now is a good time to panic

let’s talk about anxiety!
27 February 2012, 1:07 pm
Filed under: gymming, nonsense, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , ,


So most people have normal levels of anxiety. That is a good and healthy thing. It’s what causes you to hesitate before taking a shortcut down a creepy horror-movie alley, makes you study for an upcoming exam and worry when your baby keeps getting ear infections for inexplicable reasons. It’s totally normal.


Some of us (like me) have totally outrageous levels of anxiety. It’s the kind of anxiety that keeps me from leaving the house for days at a time, or has me grocery shopping at three in the morning because being around people is too much to handle. Logically, I am very much aware that nobody is going to hassle me in the grocery store. That’s stupid. It’s well-lit and there’s video cameras and people shopping and employees working the registers a few hundred feet away. Still, though, when I go to the grocery store, there are crying babies and screaming kids running around and mothers clogging up the aisles with overloaded shopping carts and people standing around and chatting. Not to mention the mobility-challenged members of society that sit in the middle of the aisles with their rascal scooters and make it impossible to get around them. Just thinking about it is enough to make my palms sweaty and my heart race.


I’ve started going to the gym recently. I used to do four days on, one off. There’s no way I’m up for that now. I’m on an every-other-day schedule, and that’s about all I can deal with. I’m good with driving to the gym, parking, and then going in, but it all goes downhill from there. The same girl is always behind the counter, so I say hello, show her my ID card, then I have to walk across (or worse, all the way around) the huge basketball courts to get to the locker room wing. There’s always people playing a friendly game or sitting in the bleachers shooting the shit, or doing strenuous-looking things to the punching bag in the corner.


When I walk closely to someone, I’ll give a small smile and a head nod, but that’s all. I know people couldn’t care less that I’m walking across the court to the locker rooms, but I still feel like everyone is staring at me. I recognize that if anyone IS looking at me, it’s only because there’s nothing interesting going on in the room and I happen to be there. After I get to the metal doors, I still have to get by the couches where the massage customers are waiting, then into the women’s locker room, past the saunas, and then finally to the lockers. I’m now at like an 8.5 on a scale of 10 and I haven’t even made it into the gym yet!


After I put my bag up, I have to backtrack past the saunas, past the couches, back across the basketball courts, and past the front desk. That only takes me as far as the cardio area, where every single machine is facing the weight room. I can only assume that is for observational purposes. You know, so the girls on the treadmills can ogle all the guys lifting weights. I still haven’t even gotten to the hammersmith machines to start my workout. After I’m finished, everything is done in reverse order, and if I luck out with a good parking spot, I can escape out of the side door instead of having to trek across the courts for a fourth time.


I know that most of the people reading this are rolling their eyes right now, and have been since the second paragraph. That’s okay. I think it’s ridiculous, and I’m the one going through it. I just thought that I’d share. You know, to get it out there. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person in the world with issues like this, so I’m hoping that by spreading the love, maybe I can make someone else feel better about their secret personal debilitating anxieties.


Good luck with the assorted paranoias that you call your own!



9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I can totally sympathize. When I know someone is coming into my house I get paranoid and afraid. My hands start to shake, and I keep checking and double checking windows and locks (don’t ask me why!).

Walking past a group of people fills me with dread, and used to shop at the big mega mart in the middle of the night b/c I’d rather take on a would-be parking-lot mugger than a store full of people any day.


Comment by Dawn Montgomery

Hey, you’ve known how f’ed up I am for years now, and you’re still around. Now I know why… I make you feel normal. ;) Your late night mugging vs store full of people analogy made me laugh because I’m right there with you. Walking past the cardio area freaks me out because there’s always a ton of people there, and when I have to use the free weights, I have to start planning for it days ahead of time because I just know that everyone on the cardio machines are watching me and thinking about how fat or clumsy I am, or how sloppy my technique is. Ridiculousness.

Comment by kathelldorfer

LOL! It’s the other way around, love! I make you feel normal ;).

When I get like that, I just tell myself no one really gives a shit about me and what I’m doing. It doesn’t help the really bad days, but it does most of the other times. I finally started believing it.

I also do noise canceling headphones to keep me from freaking out. It helps.

Comment by Dawn Montgomery

See, why can’t we just all live together in a compound with no tv, no phone and have our groceries left outside the gate? And yarn, lots of yarn. I’m wondering how many military women are getting weird and paranoid like we are????

Comment by Jo

I am totally, completely, 100% down with that idea. Let’s do this. I propose Maui.

Comment by kathelldorfer

I feel for you. There are times I can go to the grocery store & I’m fine, but there are other times where just the thought of going to the grocery store and all of the people there, I just can’t do it. It’s just better for me to sit at home. My boyfriend has issues with anxiety like that too. Being somewhere with alot of people he just can’t do. There are so many different things that cause anxiety for people. I’m here for you though if you ever need to talk. :)

Comment by triing2survive

Thank you- you are so sweet. Since I’m a veteran, I have unlimited mental health resources that I take full advantage of. I’m not sure what your situation is (or insurance plan for that matter lol) but if you can, therapy is an amazing thing. :) I completely understand your boyfriend’s situation, because my worst nightmare is like a crowded concert. I think it’s just nice to be reminded that we’re not alone once in awhile.

Comment by kathelldorfer

Definitely. I take comfort in knowing others understand what I’m going through. Thanks for reading my blog and commenting on my post about my anxiety while I was at my boyfriend’s house, etc. Sadly, I have the world’s worst insurance (at least I’m convinced of it) and their mental health coverage sucks. You have to pay $1500 out of pocket before they’ll even start to cover anything.

Comment by triing2survive

Im proud of you. I know that this is something very close and personal for you to share. Thank you

Comment by Steve G

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