Underneath all my red hair, behind my freckled skin and hard skull is a brain that has not been very nice to me lately. Somehow, in spite of all the good I have in my life, my mind has decided to react as if the world is a terribly frightening place. Upon opening my eyes each morning, my brain sends a subconscious signal to my body that I am in very real, imminent danger. Before I've even had the opportunity to touch my feet to the floor, my imagination has played out a variety of worst case scenarios. My head spins, my stomach cramps and churns, and my heart pounds so violently that I can hear my pulse. I'm not even 10 minutes into my morning, and my mind has already waged a war with hypothetical threats, leaving my entire body anxiously vibrating.
Most of my anxieties stem from full-blown phobias. It doesn't help that I am phobic of many, many things. More things than I could possibly list. To quote one of my favorite memes, "Even my phobias have phobias." I've always struggled with silly irrational fears. When I was growing up I was deathly afraid of automatic flush toilets. Those obnoxious things became a part of my life when I was very little. I still remember my first experience with them when I was 4 or 5 years old. Up until this point in my life, toilets had always been predictable. I would do my business and then flush the toilet myself. I was in charge. This all changed when I used the restroom at an airport that had newly implemented sensor controlled toilets. My slight movement caused the toilet to flush without warning before I was finished. The intensity of the flush (causing toilet water to spray my behind), and the startling, deafening sound of the flush would have been enough to scare any unsuspecting child. But for me, an already anxiety prone person, this was an end to my piece of mind. Suddenly the world I grew up in had become an inconsistent and unpredictable place.
Thankfully, I have overcome my fear of automatic toilets. Although, I'm not going to lie- they do still bother me. Their overly responsive sensors cause the toilet to flush several times before I've even sat down, often spraying toilet water into the air in which I breathe. Not to mention the other people trying to do their business with their toilets flushing mid-stream, causing a vile, airborne cocktail of urine and feces But I digress. My point is that throughout the years, the triggers may have changed, but the common denominator of my life has always been fear.
And I am sick of it.
I am physically sick from it. This constant blend of adrenaline and cortisol sprinting through my body has caused legitimate health problems. This has to change or I am going to die. I want so badly to take a vacation from all of this- but I can't escape because I am my prison.
I want my life back. I want to stop feeling like a small percentage of who I used to be, and an even smaller percentage of who I am supposed to be. I want freedom.
I want to be free.