The Elevator

Ever since November, I have had nearly crippling anxiety.

It makes it difficult for me to go to any event that might be loud.  Even dinner parties frighten me.

I can’t drive.  I’ve driven more in the past two months than the three or so months before, but freeways are nearly impossible.  I used to drive LA traffic almost every day, and now I can’t stand almost-rural-middle-of-nowhere traffic.

Elevators have begun to bother me deeply, too.

At the library, I have to use the elevator every day.  The only way I can shelve the non-fiction books is to put them into the elevator and ride with them up to the second floor.  To make matters worse, this particular elevator has a history of problems.  Less than 5 months ago, on my birthday, a kid got stuck in the elevator between floors.  I can’t help but think about this every time I find myself in the elevator.

Every day, I fight the urge to stick the cart in the elevator, hit the “2” button, and run up the stairs to meet the books.  But I don’t.  I get in with the books, and I stare the opposing wall down as the elevator lurches and drags to the next floor.  I tell myself that every time I do this, I am facing my fears and my fears will eventually go away.  They don’t.

The interesting thing is that while my anxiety holds on with its death grip on me, my fear of babies is subsiding little by little.  I still avoid the children’s section if at all possible (it usually isn’t), and I still find my heart flip-flopping at the sight of a baby or the sound of a giggle or cry.  Pregnant women still make me feel a deep, painful emptiness in the pit of my stomach.  But I don’t cry as much when it happens.  I’ve emerged from my maternity leave bubble where no one had babies (because I was home most of the time and there were no babies there) to the world where everyone seems to have one.

I still have the pangs of sadness around children, and they tend to hit me off-guard more often than not.  But it’s getting better, and I’m getting better at avoiding the triggers when I can predict them.

I wish the anxiety would hurry up and go away.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Elevator

  1. I had the same type of social anxiety, and I live in a condo so I could hardly breathe on unavoidable elevator rides. It lasted for about three months and I wish I knew what got me through but I don’t. I know blogging helped and having supportive, understanding people. Just know it’ll go away and life will be back to normal!

    1. It happened very suddenly, and I can only blame it on the complex tragedies that happened in October/November. I thought it would be temporary, but it seems to have hung on just like my pregnancy pounds. Maybe I can lose them both someday.

      1. I’m sorry to hear that! If you know what triggered it and you know that there’s ‘normal’ beyond it all, I think you will lose it, along with the pregnancy pounds 🙂

      2. I have to get through a new normal… life without the child I was eagerly awaiting to add to my family. Nothing will go back to the way it was, and I hear the grief lasts a lifetime, but eventually this will be it: this will be life as it is from here on out.

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