Sometimes, I feel guilt about how my anxiety makes other people feel. Anxiety affects me in ways that I cannot control – from shaking like a chihuahua on a cold day to losing my ability to speak. I know it’s not my fault that I have this anxiety. I know that I can’t help how it affects me, let alone someone else. I accept that other people will have feelings they can’t control either. I don’t blame anyone – including myself – but I can’t help but feel guilt sometimes.
Over the weekend, I hurt my big toe and while limping to the car I looked down and saw more blood than I expected. It caught me off guard and I was hyperventilating in the car. I thought I was going to pass out, but I managed to get myself back under control with the support of my boyfriends hand in mine.
When we got back to my place, I noticed there was more blood than I even expected the first time I looked down. My sandal was stained with a little puddle. It wasn’t a huge amount of blood, just certainly a lot more than I expected. I guess my nail separated from the nail bed and it hurt like a bitch. Being the wonderful man he is, my boyfriend took it upon himself to clean up my wound and wrap it. However the experience was a little traumatic. I admit it, I’m a baby when it comes to being sick or hurt and this was no exception.
I have issues with the smell of rubbing alcohol. It’s something I’ve worked on and have gotten a lot better about. However, with my anxiety already being elevated, the smell was an issue this time. My toe also hurt during this process which didn’t make it any easier. At a certain level of anxiety, I feel sick to my stomach… so sick that I just can’t speak. I think I was nearly crying due to the intensity of the anxiety and nausea.
On top of all that, there were witnesses. My newest best friend of the girl variety and my new boyfriend were there to see my panic attack in all it’s whiny baby glory. This just adds a whole new level of stress to the situation. I was embarrassed but I couldn’t control the overwhelming feeling of nausea and dread and I hid my face behind my hands for what felt like an eternity.
When I lost the will to speak for quite some time, I knew that he must have thought that I felt like he was inflicting this trauma on me because he was forcing me to let him tend to my injury when I repeatedly pulled my foot away. Truth be told, I was grateful there was someone there to do what I couldn’t bring myself to do. Despite this panic attack, I was fully aware of how my reactions might make them feel. I knew they were feeling pity, guilt, and didn’t want me to be traumatized. I didn’t want them to feel that way either, but I recognized that it was compassion and I appreciated it none the less.
I tried to express my gratitude in other ways. I hugged him and kissed him and smiled. I encouraged moving on from the panic with watching a funny movie. I managed to laugh and thoroughly enjoy the movie… even though something was still “off” with me. I kept a close proximity to him to show him I wasn’t upset with him. They had an orange popsicle waiting in front of me when I uncovered my face… my favorite. That was special for me and he knew it was ❤
If only I could have shaken it and dived back into my usual perky self, I know the mood would have gone back to that happy energy that I usually am. Instead, the guilt weighed me down. I had hoped they would laugh and talk around me, which would have taken pressure off me, but that didn’t happen. I struggled with trying to shake it all, juggling my nauseated dread, my guilty weight, and the weight of my loved ones emotional being. Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself, but this is the weight of anxiety.
However, the important thing is that my loved ones did what was best for me when I needed an injury tended to. They were there with me throughout the ride with smiles, kisses, and hugs. They were understanding when I was finally able to express what had been lost in panic. My gratitude and appreciate for them being there.
Something I learned a long time ago, is that I have to accept for every tick that I can’t control and every emotional consequence, it isn’t just mine to feel. Those around me will feel empathy and can’t always control their own insecurities. I have to ride out the weight and then remind my loved ones that they are loved and appreciated.