In Which We Get Uncomfortable

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's Friday! We made it! This was a weird week because it was simultaneously over really quickly and also feels like it took forever. Part ofthat was because I've had the plague, tuberculosis, some bacterial infection (Bronchitis? Sinusitis? Strep? No one knows.) since last Thursday. I was home sick on Tuesday, which made the week shorter, but somewhere, I lost track of the days and so the fact that today is Friday was a (very pleasant) surprise.

It's also Day 3 of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge! I must say, I'm pretty proud of myself for actually keeping up with it,even though it's only been three days. My friend and fellow blogger, S, alerted me to the fact that this thing called NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) exists, and although that's technically in November (I think? The internet had a lot to say about it and some of it was conflicting, as per usual.) there are prompts for every day in May, as well as lots of other months. I might pick it up once in awhile once this challenge is over, b/c I don't need TWO prompts to deal with every day. The NaBloPoMo prompts give you the weekends off, which is nice. So... if you're interested, I'll be posting them every month, and here's the link to the current prompts, as well as past ones. Let's keep writing, people! 

Which brings us to today's topic... things that make me uncomfortable. If you ask someone with an anxiety disorder what makes them uncomfortable, you should probably be prepared to sit for awhile. Since I can't simply write, "Most things that I can think of and probably some that I've forgotten," I'll try to enumerate the most important/difficult/funny ones. And so...

Things That Make Me Uncomfortable
A Short Primer
(list not exhaustive)

Me, being uncomfortable while holding a sparkler.

  • Public transportation - This has almost nothing to do with the fact that I was mugged on a bus (in the middle of the day) recently, and everything to do with the fact that I am impatient and don't like the lack of control I have over the situation. Also, public transportation is gross in Philly (and most other places that I've used it).

  • Airplanes/flying - I do it all the time, but I hate it. I thought I was going to cry on my flight to Israel, and in fact, took a Xanax to chill the hell out.

  • Touching raw meat - Again, I do it (when my husband isn't around to do it!) but it makes me feel squeamish and weird, which is bizarre because dissecting a cadaver didn't bother me at all.

  • Panhandlers/homeless people - Whether you're driving or walking in Philadelphia, you're bound to run into someone asking for money. I never know what to do, so I usually ignore them, but then I feel bad. I actually dislike it more when they're walking around outside my car, because then I'm afraid that one is going to throw himself in front of my vehicle or try to get into it (even though my doors are locked). I don't know, it weirds me out.

  • People start discussing politics - There are about 3 people in this world with whom I can discuss politics, and that's mainly because they put up with the fact that I know approximately nothing beyond who the President is at the time (this is only sort of an exaggeration).
  • Having to pretend that I don't know a lot about medical conditions when I go to see a doctor - I am well aware that I'm not a doctor, but I have way more medical knowledge than most patients, and I hate having to sit there and figure out how much knowledge I can reveal without making the doctor think that I WebMD'd myself, am a malingerer, or just a jerk.

  • Being in our apartment by myself - Ken doesn't often go away for weekends, but when he does, I definitely get freaked out. I love them, but it's not like our (very adorable) cats would be any help if something happened. It doesn't help that my favorite shows are things like Criminal Minds and Hannibal, so I'm constantly imagining horrible things that can happen to me... yeah, I don't help myself at all.

  • Being in New York City - I feel like I'm going to get lost or crushed by people. Penn Station is my least favorite place ever, I think.

  • Being in a group that is wandering aimlessly without plans - The last time I serious, anxiety-fueled, meltdown in a public place, Ken and I were in NYC on New Year's Day (not the best decision, but we had stayed a his friend's place the night before in Brooklyn). His friends had literally NO plans, other than "getting food somewhere and seeing a movie at some point". it was freezing, I already hate NYC (see above), it was freezing, and there were even more people than usual there. After wandering for a couple of hours and finally getting food (which I was too anxious to consume), we ended up at a GIANT movie theater, and I thought I lost Ken. I immediately turned into a 5 year old who had lost their mother in a Macy's and thought that I was going to die alone (surrounded by people) in NYC. When Ken, who was all of three feet away, realized I was losing it, he corralled me, but man, I was not a pleasant person to be around that day. In short, make plans, follow them, don't take me somewhere crowded.
  • Large dogs - They're generally bigger than me.

  • Really big fish - Like, the ones at the aquarium. I love the aquarium, and I will watch literally any show on TV about deep sea exploration and the weirdo creatures down there, but really big fish weird me out. Example:

I need an adult.

  • Having to tell someone "no" - I hate disappointing people or making them unhappy, so having to tell them "No, I can't do that, " or "No, I don't want to do that, " or really "No," in any form is really hard for me. I'm getting better at it, but it still kind of makes me want to throw up.

