It’s come to my attention that my irrational thoughts are not as irrational as I once thought.Tonight I am struggling to sleep, I hate this. I am lying awake thinking about what it is that truly causes me anxiety.
I did some research and discovered that my irrational fear of certain people in my life dying could actually be a form of OCD and generalised anxiety.
I have written before about how I have some social anxiety issues that stop me from being able to be around people sometimes, I have written about how I have some separation anxiety when it comes to certain people in my life leaving and my panic attacks show that I have general anxiety, I have a panic attack on average once a day, they aren’t as debilitating like some people’s. But they do make me feel terrible. My heart races, I feel sick, and dizzy. My head feels like its going to explode, I feel like I’m going to pass out. It comes and goes quickly. Sometimes its worse than others, generally I just sit down for a few seconds and it goes away. I’m an incredibly anxious person.
But I have constant thoughts that my parents, grandparents and cat are going to die, which probably sounds weird.
My parents work evenings. They finish work at 10pm. If I am home and it gets to 10:30pm I start to panic. I picture them being in a terrible car accident that kills them. When I was in college, we had a special lesson on road safety. A fireman came to talk to us about car accidents and wearing a seat belt. He told us horror stories of cutting people out of crushed cars, he showed us pictures of people who had been hit by cars. The worst image I saw (which graphically stays in my memory) was of a piece of someone’s skull on a car windscreen. When my parents don’t come home, I picture these things. Them bleeding to death in a wrecked car. Slowly dying alone. Intrusive violent thoughts. A sign of OCD.
With my grandparents, it’s a different situation. Whenever my house phone rings I panic a little. I hate it, my heart skips a beat. If my mum answers the phone (we have caller ID) it’s because it’s my grandparents phone number. If she picks up the phone my heart instantly sinks. My brain goes to worst case scenario. Someone is dead. I feel the lump in my throat before the conversation begins and even when I can tell it’s nothing serious, I still feel panicked and upset.
I’m terrified my cat will die in the night and I will wake up to him being dead. He’s 17 we have had him since he was a kitten, I know he isn’t exactly a young kitten. Sometimes the anxiety gets so bad that I have to get up in the middle of the night and bring him upstairs and let him sleep on my bed. When I go on holiday I get petrified he will die at the boarding cattery he stays at whilst we are away. If I see anything wrong with him I freak out. He was drooling in his sleep last week and I was convinced he had a liver problem.
And finally and here is the weird part of all of this. I am terrified I will go to sleep and never wake back up. Now for someone who contemplates suicide that probably sounds ridiculous, but there are so many things I need to do before I die, things I need to hide, things I need to fix, things I need to explain. I am terrified of dying. Because I don’t want my family to be disappointed in me when they find certain things out about me.
Writing this has made me panic more. I keep picturing my grandmother dying and it truly is traumatising. I am lying in bed waiting for the phone to ring. It’s 4AM and I can’t sleep because of these stupid thoughts. I just went downstairs to get my cat, I don’t want him to die alone. Even though he’s perfectly fine, probably slightly annoyed at me for waking him up and dragging him upstairs. I know I don’t control these thoughts. Now I’m breathless and my arms are itching.
The Elephant in the Room