Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

Anxiety’s back, tell a friend
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?

Considering my last post, I couldn’t help but use some of the lyrics from Without Me. Plus, the boy rapped the whole thing in the car yesterday, so it has been in my head. Considering he can remember something like that he’s only heard a few times or the entire lines from a play (seriously, his and everyone else’s), yet forgets I asked him to brush his teeth five seconds later, I think I should start rapping my commands to him.

Brush your teeth, teeth right now.
Brush them good, brush them good,
Brush them good, brush them good,
Or you’re grounded, you’re grounded, yes you’re grounded.

It needs work.

I recently wrote a post mentioning my reduced anxiety, and I must not have knocked on wood as usual. Nah, really though, I think it’s more that I just suck at picking up on things. You’d think someone who has had bad anxiety since she was a little kid would be more aware, but I’m not great at being in tune with my body. For the record, it’s still true that my anxiety is reduced compared to years ago, but maybe not as much as I thought at the time. Once I zeroed in on the anxiety, I realized that this issue has been building up over the past few months.

I’ve been avoiding going out shopping as much as possible lately. I’ll order whatever I can from Amazon, which I’m sure my mail lady loves, and most of the rest of the stuff is ordered through the Walmart app. We have Grocery Pickup at our Walmart, so I can just pull up to the side of the building and someone brings my stuff out. I’ll shop at Target or Aldi when it’s not busy, since those places don’t bother me much early in the day, but I avoid everywhere else like the plague if I can help it. I’ve never cared for crowds (and shopping at Walmart is never fun), but it just leaves me more unsettled than normal lately.

On Sunday, we went to get lunch and then went by Target afterwards. By the time we were in the car heading home, I was so agitated that when I got home I took a Xanax just to calm down. I was agitated because of the noise in the restaurant, how crowded and noisy Target was, how noisy my damn car was. Thanks, children. I put in my earbuds when were were halfway home because I felt like I was going to snap. (I wasn’t driving.) And I have definitely been snapping more over the past few weeks.

Combine that with going out to a play on Friday night and not wanting to talk to anyone because I was struggling with hearing, more of the same on Saturday night, plus not wanting to touch publicly used things again. (Salt shakers and ketchup bottles and other items touched by the public are becoming my nemesis again.) My husband asked me on Sunday if my anxiety was getting bad again since he had noticed these things. And I realized — yes it is, in ways.

I think a lot of it’s due to my hearing. My cochlear implant hasn’t been as helpful as I had hoped it be. It started off working well, as in I progressed from hearing clicks and robot-y sounds to voices and real sounds quickly. And within a few months, I scored high on the tests the audiologist gave me. Progress halted, though, and my speech in noisy environments hasn’t seemed to improve at all. (Speech in one-on-one situations in quiet environments was great, though.) My directional hearing is awful, and when I’m out in public, if someone talks on that side, I don’t usually hear them unless they tap my shoulder to get my attention so I can turn and face them. I’ve becoming increasingly self-conscious about my hearing and add to that background noises being more overwhelming, it’s a mess. I don’t know if there’s a sensory component or if anxiety is just making that stuff more noticeable and worse as a result.

The hearing thing has me so worried about my future. What kind of job can I get in the real world where I can either control my environment or limit most conversations to one-on-one with little to no background noise and avoid phones? I can’t come up with many job prospects in my area outside of teaching. I can keep the classroom quiet as needed and move around to talk to the kids. But I really don’t want to go back to teaching. I also don’t want to take a year’s worth of college classes so I can get recertified. I may not have a choice if I can’t come up with something else, though. Freelance writing is great, but isn’t exactly a career. I know I shouldn’t worry too much about that right now since I have a few years before I’d go full-time anyway.

I have an appointment with my primary care doctor soon, so I’m going to ask her about taking propranolol again. I took it for social anxiety several years ago, and it helped somewhat. It’s meant to treat high blood pressure, but is also good for anxiety because it helps you stay calmer and keep from going into panic mode. If she won’t prescribe it, I’ll ask my psychiatrist when I go in January. Hopefully it won’t interact with anything I’m currently taking. I’m also going to schedule an appointment with my audiologist and see what adjustments she can make.

Boo anxiety, but at least I’m a) aware and b) have a plan. That’s much better than in the past when it was running the show 24/7 with no end in sight.