  • Salespeople - I know it's their job. I worked at J. Crew and if we didn't approach every single customer and ask if we could help them, we got reprimanded. I am a weirdo and I don't like shopping, so if I've managed to get myself into a store, I generally know what I want and I don't need assistance. If I need help, I'll ask for it. Please stop harassing me.

  • Drawing blood - This is nuts, because I voluntarily got certified to draw blood, and I really enjoy working with patients, but holy crap, before I get the needle in their arm, I am a hot mess. I obviously do not let my patient know this, but until that needle is in their arm and the blood is flowing into my tube, I am having the biggest internal freak out you could imagine. Oddly, having my blood drawn is totally fine and I don't even flinch.

  • Certain words - There are many, but the worst offenders are "moist" and "panties". ::shudder::

  • Telling my mother I won't talk about my sex life/sex in general - Yes, she asks and talks about her own like I want to hear these things. I had to explain to her that there are boundaries in life and that is one that I will not cross. I'm not afraid to discuss sex, but I refuse to do so with my mother. The end.

  • Drunk people - I've always had an unreasonable dislike of drunk people, to the point that my reactions are incredibly disproportionate to the problems that drunk people cause. They make me angry and sad and confused and annoyed and... uncomfortable.

  • Ordering at a bar - I usually get carded (not really a problem), but I always feel dumb standing there because I somehow feel like I'm not "old enough" to be at a bar. I also don't drink much or go to bars very often. There's also no real set "rules" for how to order at a bar that I've found. I can never tell who is waiting and who is just standing around, or who has ordered and who hasn't. And being 4'11", a lot of bar tenders don't even see me.

  • Being in a public bathroom with coworkers/acquaintances - People always feel like they need to make conversation while we're washing our hands or whatever, and I just don't see the need. I just peed, we both know it, stop talking to me. Just... wash your hands. This is not the case if I'm there with my close friends, because talking to them is normal, even in the bathroom, but if I wouldn't talk to you NORMALLY, definitely don't start talking to me in the ladies room.

  • Being late - I get a visceral reaction when I am running late. When other are people are running late, it makes me want to punch them. This is probably because my entire childhood was spent being "the late kid" or "the last kid picked up" because my mother is chronically late to everything. She is going to be late to her own funeral. Not kidding.

  • Public arguments - Especially between couples. Take it home, or at least somewhere not 5 feet from where I am sitting. Ditto for adults screaming at their small children. That usually just makes me sad, though.

  • Seagulls - When I was a kid, one bit my face and took my cookie. That's about the gist of that story. Other birds are okay, though.

  • Holding up a line - I don't do this on purpose. I'm pretty sure that no one does. But I also know if that I don't put my change in my wallet right then, I will drop it on the floor. This is amplified to the nth degree in airport security lines. I inevitably fly with my laptop and a bag of 3 oz toiletries that need to come out of my (seriously overpacked) carry-on bag, so that takes a minute. Then there's the shoes, I always travel with at least a hoodie (always freezing), my purse, and 18 other things that have ended up outside of my unzipped carry-on and in the bottom of one of the four bins I've taken up. STRESSFUL.

  • My student loan debt - Uncomfortable is kind of an understatement. Massively, intensely, hugely, anxious and upset is probably closer.

  • Gelatinous foods - Jelly, jam, most jello, cranberry sauce (the canned kind), etc. Gross.

  • Certain foods/textures - There are many things in this category, some of them being mayo, hard boiled eggs, egg salad (practically my nemesis), quiche... basically, anything really squishy. Blechhhh.
  • Orthopedics - I love medicine and I've seen a lot of things that might gross out most people. I can handle being in the OR and seeing people cut open and I've dissected a cadaver without issues. Endoscopic procedures, dental surgeries, eye surgeries, and gynecological exams do not weird me out. Everyone has their thing, though. What weirds me out? Broken bones. Dislocated bones. Orthopedics. Ever since I helped reduce a dislocated shoulder in the ER in college, I knew that ortho was not my specialty. Makes my blood run cold!

  • The dark - I don't like it, mainly because I can't see (duh). I also hate driving at night. Again, this is probably because I have some crazy control issues.

  • Uncertainty - This might be the umbrella under which many of my issues lie. I am so ridiculously Type-A that it hurts, and so not knowing the plan, or worse, not even having a plan makes me lose my mind.

    Right, so... that's a pretty big list, and it's not exhaustive! A lot of things make me uncomfortable, clearly. However, with some of the more abstract things, like uncertainty, I'm really trying to do this thing my therapist suggested, which is to "live within the uncomfortable". You can acknowledge that it's uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean that you can't remain where you are. It's a tall order, and I am usually not successful, but every day is a new chance to try.

    What makes all of you uncomfortable? Anything on my list? Stay tuned for Day 4 tomorrow, and possibly some non-challenge posts coming up! Click here for the link-up!

    - A

1 comment:

  1. omg we have the same exact ewwwwwwwww list re: foods.


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