This summer has been an interesting one. My husband started grad school, my band had its very first gig and, somewhere along the way, I picked up a mental illness.
Well, OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because I haven't completely fallen off my rocker. However, I have become somewhat claustrophobic for the first time in my life.
It started in June, at a car wash. My kid likes the gas station car washes -- where you get to stay in the car for the sudsy process -- and normally I don’t think twice about the experience. This time, however, as soon as the big garage door closed, I started to feel edgy, and after about 30 seconds, I actually thought to myself, "I have to get out of here."
Obviously, that was completely unrealistic because I was enclosed in the stall and couldn’t drive out. Plus, the thought of jumping out of the car, only to freak out my kids, was enough to jump start a New Age inner-dialogue between Sane Me and Crazy Me.
"Deep breath. You’re fine. It’s all good," I said to myself. The cleansing breaths helped but, really, I felt a lot better once I got out my iPhone and started checking my e-mail. Some might say my e-mail addiction is a more serious sickness than my claustrophobia, but sometimes technology saves, kids.
Later in the summer, I experienced more claustro-moments: once on an elevator and one more time in an East Coast freeway tunnel. It’s not like I need to put my head between my knees or breathe into a bag or anything drastic like that, but I wonder if this thing is going to get worse. Don’t older people get quirkier and quirkier with time? Is claustrophia going to be my Old Lady Affliction? Am I going to need to live outdoors at some point because the very sight of an interior wall makes me growl like a rabid dog?
At this point, I am determined to shake this weirdness. I am trying to figure out the source of this annoying manifestation of anxiety because I enjoy a lot of small spaces, like…Read more...