands of dollars to fix my car!)
Days before going on a bus in a city I’ve never been to before (What if I don’t know where to put my ticket in the machine? What if the place that the bus says it will be doesn’t actually exist? What if I don’t know how to request a stop? Asking someone else these things are certainly out of the question…I wouldn’t want to look nervous.)
So basically, I’m thwarting attempts on my life nearly every minute. Constant vigilance really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.