Why Can't I Be Normal?

I am constantly learning what my triggers are and trying to learn self calming techniques to prevent those triggers from throwing me into complete panic. Over the past two or three months I started having panic attacks every time I go grocery shopping by myself. The first time it happened to me I had no idea what was happening. I was just trucking along and out of nowhere panic came over me and I had to stop what I was doing to breath and try to collect myself. That has NEVER happened to me in the grocery store before. I've always found grocery shopping by myself to be calming for some reason. That day in the store I was about to leave my cart full of food right where it was and run out the doors as fast as I could, but I didn't. I am pretty sure I said "Meghan, you are fine" out loud in the middle of the aisle. I went to the checkout and tried to get out of there as fast as possible. I'm pretty sure the check out boy couldn't have gone any slower, which didn't help matters. I thought it was just a fluke that it had happened and maybe something happened earlier in the day to trigger it. But then it happened the next week, at a different store. And then it happened at TARGET. That's when I knew it was more than just a coincidence or a fluke. I don't know if it's because I haven't found my regular grocery store, since all of them are about the same distance away, or if I simply just can't handle the size of grocery stores here...(everything IS bigger in Texas!) but I have tried a variety of things. I go with a list, I skip aisles that don't have anything I need in them (I used to go up and down every aisle just to get some extra walking in), I have started in produce and worked up and down aisles that way and vice versa. I don't stop and debate on brand names or product, or flavors like I tend to do. I rarely read labels anymore, and I don't go back if I forgot something. Nothing really makes it better or worse. I plan the day I'm going and that helps a little bit. I know the obvious answer is to bring Matthew with, but with our work schedules not exactly lining up all of the time it usually is easier for me to go alone rather than both of us getting home from work and then going. If that was as simple as it sounds, I would never go away....but it just don't make sense unless we go on a weekend. Today I went to the store on my way home from work, with a short list, knowing I had nothing to eat when I got home. I did pretty well because it was a smaller store. I had been there once before so I knew the layout and skipped the aisles I didn't need to go down. I got out of there in the nick of them. But, when I was driving down a panic attack came over me and literally took my breath away. The only thing I can think of for that one is different routine.

When this was all going down and I was slowly reaching the last mile before my exit all I could think of was "Why can't I be normal?!" I think this often, I ask Matthew this often, I say it more than I probably realize. Why can't I be normal? What is normal anyways? Is anybody normal? I guess there is a norm, and some people fall into that, but typically...no. So what exactly do I mean when I say that? I have no idea, really. I don't know what it's like to not live this life with anxiety. I know at some point I lived that life, but it was so long ago that I don't remember it. And even though I wasn't living my life constantly being anxious with a brain on over drive, I was depressed.

When I say I want to be normal I mean I want to be able to do day to day activities without anxiety taking over. I want to go to events and activities that I know will be crowded without being afraid of a full on meltdown. I want to enjoy my amazing days without believing that the next day is going to be terrible. I want to live in the now without thinking about what's next. I want to deviate from a routine without needing a warning. I never want to cancel plans because anxiety just won't let me leave my house. I want to be tired because I did something fun and exciting, not because I had so many anxiety attacks that I am exhausted from fighting through them. I want to stop telling myself that everyone is out to hurt me, on purpose. I want to tell myself a hundred true things instead of filling my brain with a hundred lies.  I don't want to spend days in my bed hoping the monsters will leave soon. I don't want to isolate my husband because it's not his fault. There are so many things I wish to be differently. I want to be normal. But in the mean time I will continue to fight this fight and  become stronger doing so. I don't ever feel ashamed of having this disease, but that doesn't mean I don't wish it to go away on days that I just can't take anymore.



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