Yep I use a wheelchair. Yep I have difficulty negotiating narrow aisle and choppy pavement. Yep I avoid gravel driveways and steep gradients. Yep. But even with this, there is nothing in my life that I face that is more debilitating than anxiety.
Anxiety is nothing more and nothing less than bone chilling fear. For me it is the anticipation of disaster. It infects my thoughts and my words. It destroys my focus. It changes how I breathe. It changes the colours of the world. It brings me low, the anticipation of disaster is, for me, even worse than disaster itself.
Yesterday, after teaching for a day, I had to go do something, attend a meeting, that caused me significant anxiety. For the weekend, I pushed thinking about it off, as if it was in the long ahead future. I went to bed on Sunday night knowing that it would happen the next day. I could feel nothing, anxiety eats all other emotion.
During teaching I was finding myself missing my place. I finally told the students that I had to deal with something causing me huge anxiety. They were human, they all knew what it was like, and therefore, they were kind. Once 'outed' my anxiety lost a bit of its power and I was able to muddle through to the end of the day.
It's the next day, I got through the meeting by a constant countdown in my mind, 'We'll be gone in an hour, in fifty minutes, in three quarters of an hour, in forty minutes. And then it was over. I'd survived. It was a bit of a drive home, but Joe who was stewing in fear too, had to drive and all I had to do was stare ahead. We didn't talk. We didn't play music. We didn't listen to traffic reports on the radio.
Finally when we were home.
The night before, when anxiety attacked, I imagined all but this. All but turning into the driveway, after another day, and going about our business. Anxiety had taken away the concept that life will go on. But it does.
Sometimes I think my wheelchair is smarter than me, when it sees a sidewalk curb, it looks for an entry point, a way in. It scours the length of the barrier looking for a curb cut, an entry point. Me, when my mind in jacked on anxiety it sees a curb and instead of moving along looking for a solution, it just gets closer and closer and closer until perspective is lost and the curb is huge.
Now that it's all over. Now that I've had a sleep uninterrupted by fear. I realize that my wheelchair gets me around, but man does anxiety really, really, reduce my mental mobility.