One of the things I hate most about being single, Modern Philosophers, is that there isn’t that someone special around to settle me down when my anxiety skyrockets.
I’m a writer with a vivid imagination, which means I am outstanding at coming up with terrifying worst case scenarios when something makes me anxious.
Last week, I got some news that sent me into a tailspin.
I stupidly answered my cell phone, which was my first mistake, and the caller informed me that I’d had close contact with someone who had tested positive for the Coronavirus.
For a somewhat normal person, the first reaction might have been, “Well, I’ve been vaccinated and received a booster shoot, and I wear my mask when I’m in public settings, so I should be fine.”
Alas, I would not ever be classified as “somewhat normal” when it comes to any stress inducing situation. I am the poster boy for Anxiety, and the mere thought of my face being on such a poster for all the world to see makes me very anxious.
I immediately freaked out, and when into full blown panic mode. Of course, I assumed I would not only catch COVID, but I would also end up in the hospital fighting for my life.
I wish I understood why this is my factory setting. I truly am working on my anxiety, but Fear of Catching COVID ranks very high on my list of Things That Freak Out Austin. I actually say a prayer every night that I won’t catch COVID, and even though I am vaccinated and have received my booster shot, I still avoid public settings as much as possible, and wear a mask when I must be around others.
My lifelong membership in the International Introverts Alliance has prepared me for this extended period of social distancing, but not for how to calmly deal with a crisis.
I went right for a test, and it came up negative. Of course, I peppered the poor medical assistant with a million questions about the process, how long it would take to get the results, what it would mean if the result was positive, and what she thought about the new season of The Walking Dead.
I can’t help it. When I’m nervous, I just ask lots of questions, and I am not always capable of staying on topic. Which is probably a great coping skill because it gets the wild thoughts out of my brain and, I would hope, clear room for more rational thoughts.
Since I had no symptoms and had tested negative, I was allowed to go about my life as normal. A second test for scheduled for six days later because of the virus’ incubation period, and I was advised to contact medical professionals if any symptoms developed.
I felt fine physically, but mentally, I was totally frayed. All I could think about was getting sick. I could not turn off my brain, or even change the channel. I would have been happy with a fuzzy signal for a while just so I could get some rest, but my brain has multiple back up systems just in case my anxiety ever causes a short circuit. And because of these redundancies, I am never able to stop thinking about something that has put me in a panic.
It was a very difficult six days. I sequestered myself at The House on the Hill because I didn’t want to risk spreading what I might have to others. I really needed a haircut and had to return books to the library, but I didn’t think it would be fair of me to put others at risk.
So I read, wrote, and watched a lot of TV. That distracted me a little, but whenever I felt like I was in the clear, a scary thought would pop into my head, and I’d travel down that anxiety rabbit hole at the speed of light again.
Tuesday morning, I reported for my second test bright and early.
It took a Herculean effort on my part, but I somehow managed not to torture the same medical assistant again with my verbal diarrhea of oddball questions.
I tried to get on with my life, but I really could not focus until I got the call.
I was clear.
Atlas could finally shrug.
What a relief.
I am so grateful that I got vaccinated as soon as I was eligible, and then did the same when the booster shot was available. I’d gotten my booster less than two weeks before I received the scary call, so I can’t help but think that played a major factor in my coming out of this close contact okay.
This is will be my final blog post for ten years. I am about to put myself into cryo-freeze for the next decade. Hopefully, when they thaw me out, the Coronavirus will no longer be a threat, and I can try to lead a normal life.
I’m a bit anxious about what’s going to happen to me while I’m frozen. I really can’t stand Maine winters, and I’m told the cyro-freeze chamber is even colder than that.
Silver lining, I’m not supposed to have any brain activity while I’m in Frozen Austin Status, so that should mean ten years without anxiety. But I have a feeling I’ll find a way to panic.
Be well, Modern Philosophers. And if you hear of any power outages in Maine, PLEASE call Downeast Cryo-Freeze and demand that they check on my unit to make sure I’m still getting power and safely in my deep freeze state.
I’d really appreciate that!