The First and Biggest Obstacle I Face Every Day as Someone With Anxiety


Getting out the front door can be one of the hardest things I do all day, and some days I don’t even manage.

I am scared of leaving the house. It’s my safe, though slightly lonely and boring, place. But don’t underestimate the power of the safe place. The further I am from the house the more unsafe I feel, and the more anxiety I have.

I am OK with going with my husband in the car. The car acts as a mini safe house, and usually we take familiar routes or I’m in charge of the map, and I know exactly where we are, which makes me calmer. But long trips are hard.

Its easier going outside with company I trust. Then I can also manage to go further because they distract/calm me enough for me to not spend all my energy thinking about bad stuff that could happen, (fainting in a bush and not being discovered) or being in a heightened state of awareness (how long till I can get home, how much time) all the time.

But going outside myself, it’s a struggle. That door, that hallway, it’s a bottleneck for all my anxiety. What I won’t do to postpone passing through it.

I must have a drink, pee, lip balm, do I have my phone, is it charged, are the bunnies secure, I have the wrong socks, do I need a hat, what temperature is it, which route should I take, forest or road, how long, what If I meet someone, are the neighbors home to see me…

Sometimes this takes so long that it starts raining, I get hungry, decide to make dinner instead or just plain give up.

When I am finally outside I usually feel much better, and when I get walking, in nice weather with my headphones playing positive upbeat music, I sometimes even forget to be anxious. From time to time.

If I walk the same familiar route, when I know exactly how long it is, and how long it should take, I like walking.

When I get to walk totally alone, where no one can see me, I like walking.

When I feel my muscles working and feel strong, I like walking.

When I get to feel I’m one with the landscape around me, I like walking.

But the anxiety comes back when I start to feel tired, or start to think of exactly how far I have to go to get back home, how much time, how many steps.

When I walk in the forest, the anxiety lightens. I have to concentrate more not to stumble on something, there are animals to see, plants and trees, and I usually walk by my very favorite lake.

Taking a break on the little run down pier and feeling the water, putting my feet in when it’s not too cold, that helps. Its like the forest has a calm, serene aura that puts a dampener on feelings, especially negative ones. And the lake gives me positive energy, enough to get home. This works best alone.

But that door…

Follow this journey on Friday Frida.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Creatas

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Anxiety

A man on a diving board

What I Want to Tell People Who Aren't 'Brave Enough' to Face Their Anxiety

People with anxiety are often told to be brave. And strong. They hear slogans like, “Feel the fear and do it anyway,” or “Success lies outside your comfort zone.” I disagree. Decades ago, I recovered from severe agoraphobia — the fear of being away from the safety of my home. I later went on to have a [...]
Snowstorm and women

My Anxiety Is a Snowstorm: A Metaphor

My anxiety is a snowstorm. Like snowflakes, my thoughts are all unique. Snow will stick together and start to take shape. Likewise one bad scenario can attract more negative thoughts. Just a small ball of tension in my mind sets the mood. Next, overthinking steps to get the storm brewing. if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_RPSfNTAO_zURkbSIg_div').setup( {"playlist":"https:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/RPSfNTAO.json","ph":2} ); The snowfall that represents my [...]
Beautiful woman silhouette with a flowers

The Hardest Part of My Anxiety Is That It Doesn't Make Any Sense

This piece was written by Holly Riordan, a Thought Catalog contributor. My anxiety doesn’t always make sense. Sure, the idea of giving a presentation in front of a crowd or making a phone call that could impact my career sends my fingers shaking. But those aren’t the only things that set off my anxiety. Little things do it, too. Things [...]
sad woman sitting at wooden table

When 'What If' Thoughts Take Over Every Part of Your Day

Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741. I am standing in the supermarket, agonizing over what I’ll have for dinner. I know in my heart that, for the third time today, I’ll choose one [...]