Everyone has their own way of dealing with these topics. It varies from person to person. And honestly, some of us really suck at handling such things. I say this because I sometimes do the opposite of what I should do. Maybe this just makes us human. So how do I really cope with these things? Honestly, it varies.
When I was younger, I never really realized it was anxiety I felt in social situations. Making phone calls, too, especially. I realized as I got older that this was a legit thing. I would start dialing the numbers and then get so sick to my stomach thinking of what I should say on the phone – how do I handle this? When I hit adulthood and had to make my own business calls, it was even worse. Because now, I absolutely had to deal with the phone.
I can’t even begin to start with how often I would dial the numbers, and then hang up. And this wasn’t just towards important phone calls, this would be calling anyone. I’d panic. Inside of me there was this mini freak out over having to make a simple phone call.
The sad thing is, I still hate making phone calls, but I can handle it if it’s something I have to do. A few weeks ago they found someone’s ID over at the bar, and they told me to call them because they had already left their info over the phone in case it showed up. I just kept saying how I really didn’t want to make the phone call, like what do I say? It’s so dumb how I freak out over it. I had someone else make the phone call when they offered.
I also have anxiety about going to places I’ve never been before, or to even show up at a bar by myself. It’s one thing if I’m with someone, completely different by myself. I never know what to do. I’ve gotten better by forcing myself to do it, but it doesn’t mean I don’t freak out internally.
And honestly, when it comes to anxiety, that’s how I handle it. I confront the situation, I force myself to deal with the problem. Because it’s the only thing that helps it. Sometimes you get stuck in a situation where you have to make a decision right then and there, and you don’t have a choice but to deal with it. This doesn’t mean I’m a pro at it by any means, there are a lot of times I avoid dealing with it completely until it’s no longer relevant. It’s really not a way I would recommend.
I wish I could say I had a magic solution that would make all of your stress disappear, but there is no such thing. There are so many times I’ll get so stressed I start getting so frustrated and overwhelmed. I know I’m not alone in this.
So what do I do when I’m so stressed I’m near breaking point?
I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and try to let that building pressure dissipate. The best thing for me to do at that point is to find a distraction, go for some fresh air, and just do something. Honestly, that point is probably the best time to work out, if I actually exercised. Instead, I’ll usually throw on some music, or watch something. Go for a walk – something!
At this point I may even start drinking a few beers because drinking numbs my senses if I drink enough. The worries start to melt away. And I don’t want it to sound like I depend on it to help me cope, but it does help.
The best way, though, is to get away from the source. If I’m at home and stressing about things with home related issues, being at home is the last place I want to be. Same with work.
There have been a few times in my life where I’ve truly felt afraid. They’ve been personal issues, things that escalated between my mother and her husband. Learning that my mother was high off cocaine and trying to kill herself. Seeing my drunken mother blow up in my face and threatening me, telling me how nothing matters and so much I can barely remember, but I remember the feeling. Those nights I truly felt numb to the world.
After we adopted our current dog, there was an issue where we had him upstairs and he actually turned around and snapped at me, and he bit me. It was slight, but he got me right under my eye and near my mouth. The scariest fact was he was so close to my eye, I could’ve gone blind.
The thing with me, is I have a delayed reaction to things. So when this happened, I sort of stood up and managed to get him to go downstairs to the basement. Here’s the thing, one of the reasons we still have him: if he wanted to hurt me, he could have. He wouldn’t have stopped after snapping at me. He’s an Alaskan Malamute mix, and he looks like a wolf. He’s a big ass dog. Trust me, he could’ve mauled me.
We actually did take him back to the shelter, but they talked about euthanizing him over it, so we brought him back home. He didn’t deserve to die over an accident. It was really hot that day, he didn’t get a walk in, and we had company over – we had only had him for a month, he was adjusting to us on top of strangers.
Aside from all of that though, it gave me this fear of him for awhile. I couldn’t get myself near his face – I still can’t bring my face anywhere near his. It took me weeks to feel okay with petting him, letting him on his leash, just being around him. Because he fucking scared me. But I knew he didn’t mean it. However, convincing your body and mind to be on the same track is a completely different story.
For that sort of thing, the thing that helped me cope with that is time, and forcing myself to slowly build that trust back up with this animal. We’ve had him for five years now, and that was the only time he actually hurt me. He’s snapped at me a couple of times since then, which automatically brings out this inner fear, but I can honestly say it’s been well over a year or so since the last time he did anything like that. And I’m still careful with certain things I do near him. Unfortunately, I will never be able to fully trust this dog, even though I love him.
And as for the other things that have truly scared me? I’ve gotta admit I’ve never been good at handling those things. I sort of go numb, I freeze. It takes me time to adjust to what actually happened. And my mind, it just goes to the most realistic thing it can. And eventually, I know time will make it go away, disappear. It’s not much help when it comes to coping, I know.
How do you handle these things? Are you like me at all? Or do you have a completely different way of coping?
November Writing Challenge #5