Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Bracing myself.

So, I have an anxiety disorder. It’s maddening, and today was a particularly maddening day.

I have to go about this delicately.

While I realize it’s irrational, I have a tendency to give power to locations where I’ve experienced tremendous stress. So, it only makes sense that the more determined I am to avoid a particular location, the nastier the feeling when I wind up having to revisit that spot.

I avoided a town outside Denver for over a year. I literally wouldn’t drive my car into the suburb. Who does that? Me. I do.

Do you remember those old episodes of Maury, where they’d bring folks onto the show who had phobias that appeared ridiculous? I don’t know if I’ve made this up in my head or not, but I seem to recall a woman who was absolutely petrified of lettuce.

It sounds like a joke, right?

Until you have one of those completely irrational fears. Then you just feel sorry for that person. Your heart breaks for them. You can feel how helpless they feel. And you know that it has to be mortifying (which makes one wonder why they’d go on Maury, but that’s besides the point)…

In short, it sucks.

I visited one of those irrationally scary places today. I was uncomfortable and I tried to hide it by dressing up and assuming an air of confidence. I drove there feeling anxious and foolish, I sat there in the building feeling much more anxious than foolish, and then drove away from there, feeling gross, like I needed a shower.

But I made it. Who says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”? Somebody says it. Ah. BEHOLD THE POWER OF GOOGLE. It’s a book from 1987, written by Susan Jeffers. Well, I did it.

It feels something like this.

Someday, I hope to be at peace with all this. I’m consigned to these feelings, I suppose. Expecting them to go away is unrealistic. Mental health is like that, though. It doesn’t make sense. It’s just a thing. That thing, though, needs a lot more attention.

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