More than any of the other stuff I’ve been in pitched battle with, anxiety is the most disorienting. If insomnia gets the prize for persistence, depression gets the prize for limitless takedowns and emotional shattering, anxiety gets the prize for the most heart-stopping and embarrassing.
I didn’t know I was scared of what I would now term “unprotected heights” until I walked out on a railroad bridge 250 ft. above a gorge with amazing waterfalls directly beneath. This bridge was (is) literally railroad ties with rails. Rails and ties. Huge logs. I could have and still could stick my leg between the ties (the logs). No railings. Nothing to hold onto. Huge logs. Huge gaps between them. So, I walked out about 10 yards, then became aware of the situation. I must’ve blanched as my stomach sank to my shoes because my sister’s then boyfriend (now my bro-in-law) kindly and supportively put his arm around me and said “let’s walk back now” so I didn’t pass out or pitch headlong off the damn bridge. Seriously.
First memorable panic/anxiety attack. I didn’t give it much a thought other than to be grateful to be off the damn bridge, but time has only made this worse, as far as the anxiety goes.
Like when I was an intern for some really awesome guys a couple of years ago. I needed to be on a roof at 3 am for product testing. Ooopsie, luckily, the construction manager way understood and let me and another scaredy cat climb the internal ladder (vertical, but way less bouncy) and assured me he got the sweats when he had to ladder up (everyday) and my then boss was all “I’m sorry” but I chose to do it. It wasn’t his fault. BUT. HOLY SHIT. Terrifying.
As was the anxiety attack that lasted for 3 ½ months, at my last job. Shitballs.