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Friday, August 05, 2005

McReadie's Latest Anxiety Challenge

So I'm finding something lately: after each successful anxiety challenge, there's a weird sense of euphoria, where you start to think about what you're going to do for your next trick. It's the strangest thing: I used to hate exposing myself to anxiety, but now it's almost like I feel bored when I don't. (Of course, the minute I expose myself to anxiety I wonder what the hell I'm doing, but that makes for all the more euphoria if I do manage it, right?)

Anyway, in the aftermath of the trips to see the Tour, I'm wondering what I should do next. I was thinking about it this morning on the tube, in fact.

Well, as chance would have it, an unexpected anxiety challenge was coming my way today in any case.

'Twas a colleague's birthday today. The plan earlier in the week was just to go out for drinks but, by this morning, it had changed to lunch. I found this out while out of the office, and so was told to come and meet my already-seated colleagues once I arrived back.

Now, I gotta tell you, that made me uncomfortable. Traditionally, I've hated meeting people somewhere. Anxiety blinds me, and I just don't see them, and I think everyone's looking at me, and I get even more anxious and so one. So I was nervous about that. And, as you may remember, eating out in public with people has traditionally been a very big problem. Eating out in public with people when I arrive late and have to find those people: even bigger problem.

So I did the face-the-fear thing. I didn't dawdle, or try to arrive once they'd have all left. I strode into the Blue Elephant. It was a much posher place than I'd normally eat in (bear in mind that posh for me is Pizza Express). Also: it's bloody huge, and done out like some goddamn jungle. Again, normally I would have panicked at that point. But I managed to ask the waitress (almost calmly) where the group was, and found them OK.

So I sit down, and everyone's already had a sort of cracker thingy, which is then brought to me. Well, that makes things tougher - eating when other people aren't. I just about hang in there, even though I'm starting to get panicky. Not least because there are, like, three types of knives and forks and spoons for us and I have not a clue which I'm meant to be using. And cos it turned out that, when you sit down, they put a napkin on your lap and, well, I'm not used to that sort of malarkey. I'm used to picking up a napkin at the same time I pick up my drinking straw.

We then have to order. Rapidly becomes clear that there's nothing on the menu that's vegetarian. More panic. We're told the only vegetarian thing is green curry. I'm not wild about curry (other than Korma), but there's no choice, so I order. I should point out that, in the past, I would have looked up the menu of the restaurant we were going to in advance, figuring out what would be the thing I was least likely to throw up on. I believed I was least likely to throw up on bland food. Curry would not even have been considered.

I don't order a starter, which means (cos of the set meal deal we're doing) that I have to have a dessert. No-one else will be doing that, I realise. Meaning everyone will be watching as I eat my ice cream. More panic.

I eat part of my friend's starter, which is pretty spicy. Start to feel a bit rubbish. Main course comes - start to feel very rubbish. The curry is really spicy, and I struggle to eat it. This is not good.

Now, here's the trick I've found in these circumstances. What I always did before is to stop eating when I started to feel really sick. Trouble is that, if you do that, you won't start eating again. And, in fact, you'll feel worse. Often I had to retire to the toilet, convinced I was gonna vomit (sometimes I did) and then experienced major panic each time I attempted to return to the table. Reason for all this? Stopping eating is avoidant behaviour. And avoidant behaviour - well, that don't help, my friends. Makes stuff worse.

So even though my tongue, throat and, indeed, whole mouth are on fire, I try to keep munching on boiled rice. Tell myself not to stop. Try to focus attention outward - chatting to my friends rather than becoming engaged in a grand mental debate as to whether I'm gonna make it through the meal without puking. I don't manage to eat much of the curry, and that bothers me a bit, but I manage to eat something.

My clinical psychologist told me that, to deal with this problem, I had to eat as much as I possibly could... and then eat a bit more. So I eat as much as I possibly can of the curry. Then it's dessert time. So I eat a bit more. Cinnamon ice cream. Yum.

3 Comments:

  • At 4:20 AM, Anonymous BB said…

    I knew a guy who was veggie but he ate fish if he had too. He reckoned they were veggies - no brains.

     
  • At 10:55 AM, Blogger Fizzwhizz said…

    When I used to eat fish I used to justify it by saying that they swam into the net therefore it was their fault. You can justify any violence if you try hard enough.

     
  • At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Many of our modern drugs have harsh side-affects and cost the “earth”, so the next time you come down with a cold or the flu or non stress test, why not try a gentle alternative that costs next to nothing?

    Instead of immediately forking over large amounts of money for over-the-counter drugs, go to the kitchen cupboard and see what you can find to relieve your symptoms including non stress test.

    Here are some helpful hints for non stress test …

    A simple hot compress applied to the face is very soothing to those throbbing aches and pains of a blocked sinus, while a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief can provide welcome relief for similar conditions. While supplements of vitamin C, D and zinc will shorten the lifespan of a common cold, a hot lemon drink is also extremely good. And be sure to cuddle-up in bed when you have a cold, as it will make the body sweat out the germs.

    Cool lemon juice and honey are a great soother for a sore throat and gives the body much-needed vitamin C at the same time The juice of one lemon in a glass of water is sufficient. Melt the honey in a little hot water for ease of mixing.

    A smear of Vaseline or petroleum jelly will do wonders for those sore lips and nose that often accompany a cold.

    A 'streaming cold' where the nose and eyes water profusely, can respond to drinking onion water. Simply dip a slice of onion into a glass of hot water for two seconds, then sip the cooled water throughout the day. Half an onion on the bedside table also alleviates cold symptoms because its odor is inhaled while you sleep.

    People prone to catarrh may find that chewing the buds from a pine or larch throughout the day will clear up their condition in just a few days.

    Do you suffer from sore eyes? If your eyes are sore from lengthy exposure to the sun, try beating the white of an egg and then spread it over a cloth and bandage the eyes with it. Leave the preparation on overnight. Soft cheese (quark) is also a good remedy for this condition.

    For those unpleasant times when you suffer from diarrhea, two tablespoons of brown vinegar will usually fix the problem. Vinegar can be rather horrible to take, but who cares! The problem is more horrible. Vinegar can usually be found in most people's cupboards, so you don't need to worry about finding someone to run to the shop for you in an emergency.

    Sleepless? Instead of reaching for sleeping pills, which can quickly become addictive, try this: Drink only caffeine free tea or coffee starting late in the afternoon.. Go to bed earlier rather than later, as being overtired tends to keep people awake. Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet. Use only pure wool or cotton sheets and blankets. Polyester materials can cause sweat and make you thirsty (if your child constantly asks for water throughout the night, this could be the reason).

    And don't watch those scary movies just before retiring! If you still can't sleep, make a tea of lemongrass or drink a nightcap of herbal tea containing chamomile. It's easy to grow lemongrass in your garden or start a flower pot on the balcony for ease of picking. Simply steep a handful in boiling water for five minutes. Honey may be added for a sweetener.

    Of course there will be times when you do need modern drugs, so if these simple remedies don't have the required affect, be sure to see a health care professional.


    non stress test

     

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