Peeing in airplanes

A text from my sister earlier this week, after a conversation which very nearly escalated in a panic attack for me, but which didn’t, because I think I am too repressed to fully experience a full-blown panic attack.

“..I worry that you have developed this pattern throughout your life where you NEED something to agonize over, dread, or freak out about in order to feel normal.  This impacts your capacity for joy and hurts my heart for you.”

Yes, she is a mental health counselor, so she is certainly qualified to recognize these things.

I don’t remember ever not being this way.  Even as a little girl, I recall, for example, sitting in an airplane seat and dreading the part of the journey where I might have to pee; I’d have to get out of my seat, disrupt my seatmates, make my way up the aisle and hopefully not trip over anything, find the bathroom, hope that it’s empty, hope that I can look nonchalant if I have to wait, hope that there’s not a long line of disgruntled passengers after I’m done, make my way back to my seat without incident, and disrupt my seatmates again.  As an adult, I still carry this fearful scenario with me, and now, as then, I will just hold it in until my bladder feels like it is going to explode – yes, even if it is a six hour flight – and just wait til we have landed.

My whole life is like that -an extended airplane ride wherein I have to pee, but I don’t want to disturb anyone, make a fuss, look foolish.

I think it might be time to start thinking about how my life, and my “capacity for joy” is being impacted by my nervousness and anxiety and neuroses. And I think it might be time to look into getting help for it.

9 Comments on Peeing in airplanes

  1. Ta
    July 9, 2015 at 10:34 am (6 years ago)

    “My whole life is like that -an extended airplane ride wherein I have to pee, but I don’t want to disturb anyone, make a fuss, look foolish.” Oh god, this this, a thousand times this. As well as, “I think it might be time to start thinking about how my life, and my “capacity for joy” is being impacted by my nervousness and anxiety and neuroses. And I think it might be time to look into getting help for it.”

    This is exactly where I was at just a few short months ago; finally admitting I needed help, that this was a *problem*, finally recognizing this and actually *following through.* I am now in one of the best places I have been in a long time. And all I can say, *yes.* All of the encouragement. <3

  2. annie
    July 9, 2015 at 1:27 pm (6 years ago)

    i had an ‘oh… ‘ moment reading this. i long ago sooooorta identified that a lot of my life is lived in varying degrees of fear, decisions made or maybe worse, not made out of that constant narrative in my head. i’ve never activity attempted to let it go, though? i think when it’s that ingrained, you don’t even realize it’s there at all. it’s your own personal white noise that is always playing in the background. this is one of the reasons your blog has been my favourite for a while (i meant to say, in response to your reply on the jean rollins post ❤). i love your style and art posts so so much, but especially your beautifully articulated candid writings – they are really such a huge breath of fresh air in a ‘blogosphere’ of heavy self-promotion, and happy-happy everything is great and look at my *~designer shoes / designer vacation / designer life!~*

    thank you, thank you for your voice. even if i don’t always comment, i am definitely always reading. ❤

  3. Madeleine
    July 9, 2015 at 5:34 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh god… I so identify with the exact same thing… both on the airplane and how it reflects a larger life pattern. I get so anxious about getting an aisle seat I get sick before i fly because I don’t want to be walled in and have to disturb people and be looked at to walk down the asile to the toilet!

  4. Heather
    July 9, 2015 at 11:19 pm (6 years ago)

    I so feel you on all of this. Anxiety and neurosis have been twins in my life since I can remember as well. I even remember my mother telling me when I was a kid that I was going to end up with an ulcer by the time I was in my 20’s cause of how much I worried. It’s something I have really had to work on in the past few years, especially when I decided that I never wanted to miss out on anything just because I was scared or nervous. It’s a day to day thing, but it can get better. (Loads of B-50 and herbal supplements like St John’s Wort, do help. Neither is a cure all but they can take an edge off.)

    Either way, wishing you all the luck and I know you will get to a better place where the anxiety nips a lot less.

  5. Cléo
    July 10, 2015 at 2:52 pm (6 years ago)

    I am not an habitual worrier, but I’ve had to get help several times in my life, and I regret none of the times I took care of myself… I guess I do not have anything to add beyond my support and congratulating you on taking a good honest look at yourself, and using it as motivation rather than as a source for complaints! And on having such a smart and caring sister, too. Such a treasure!

  6. Kath
    July 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm (6 years ago)

    I really appreciate the down to earth nature of this post…and also the input from your sister, because that is such a great summary of how it can feel to be stuck in a cycle of anxiety or depression. I struggle a lot with both and on the off-chance I am not feeling that way, it’s almost terrifying…it’s such a huge part of your life, to the point where it can change aspects of your personality, and having that empty space can seem incredibly daunting, like a yawning pit. It’s been really difficult getting to a place where my mood is manageable, but it’s also made a huge difference in my life–and I hope that you’re able to get there as easily as possible.

  7. OTB
    July 11, 2015 at 11:06 am (6 years ago)

    If you figure out the answer, let me know…I have never been comfortable with the space I take up in the world and I am never sure what I am supposed to do about it.

  8. Rachael
    July 12, 2015 at 11:45 am (6 years ago)

    I’m not alone! Heh. I never realized how much of my life was spent engaging in fear & worry until after I had a child. It then smacked me in the face (like a boss!) and left me gasping for air. I then had to deal with it, which was fucking terrifying, but absolutely necessary & in hindsight 100% worth it. But yeah, it sucked much of the joys out of my life & I had no clue because I was so used to it.
    For me anyway, joy was & still is to a degree…so scary. Because joy always goes away right & then there is pain & grief & longing. But I’m moving away from the fear more & more 🙂
    I can relate

  9. lau
    July 12, 2015 at 1:05 pm (6 years ago)

    I feel you, so much. All the love. <3


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