I recently discussed on my blog how I’ve developed crippling anxiety attacks at nighttime. Crippling is a strong word. More like curling up in a ball and whimpering myself into exhaustion. I’ve become absolutely convinced every night someone is trying to break into the house. Every single night. Like people have nothing better to do than hang outside my house and contemplate stealing the useless stuff I have to offer them every single day.
I know that these fears are irrational, though they are somewhat founded in recent violent goings-on in my neighborhood. Last week, two separate muggings occurred at popular east side bars, one where a young lady was brutally punched in the head. My boyfriend also lives in close proximity to the one intersection in all of Austin that houses every crackhead, prostitute, and pimp. Needless to say I envision a Thriller-like ragtag group parading in on the house as soon as the clock strikes 3AM.
On the surface my anxiety stems directly from these feelings. The feelings of being scared, vulnerable, unprotected. That everyone in the world is planning to kill me (“It’s not all about you”, my mother would say). That I and everyone I love will be violently murdered and I am helpless to stop it. I never felt this way before. Even when I lived in crime-riddled neighborhoods in Los Angeles I never felt such uneasiness. Seeing dead bodies, having police helicopters shining lights into my window, and being nearly shot by a disgruntled driver barely phased me. So why in the heck have I been so nervous lately?
Southerns will tell you it’s because I’m a Yankee and I’m a Jew, but I realized that something deeper than my failed attempts at being Woody Allen have to be at work. Something recent brought on these anxieties. After some heavy conversations with myself, I realized that some of my anxiety could be directly related to the new relationship in my life.
In my adult life, I’ve never really been in love. I’ve never had a person who stood up and say, “You! I chose you!” Someone who stops in mid-conversation to tell me how lucky he feels that I’m in his life. Someone who is confident in who he is and what he wants. Until now. Being in your 20’s you get used to dating people who are confused, indifferent, or downright selfish. People who jump ship or make you feel bad about yourself. You may date them in part because you are also confused, indifferent or selfish. I’ve come a long way from the girl I was seven years ago. A girl who had difficulty transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Who constantly had her heart broken because she propelled illusions. That girl grew up and threw her insecurities to the wind, but as I’m discovering maybe they never fully go away. Maybe they just subconsciously manifest into other fears- like ax-wielding hobos trying to chop off my toes.
This new found awareness made me wonder if the idea of not feeling comfortable when everything is going well is more common than not. Right now my life is perfect. I have zero complaints. I live in a wonderful city, I have a decent job, my creative endeavors are growing, my friends and family are healthy and not-crazy, and I chanced upon a wonderful gentleman. But for some dumb-ass reason I’m the most anxious I’ve ever been. Somewhere deep in my mind I feel that the other shoe is about to drop. That this is only the calm before the storm. None of these anxieties are preventing me from enjoying my life. Neither am I trying to self-sabotage the good fortunes I’ve acquired. I simply can not sleep. A feeling of panic swims through me in the wee hours with growing fervor. Is this a common development in twenty-somethings when they make the transition from fumbling novice to adult? Or am I not even an adult yet, but have just learned to compartmentalize my uneasiness? Or maybe that’s what being an adult is? Learning to stuff your worries deep down until you wake up one day 40 pounds heavier because you’ve become dependent on 8AM martinis to help you get through the day.
Do you get anxious when things are going well for you?