anxiety


It’s what everyone does after a while, but I enjoy writing on this site.

When I opened up my page, I was really startled to see that I hadn’t written in more than a month. Wow. Anyway, I had never flown on an airplane until I was 27, which was about two months ago (I’m now 28. Scorpios rule). I had bee really pensive about flying, but my twin sister’s wedding made me face my fears. I actually quite enjoyed it.

Here’s a posting about the experience that I really enjoyed. I must admit, phobia fighting tactics aside aside, I got through the things with the help of Klonopin!  It’s really a beautiful experience though. I look forward to doing it again in September when I go back to Seattle.

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Really now, I’m too tired to get into the whole history of my cross, a neurological glitch called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It’s been about 15 years or so since the symptoms began; extreme doubt, fixation, panic, worry and fatigue.

What came upon me was mysterious. I was 12-years-old, and a storm of hormones and stress; oily skin, tiredness and an intense interest in sex. I began to count things, say little slogans in my head and walk in strange pattern around the house. Why? To avoid something bad happening, whatever it might be.

I’ll write more about it when I can put my thoughts together. I think that it would be somewhat cathartic to be able to recall my history with a menal illness, however mild it may be, for certainly is it nothing as pernicious as the myriad thought and mood disorders that many people have.

The photograph above is of my brain. It was taken in September 2006 by the staff of Columbia-Presbyterian’s neurology department for a study on genetics and anxiety disorders (I also have panic attacks and a very specific phobia which I’d really rather not get into right now).

Anyway, in addition to writing more about my running, I plan on doing so a little bit more for my anxiety. I hope you like the photo of my brain. I kinda do, although it causes me some problems.

I used to love to run, but in recent years–as my waistline has grown–I have ceased to enjoy the feelings it gives me. I’m not sure why, either. I like to be alone with my thoughts, particularly when they are not the chaotic ones that are brought on my life’s stresses and a weird neurological disorder that I have which causes repetitive thoughts to cycle through my mind over and over again.

When I lived in Brooklyn I used to love running from my apartment on Bay Ridge Avenue down to the waterfront, where I would make a left towards the grand Verrazano Narrows Bridge which connects Staten Island to New York’s most cozy borough (I really miss that place). I loved the smell of the ocean water and the site of boats whipping by or giant tankers lumbering in and out of the harbor. Cars raced by at high speeds, but I, running maybe 6 mph, felt even more powerful during the four-mile run. It helped to calm my frustrations, my anxieties and put me at peace. One morning in mid-July 2004, awakened for several hours by panic attacks, I put on my beat up sneakers and headed for the massive gray bridge. Eastward dawn sunlight illuminated the water as I ran, and when I returned to my apartment, sweating and breathless, I was calm and dozed off for several hours in peace.

Now, running is harder. Despite purchasing an MP3 player (which I’ll discuss in another posting), running is hard still. I feel tired easily and I don’t get the same satisfaction I used to get from pounding the pavement. It’s depressing. I’m trying to think about it and figure out why that is. Have I become so serene I can’t run or is there a restlessness inside of me.

I used to be spotted during college breaks running down Kenwood Avenue in my hometown of Delmar, New York. I was a running fool. Six miles, four days a week, sometimes in 96 degree weather. I loved the feeling, sweat-soaked, drained of worry and fear, relaxed. Even running 100 miles on a treadmill during the fall term of 2000, I couldn’t capture that exhiliration.

I’m noticing things are changing, but I feel a confident insight into why and a feeling I can regain my elan again. I hope so. I’m putting on my sneakers in an hour–as soon as the rush hour traffic dies down–to run for an hour or so. My body deserves it, but my soul craves it even more.

I watched some jets take off and land at the airport in Albany. It was pretty nice, actually seeing the jets taxi down the runway, the engines picking up steam. Then they would turn on even harder and the pilots would shoot the jet fast, heading this time in the other direction. The planes would go out of my view and then suddenly, the nose of the aircraft would be visible to me, peeking above some treetops. The planes thrusted into the the sky and I watched each disappear to the clouds. It was quite beautiful, despite being grey and overcast. A few jets landed too. I’d never seen a plane land with my own eyes. It was scary, actually. The first one, a Delta plane, seemed to come in really hard, and the wings tilted a bit from side to side. It was quite beautiful, though, as with a loud screech their landing gears hit the ground and the planes shot quickly out of site. My heart pounded more watching them land than watching them take off. It was a little scary.

Some people may call me a coward, but I call myself a human being. I’m not thrilled at the prospect of flying down the road. I’ve always wondered if that is how I will meet my maker. The thought of meeting my maker is a little scary to me, actually.  I’m not sure where it comes from, this paralyzing fear of things. So weird because I’ve never been afraid of viruses, germs or even being punched for that matter. Airplanes however have always kept me up at night.

I have this dream sometimes that I’m waiting at the boarding area with a pass in my hand. I can’t seem to grab the courage to pass through the metal detectors, though. I don’t refuse to go. The dream just stops right there, though. On occassion, however, I say screw it, and I walk through the metal detectors and on to the plane, which takes off and lands. I feel so free, so great then. I don’t know if there is any meaning to this. Every time I try to address my fear of flying, I seem to conquer one aspect only to have another arise.

I guess we all die some day so I shouldn’t be too weirded out by the possibility of perishing in what is really the most infrequent of transportation accidents. Perhaps there is room for some spiritual growth here. One thing’s for sure: I have to face down this fear sometime.