It’s a harsh reality.
And I’m reminded of it often, even though my anxiety is tremendously more manageable and tame than it used to me. Right now it feels like a crotchety old house cat that gets agitated from time to time but usually is settled by a few scrtiches and pats … when it used to be tiger roaring, teeth gnashing at its cage… constantly pacing. Unable to be placated.
So today when I left for the gym to swim laps I had the same familiar thoughts:
I just want to swim laps, what if I have to wait for a lap lane and just sit there like an idiot?
Why can’t we just continue to reserve lanes via the app like we did in the beginning of COVID?
This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but I assure you, swimming laps helps me regulate and it can actually feel like a life and death situation if I don’t have access to it, though it usually doesn’t get to that level anymore. And there have been times where I’ve walked into the pool, towel in hand, had to wait for a lane, and just left.
Not left to do another work out, just left the gym entirely because either I didn’t want to ask someone to share a lane or sitting and waiting felt impossible. No, I don’t feel like I’m better than others in those moments or deserve special treatment, I feel scared and frustrated.
When you have anxiety, you’re very aware of the limited amount of energy you have. For me, it used to become apparent in social interactions with strangers, which could feel agonizing.
I guess you could say reserving lap lanes would just be “enabling” the person and not pushing them to do “normal” things, but my counter to that is at sometimes people are at their limit and are TRYING to take care of themselves, but their brains may just work differently due to trauma or other factors.
So if you find yourself exasperated with a task or situation that appears to be something “normal” people are okay with, have some compassion for yourself. A traumatized/anxious and activated brain does not work in the same ways that others do. And that’s okay, but much of the world is not set up with our nervous systems in mind.