Tag Archives: anxiety

Worry


How many times have I been through this? I book my flight, I pack my bags, I clean my house, I tie up loose ends, I pop a diazapam and I hop on a plane heading somewhere. No big deal, right?

Wrong.

The more I fly the more I seem addled with worry and anxiety. It’s like I’m a victim of the law of averages; the more I fly, the more I’ve increased the probability that I will, in fact, die by means of death by plane crash. And I can’t seem to get over this faulty thinking. Nor can I even play it cool in front of others when it comes to exposing my emotions. What is it about me that simply cannot enjoy travel, movement, adventure without it having some element of doom?

Oh, right, of course. Remnants of a childhood of chaos and instability.

But, come on.  I need to get over this. I need to just be done with my fear of death once and for all. So what if the plane crashes. So what if we all die. It was bound to happen anyway, right? I’m more apt to die in a car crash, right? Not as far as my brain is concerned.

A little over a year ago, when I was single and feeling abruptly alive I took a flight to Nassau to spend the day with my brother so as to do some work on our house. And while there was anxiety building up to the trip, there was an eerie sense of calm once I hopped on the plane alone- no hand to hold. I was fearless. Remember that one? If not, it’s here. And re-reading it almost leads me to believe that it’s D’s fault. When there’s no one in my life, I’m FINE. I don’t fear flying. But when I am dating, I am overblown with gut-wrenching fear.

OK….I don’t really believe it’s D’s fault. It’s my own. And just as some people have to get over their fear of waking up every morning, or applying for a job, or being a good mother, I have to get over my fear of flying.

But you see, it’s this script that plays and has played for many years, and it reads like this:

Beautiful, upper-middle class woman with two children, had it all, finally got her life together, the envy of friends and acquaintances (OK, I’m flattering myself) suddenly, by some stroke of predestined irony, a la every depressing French film you’ve ever seen, died today during a routine flight with her boyfriend and their kids to a cutesy little condo in Naples, Florida. What was meant to be a fun little family vacation, turned into a nightmare. Services will be held at blah, blah, blah to mourn her death and celebrate her life– cut so tragically short.

This is the script I must abandon. Otherwise, I forfeit my happiness and the happiness of others.

So…is there a moral to this story? Will she end it on a good note? How about this– The nurse practitioner just called and approved two diazapams for me. Two. So I firmly responded by saying, “That’ll get me to the airport. I actually need to get on the plane.”

XO

From the over-stimulated mind of a coffee drinker

I recently realized I am nothing without coffee. That’s a hard pill to swallow being that I am so anti-drug and into real, real, real. Handle the pain of life without any life-lines or methods of escapism. Of course, I judge myself lightly. I make great excuses for my habit. Coffee doesn’t kill brain cells (or does it?). Coffee doesn’t cause miscarriage and birth-defects (well…miscarriages yes). Coffee doesn’t change my brain or my way of thinking (hmmm…when I don’t have it I can’t hold a conversation longer than 3 minutes and quite frankly, I have no motivation to do anything without it. Not to mention that one double-espresso at the right time of day can turn me into a Super Hero.) 

But, despite not causing hallucinations or leading me to believe I can fly or that the walls are moving, coffeeis a drug. A powerful one. Possibly a dangerous one.

“Within five minutes after you drink your morning coffee, the caffeine begins to stimulate your central nervous system, triggering the release of stress hormones in your body, causing a stress (“fight or flight” ) response. The stress hormones are useful if you need to prepare yourself to fight or flee a dangerous situation, but if you are simply sitting at your desk you may feel a short charge of alertness, quickly followed by feelings of agitation. Within the next hour or so, after the stress response dissipates, you will probably feel more tired and hungry. At these low-energy times, many people reach for another cup of coffee, or eat a snack that is often high in sugar to “pep up” and stay alert. However, both caffeine and sugar only give you temporary feelings of increased energy, which quickly dissipate. For some people, this cycle of low energy followed by an infusion of caffeine or food continues the entire day — leaving them feeling exhausted and unable to focus by 3:00 p.m. because they are drained from the ups and downs in energy their body endured throughout the day.” 
Active Wellness By Gayle Reichler MS RD CDN, page 12

According to Stephen Cherniske MS in his book Caffeine Blues, “‘Caffeinism’ is a state of chronic toxicity resulting from excess caffeine consumption. Caffeinism usually combines physical addiction with a wide range of debilitating effects, most notably anxiety, irritability, mood swings, sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue.” Of course, this leads to the paradox of thinking you are increasing your energy when in actuality you are depleting your natural energy stores. 

Coffee has been associated with, among the above listed issues, miscarriage, psychological affects such as hyperesthesia, ulcers, gastric problems, hyperactivity, heart palpitations and adrenal exhaustion. (http://www.garynull.com/documents/CaffeineEffects.htm).

So, that being said, you might want to re-think that morning cup of joe and switch to decaf. I know I’ve been brewing the idea for quite some time. And if it weren’t for my pesky addictive behavior,  I just might be able to brave the world without that hit of escapism.