I wrote this post on September 19, 2012. I was drinking a little bit then, just here and there with a few days inbetween. I was going through my journal and just felt like I wanted it out there in the sober blogosphere…
I think an anxiety attack happened today. I was in a government building to get fingerprinted for this new job. As I went to take my bag from the security belt, I made polite conversation with on of the female guards. Then I heard someone raising his voice, aggressive, looking at me. For a moment, it was like being in a foreign country. He was looking at me, leaning towards me, aggressively saying the same phrase over and over again without pause in between. Finally, it registered, “turn on your ipad ma’am”. I don’t like it when people are aggressive towards me.
I looked right at him and said calmly, “Oh, are you talking to me? Do you need me to turn on my ipad?” “Yes, that’s what I’m telling you.” “I’d be happy to. I didn’t realize you were speaking to me.” I turn it on and show it to him all while looking him in the eye. I say, “Thank you. Have a good day sir.” I am modeling the behavior that he did not demonstrate. Then I nod politely at the other guard. As I’m walking away I say, under my breath, “You fucking asshole.” I hope that someone heard it.
Then I begin to think. He is a security guard in a building full of high ranking police, detectives, etc. Shit, the desk officer who did my finger prints has more rank than him. He must be acting with all that bravado and aggression out of some feeling of inferiority – wherever it comes from. I don’t give a shit, power-tripping pisses me off.
Its hard to find the correct room. It really does feel like I’m back in a foreign country, looking at what my paper says and trying to find a match. I find the room, then I have to go to another room to pay before I can come back to the first room to get fingerprints done.
On the labyrinth to the payment room, I realize I am sweating. I’m a little shaky and lightheaded. I stop into the restroom and take a moment to think about it. I think this is a mini-anxiety attack. I talk to myself, fan myself and slowly calm down. I try to think about the trigger and times when this has happened before. I remember that I often feel this way going through airport security.
Anxiety is not a daily problem for me but it does tend to come up more when I’m depressed and I was super-depressed on Monday. Also, I wasn’t expecting any trouble. Also, I really, really don’t react well when people yell at me.
I go to the payment room, back to finger print room, and then walk to a nearby museum. As I walk over, I think about how nice it would be to just go home and be done with this outing. Then I think about how much I love this museum and that I will feel fine once I get there. From when that meanie security guard yelled at me to when I finally felt cooled down was about 2 hours.
In the quiet, calm and beauty of this museum I think about how glad I am to be here. I think about how fortunate I am to have so many places to go to in my city. When I was younger I used to visit these places every weekend and I especially loved it in the winter when they were mostly empty.
When I’m sick of work I often day dream about taking a day off and spending it at a museum or going to a movie in the middle of the day. I’m feeling some regret about the time I’ve wasted this week but I also acknowledge that I still have lots of time next week.
And my timing was a little off today and I did get Hungry, Tired and unexpectedly Angry – those are not good combinations for positive thinking and sober thinking.