So. It’s happening. I’m sitting in the middle of Starbucks, enjoying a nice Peach Green Tea (unlimited refills? Yas plz!) and it hits. I’m not safe. A sudden over-awareness of my surroundings. My heart is racing. Unsafe. I’m not safe here. There’s no threat, but WHAT. IF.
What if somebody decides to bust in all whacked out on some drug and shoot me? What if one of the workers goes completely livid with their boss and decides to attack everyone? Is that guy sitting in front of me planning on following me if I leave?
I know these are senseless fears. I am safe. I’m in a public place.
FUCK. I’M SURROUNDED BY COMPLETE STRANGERS.
It’s times like these that, during my racing heart, my brain buzzing with adrenaline, my muscles tending with “Get out get out get out” I have to remind myself: I’m safe. It’s ok.
Sometimes, it’s not enough though. So, I ground myself.
To quote my Tweet:
5 things I can see: coffee, cups, faux wood grain floor, painting, metal magazine racks. 4 things I can feel: my jeans, my shirt, wood on the chair and the cool air. 3 things I can hear: radio music, people murmuring, coffee being made. 2 things I can smell: coffee and mango. 1 thing I can taste: My peach/mango green tea.
What prompted this? Fucked if I know. All I know is by grounding myself in the moment, it helps.
I deal with panic attacks on a daily basis when I’m outside of my comfort zone. The thing is, looking at me? You’d never know it. I outwardly appear calm. I likely have resting bitch face. But inside?
Inside I’m waging a war with my own senses. Back to a wall. Know all exits. Memorize everyone around you just in case. I’m composed.
I’m also terrified.
A lady came near me to read something on the wall. My ears honed in on her voice despite having on my noise canceling audio editing headphones on (thank GOD my bf gave them to me on his lunch or this would be much worse!) and I quipped up “coffee grounds are great for gardens because they add nitro back to the soil.”
“Oh! Thank you!”
“Eggshells work well too.” Another voice replies to her.
This is my point though.
I can’t relax. I can’t be zen outside of my comfort zone.
It’s okay. Because now my heart has calmed down. My mind has an exit plan. And, most importantly, even though I’m very aware of my surroundings, nothing bad has happened.
I hope this helps someone out there who has anxiety like me.
You’re going to be okay.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
You got this.