I spent a good part of my day today in a doctor’s crowded waiting room. Right beside me, there was a mother with her son, who looked like he was about 3 or 4. There were two stanchions in the office, and probably out of boredom, the kid started knocking them together. He created a clanging sound–and then he wouldn’t stop. The clangs weren’t loud, except in my head. There, they might as well have been clashing cymbals.
I couldn’t get the sounds out of my head, and before I knew it, my heart was beating faster and it was getting harder to breathe. Hello, anxiety attack! I moved to another seat, far away from this kid. I thought that would stop the attack, but it didn’t. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the kid was still playing with his new “toys.” Just the sight of that kept the attack going. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. That helped, but the anxiety was still there, taking up a lot of space in my head. When I finally got called in to the doctor’s office and the nurse asked me my birth date, I couldn’t remember it. I had to look through my IDs to be reminded.
The anxiety has passed now. It always does, but it can never pass soon enough. Though I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, my chief doctor believes that at least some of my anxiety comes from my depression. I take both depression meds and anxiety meds, but they obviously don’t stop the attacks altogether.
I’m trying to make peace with the idea that this may be the new normal for me. But it isn’t easy. Really, the kid wasn’t making that much of a disruption. His mother, for better or worse, ignored the whole thing. But the more I try and think about why that little thing affected me, the more worked up I get.
At least I didn’t cause a scene. Even when I couldn’t remember my birthday, the nurse arched her eyebrows, but that was about it. Nurses see everything, and I’m sure she’s seen and heard a lot worse.
So, I’m writing about it here and I’m letting it go. At least my anxiety didn’t stop me from doing what I needed to do today.
It gave me a fight. But it didn’t win.