My Fear And Anxiety Threesome

A therapist once told me that my ability to live in a place of constant fear was impressive, but it’s taken its toll.

A good friend of mine lives in Paris, and although I’ve visited him in the past, there’s no chance that I’ll ever visit him there again. The reason for my refusal isn’t that I think the City of Lights is a terrible place, it’s just that it won’t be only me going; it will be me, my anxiety and my fear — and those two complicate everything in my life.

What if something happens to the plane? What if I’m sitting next to someone and I fall asleep and accidently touch them? What if I get sick? What if my friend can’t meet me at the airport and I need to find my way to his house?

What if? What it? What if?

I get nervous just thinking about it. My fear and anxiety have turned me from a relatively independent, optimistic person into an extremely fearful one. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve done something alone or even one on one — because no matter where I go or what I do, I always have my anxiety and my fear along with me. I’ve learned to modify my life so that I can accommodate them, but honestly, no matter what I do, it never seems to satisfy them. 

I’m in an ongoing threesome with fear and anxiety. 

If you want me, you’ll have to take the three of us because we do everything together and it’s been this way for a long time. While we may be in a three-way, there’s nothing polyamorous about our relationship, as it’s not built on love, but fear. It’s difficult to know where one stops and the other begins as my fear feeds my anxiety, my anxiety feeds my fear, and both control my thoughts and actions.

Fear seems to be the dominant one in our relationship; it’s always on top and always encourages me to develop new fears and phobias. I used to only be afraid of fainting, but now I have a fear of driving on the freeway, getting my foot stuck in an escalator and falling backward, passing out at inopportune times, heights, heart attacks, death, and embarrassing myself. 

I like routine, following rules, and doing the same things over and over. It’s getting me out of my comfort zone that scares the shit out of me. New and change aren’t things that I embrace; they’re things I try to stay away from as fear and anxiety are possessive and might get jealous.

“You left the house, that’s enough for today,” Anxiety said. “They said it was for all sizes, but you’ll still stand out,” Fear threatened.

I’ve learned to live my life as part of this ménage à trois. I’ve adjusted and stopped doing things that I once enjoyed because now the thought of doing them seems frightening. 

I sleep alone, but I’m always in bed with fear and anxiety, so much so that I wake up first thing in the morning with my heart pounding. When I go to bed, it takes me a while to calm down and relax enough to fall asleep.

A therapist once told me that my ability to live in a place of constant fear was impressive, but it’s taken its toll. No matter how much I limit my salt intake, exercise, and take my medications, my blood pressure is always high. I don’t remember ever not being on the edge of my seat in case I need to flee from danger.

What if? What if? What if?

The other day, I finally told fear and anxiety, that our arrangement wasn’t working for me and that I needed some space, so I decided to go to a body positive dance aerobics class called Fat Kid Dance Party. The description said that the class was for all sizes to heal from body oppression. I felt it in my bones that I desperately needed some healing.

I researched the gym (it was very near where I live,) the route I could take there (no freeways,) and everything else I could find out. I invited people to go with me, but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me that night.

Fear and anxiety had just about convinced me to stay home with them. It would be fun, we could all hang out, and I’d be safe. But the class just sounded too perfect for me, so I decided to pull up my big girl leggings, put on a sparkly top, and head on over there. If parking was a nightmare or if there were too many people, I could always come home. 

I gave myself way too much time to get there and arrived much too early. I parked and tried to get into the mood by singing along to the radio in my car. Luckily, it was a block of 80’s dance music which always puts me in an upbeat mood.

“You left the house, that’s enough for today,” Anxiety said.

“They said it was for all sizes, but you’ll still stand out,” Fear threatened.

I refused to listen to them, and about 15 minutes before the class was supposed to start, went into the one-story, gray building. The woman at the desk was very friendly and showed me around the gym and then introduced me to the teacher, Bevin, who was beautiful and dazzling. Another woman showed up; the class ended up being just the three of us, two students and one instructor. 

We did choreographed routines, line dances, and said affirmations such as “I am fabulous” and “I’m allowed to take all the space I need.” I messed up; I grapevined left when I should have grapevined right. I forgot the box step which is the one dance move I kill at, but it didn’t matter because I was having fun. Fear and anxiety may have been lurking around but I wasn’t paying any attention to them, I wasn’t focusing on pleasing and satisfying them, I was only concerned with my own release and pleasure.

I was spinning like Stevie Nicks, rocking out to boy bands, and getting in touch with my inner star via Prince. My body ached, but I felt amazing.

Look, I know I’m probably not going to Paris again anytime soon, but maybe I can start doing more things without fear and anxiety always trying to control me. 

What if, I lived my life without those two and turned my threesome into a solo act of love?

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