I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. As a child it served me well because I was rarely bored, and as a teenager it got me through some pretty lonely times. As an adult it pretty much just annoys me. I get these thoughts in my head sometimes, these little scenarios that come out of nowhere. I don’t know how or when I started doing this, but at this point, I’ve thought of them so many times that they play out like movies in my mind. These thoughts can happen anytime- while I’m working out, driving, cleaning, working, etc.- and though I know that I have control over them, they can still cause me to have a panic attack. I realize that giving power to these scenarios is a waste of my time, but my mind often lacks reason and logic. I’ll be minding my own business, shampooing my hair, or doing some other routine task, and one of these scenarios will pop into my head and my heart will start to race and I’ll start breathing heavy. I have to remind myself that nothing has even happened, I’m still in the shower, washing my hair, and not falling down a flight of stairs exposing my holey underwear (I don’t even own holey underwear). I’ve complied a list of the most common scenarios that I torture myself with on a regular basis. You might be wondering, why is she sharing this with the world? I guess it’s because I think it’s kind of funny, and I’m hoping someone else will find it funny, too. Also, I figure I can’t be the only one who does this. Maybe someone else out there can relate, and we can bond over the ridiculousness of our brains.
- Tripping, falling, and exposing my underwear. Okay, so this has actually kind of happened to me once. I was walking down the hall at church, in between classes, and I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I headed towards her to say hello, and somehow my skirt fell off! I didn’t even notice it was happening until the skirt was at my ankles, restricting my steps. I still cringe every time I think about it. I mean how do you even recover from that?? Full disclosure: I was wearing Spanx. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse, but I’m inclined to say it’s worse.
- Letting go of my steering wheel on a curved road. Would I ever do this? No. But what freaks me out is that I COULD IF I WANTED TO. Doesn’t it ever make you rethink things when you realize how in control of your own destiny you are? I’ll be driving and the thought will come to me and I will start to wonder things like, “Where would my car go?”, or “How long would it be before my car stopped moving? Would it just stop, or would it stop because it crashes into a wall?” Oh yeah, I’m driving right now. Better pay attention. Yikes.
- Falling off of the treadmill/elliptical. If I were the star of my own television show, there’d be a scene where I fall off of my treadmill at least five times per season. “But wouldn’t that get old?” you might ask? No, it would not. Falling is always top comedy. Falling while on a fast-paced, moving belt just makes it that much funnier. This has only come close to happening one time when I had a tangled up earbud fiasco. I got a little too cocky and tried to untangle the rat’s nest while I was running. I managed to get my footing and stop myself from falling, but it was a close call, guys. So close that I’m starting to sweat right now just thinking about it.
- Losing a tooth. Not like losing a tooth when I was a kid and they were bb teeth that were meant to be lost. Like losing a fully grown, high school graduate, adult tooth. This is probably my biggest fear. It started when I was young, probably because I saw an episode of Jerry Springer or some other daytime talk show and there was a person sans teeth on there, which of course led me to freak out about the state of my own bicuspids. What would I do if my tooth got knocked out?? Once I read that if it happens, you should put the tooth in milk to preserve it, which is why I always carry a packet of milk with me. JK I don’t, but I really have thought about it because that’s how scared I am of this happening to me. Seriously you guys, HOW WOULD I RECOVER FROM THAT? I am pretty positive I couldn’t rock the missing teeth look. And this is coming from a girl who used to wear sweat pants with the name JOE JONAS emblazened on the legs out in public. In her twenties. On the regular.
- Walking into the men’s room on accident. I’m going to be really honest here, the men’s room is a complete mystery to me. I have no idea what goes on in there. I caught a glimpse of one once and there were toilets on the ground- ON THE GROUND I SAY!! That seems risky to me. Usually this paranoia hits me after I’ve finished running on the elliptical at the gym and I’ve still got my headphones on and I’m all disoriented and sweaty. I mean, the boy and girl restrooms are right next to each other, I could easily meander into the wrong side! Most of the restrooms I see are marked with an “M” or a “W” which is practically the same letter even! Whose idea was that?? I think this fear might be rooted in the fact that when I was in high school, I had a job as a janitor basically, cleaning a medical office. I thought no one was left in the office so I was just carrying on like I owned the place, and stormed right into the bathroom with my cleaning supplies in my hands and I walked in on a guy going pee! I really did this! And guess what he did?? This image still haunts me to this day. He kept peeing, turned his head around, gave me a little nod, and calmly said, “Sup?” A part of me died in the bathroom that day, my friends. I can’t talk about it anymore because I am getting shortness of breath just remembering the harrowing details.
- Ripping up money. Now this is one I would definitely never do, obviously!! But one day I was playing with a hundred dollar bill (because that’s what hundredaires like myself do in their free time) and I thought about how easily I could rip it into pieces and I would be $100 less rich. How weird is that? Money is just paper?? Is that really the best system for our currency? I could be $100 less rich with one tear. Ugh. That scares me worse than the Chucky movies, if I’m being honest.
- Sending the wrong text to the wrong person. This one plagues me on a daily basis, because I am an avid texter, and I text multiple people throughout the day. I’m married now, but when I was single I used to make myself sick worrying about sending a text ABOUT the guy I like and the details of our non-relationship TO the guy I like, instead of to my friend. What if my boss gets the text I meant to send to my mom where I vent about my job? Or worse, what if someone (anyone) gets the text I meant to send to my mom about how I really need to have a poo but can’t go in the toilets at work? I know what you’re thinking, I shouldn’t be texting these things to people. You’re wrong. These are exactly the types of things I should be texting to people. You may also be curious as to why I text my mom about my bowel movement issues. Don’t worry. A healthy poo text is normal every once in a while.
- Cutting off a chunk of my hair with craft scissors. Let me preface this one by saying that I am in a constant state of growing my hair out. I am forever wanting long hair and lacking the patience it takes to get it. All of the work I’ve been putting into having long hair would be for nothing with one snip. Sometimes I think about that scene in Sixteen Candles where Caroline gets her hair stuck in a locked door at Jake Ryan’s house and her friends get her out by cutting off the backside of her hair with scissors they found laying around the house! That scene chills. Me. To. The. Bone.
- Divorce. I honestly don’t know why this terrifies me so much but I think it’s because I find it so terribly, horribly sad. I once read a statistic that said 50% of marriages end in divorce and right there on the spot I started to feel tightness in my chest. I think the very thought of something that was once so happy and full of love disolving and falling apart scares me. It leads to lots of invasive and paranoid thoughts about love. How do you ever really know if someone is right for you? How do you know that someone won’t fall out of love with you, or hurt you, etc. You know, the usual sad cocktail. It’s just like universal smart woman June Carter Cash said, “It burns, burns, burns.” Being with my husband has really helped me calm down about broken love in relation to myself, but I still worry a great deal about all the other relationships out there. It doesn’t matter if I know them personally or not. I still haven’t fully processed Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce, and I can make myself depressed just by thinking about Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder’s breakup, and they were never even married! I have so many feelings, my friends. So many.
Good news, these irrational fears actually have a clinical name! They’re called “intrusive thoughts”, and according to the internet (v reliable source for information), four out of five people experience intrusive thoughts on a regular basis. An intrusive thought is described as “an unwelcome involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate.” If that aint me, right? I don’t know if it’s more comforting to have a name for what I’m experiencing, or if it makes me feel more insane. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one going through this, though. It makes me feel better to know that I’m not alone, and that there are others who can relate to me. That’s what life is all about, I think; connecting with others by sharing our experiences with them. Kinda makes all the difficult stuff we go through seem special, doesn’t it?