Friday, September 23, 2011

Impending doom.

Okay, so maybe it's not that bad. But it feels like it.
I have such a silly phobia. Who could possibly dread something as innocent and common place as a car ride to a town less than an hour away? ...I do.
My neighbor, Kevin, asked me why car rides are so hard on me. I couldn't answer him.

Ever since I was a little kid, I HATED them. As I grew older, a general distaste for road trips grew into a full-blown anxiety disorder that required multiple prescriptions just to get me to school in the morning. (I lived 8 miles from my school, btw. Not far at all.) At least I'm not as bad off as I was then. I could hardly get to the grocery store some days. (Less than 2 miles.) And somehow, I DID make it all the way to Nashville without getting kicked off the Greyhound bus. (Though I DID have to lock myself in the bathroom a few times so I couldn't see out of the windows.)

Honestly, it's impossible to understand unless you've been there yourself. I'll be sitting in the passenger seat (I don't know if I will ever be able to drive. Hopefully someday, but I'm sure I'll always hate it.), talking, reading, listening to music, etc., and then something snaps in my brain. Suddenly, sounds are louder (unbearably loud, if it's music), lights are brighter, and I feel like I've been shot out of a cannon, rather than moving along the highway at a normal pace. If I don't have an opportunity to get out of the car at that moment, then the true panic sets in.

Imagine you start shivering and sweating at the same time. You're nauseous and dizzy, and you feel like someone is squeezing your midsection so tightly that a deep breath is impossible. All the color drains from your face, you want to scream, explode, die, ANYTHING but sit in that car...and everyone around you is frantic. "ARE YOU OKAY?" No. Not okay. Rolling down the windows doesn't help, turning on AC doesn't help (sudden change in noise = more stress, better to just keep things how they are), and speeding faster certainly doesn't help. The only thing that can stop it is time.

This is why I don't like riding in cars with strangers. Even if I warn them beforehand, they never care to distract me when it actually happens. My mom was great at that. She'd ask me questions and keep me talking before the anxiety even started. Kristi and Karen were also wonderful drivers, because they've dealt with attacks themselves. I'm praying with all my heart to the gods of sanity that I can get a ride with a patient friend who will keep me talking, and therefore feeling a bit more sane, so I can enjoy the trip, and not end up disappointing the random stranger who paid for me to go in the first place. Wish me luck.

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