I’m Not Normal

I was wondering whether to write about this. Was thinking about it for the past three days. Sometimes I write posts in my head but never type them out.

Was lying in bed feeling anxious again. It’s the reason why I can’t fall asleep most of the time. The other insomniacs on Twitter keep me sane.

It all sounds really dumb. I have anxiety over the tiniest things and I wish I could be more normal. Well I used to be – but not anymore.

I am embarrassed to say this out loud, but one of my anxieties involves taking a taxi. I am petrified about taking a taxi. It’s because I feel trapped in a vehicle with the windows shut (small confined space). And with a stranger I am unable to ask them (if needed) to allow me to open the windows a little. It’s not really that I need the windows open. I just need to know that I can open it a crack if I want to. It’s to do with control. Being in control allows me to feel not so trapped. It’s about having an exit. The trapped feeling is what leads to the claustrophobia and those attacks are terrifying.

Gosh, I’m sounding like such a control freak. But if you’ve read my earlier posts, you’ll know how neurotic I can be. And you’ll also know about my panic attacks linked to situational claustrophobia. It’s been preventing me from living my life fully. I do get over this little episodes, but it’s so draining.

I often feel like my life has been hijacked. I just want my old life back.

The last time I took a taxi, the driver was using some kind of ointment that smelt so bad. It was so strong that I felt like I was suffocating in the air-conditioning. To make things worse, the radio was blaring – which just makes me unable to think. Usually I can talk myself down. But when there is external noise, it interferes with my thought patterns and I just can’t do it. I didn’t dare say a word though and decided to just brave it through till I reached my destination. It was so nerve wrecking to end up being stuck in traffic and having the ordeal drawn out. When I arrived at my destination I had a massive migrane and was in no mood for socializing, but I had to. You know, be fake, smile, grin and bear it. And I hate being fake. The only reason I’m fake is to be polite. So after that I try to avoid social gatherings. It’s all just too stressful. Not a pleasure at all.

I am tired of this fear that pervades my life. Just zapped today. Maybe I’ll pick myself up soon enough.

Just wanted to write about this because therapy costs too much.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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14 Responses to I’m Not Normal

  1. gweipo says:

    I think it has a little to do with confidence. I hate taking taxis, especially here in Singapore as the drivers are such horrid know it alls, so it is all very intimidating. But I definitely feel I have the right to ask a driver to switch the radio off or down, ditto the aircon and to open the window if I so please.

    But I’m more likely to do all of the above if my children are in the taxi with me, because then I feel like I’m doing it for them, rather than myself, if that makes sense.

    But buses, even if they’re slower are much better here.

    • bookjunkie says:

      So glad you feel that way too. Makes me feel not so ashamed of my fears.

      The bus is more comfortable for me too. But with my sense of direction and time constraints at that time I felt I had no choice but to take a cab.

  2. katrijn says:

    You are so brave – we all have our fears and fault lines we try to hide and I definitely am not ready to put mine on paper yet. (And I doubt I’ll ever be – even anonymously.) My lines run a different route from yours – but I do know other people who are fighting similar demons. I like them a lot. I knew this girl in Singapore who had a fear of elevators. She lived on the tenth floor and would walk the stairs every day. (She was very fit.) There are always things, real and imagined, that dictate parts of our lives. And that is okay, that’s just the way it is, whether it’s money, or dislikes, or family obligations, or fear. Don’t let other people tell you what you should be like and how you should live your life. It’s yours and you get to do with it what you want, the way you want it, and if you decide not to spend time and energy fighting fear that you could easily avoid, well, good on you. (If you decide you do want to fight, good on you too :).)

    • bookjunkie says:

      Katrijn, you don’t know how much you’ve lifted my spirits with your kind words. Your friends are lucky to have you.

      Now that you mention the elevator you’ve inspired another post. I don’t have a fear of that now, but at one time I did.

  3. ThinkPinkToo says:


  4. Jane says:

    You know, most people have anxiety over things in their daily life. How can we not with the way the world is going?

    Have you tried breathing exercises? There is one in the safety field which is documented to slow your breathing, slow your heart rate, and most of all, stop the dumping of cortisol when we are stressed. You breathe in slowly through your nose, when you exhale, you do it slowly through your mouth and this is the major part, you visualize your stress leaving your body. After 4 or 5 breaths, you’ll wonder what you were stressed about – this really works.

    • bookjunkie says:

      thanks so much Jane…I’ll try it 🙂

      it’s so true that the world is getting difficult to handle these days.

  5. 365days2play says:

    If only I were afraid of taking a taxi I might save a bundle. I have actually wound UP the window without asking the taxi driver as I hate the smell of the road fumes. But I believe there was a time when I encountered a really smelly taxi driver and I wound it down a crack too hahahha. I bet he knew why I was doing that but he didn’t bat an eyelid.
    Have you tried seeing a psychiatrist about it? I often feel that I should, in regards to my fears of the unknown and of heights.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Good to know that you wound down the window and the cabbie didn’t bat an eye. Yes the savings is one saving grace 😉 I used to take cabs like nobody’s business 😉 I would see a private therapist if only it didn’t cost so much.

  6. Crystal says:

    I think Katrjin said it best–we all have secret fault lines and cracks in our facade.

    While at the Taronga Zoo, I glanced up and saw a spider’s web stretching across the walkway betwixt trees on either side (about another 5-10 feet above my head). A giant (half the size of my fist, maybe-ish) sat in the middle. My heart began to pound and I was freaking out as I sped walked under it. There was NO way not to go under it. All the while I was freaking out that it might fall on me. And then there was another. And another. Several with multiple spiders on them. They’d probably been there the whole time, but it was the first time I’d looked up. Once I’d looked up, I couldn’t stop. And every web increased my anxiety.

    My mother in law’s reaction was to basically tell me to get over it (ironic, considering she’s terrified of cats and I’ve been locking my cats up in our spare bedroom every time she comes to our house for over 7 years now).

    Ellie was also there, so I tried to show as little anxiety as possible. But I failed as I actually whimpered out loud at several points.

    The only thing that kept me going was knowing that we were on the path out of the zoo and once we were out, I’d get on the ferry where it was safe.

    It was horrible. It was terrifying. It was also borderline humiliating, as I’m a 33 year old woman–I KNOW that spiders don’t have an evil agenda toward me. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to have a full meltdown when I see one in the house and make Ravi deal with it.

    We all have our stuff.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I have the total same reaction – maybe worse to roaches. I can’t even look at dead ones. Even writing about it makes me feel extremely squirmish. I totally sympathize with that spider phobia.

  7. Geoff says:

    Hi there – Came across your blog while searching for “panic attack singapore”. I had my first attack just a month back, and the next one a week later. So I can completely understand what you might be going thru. I have a day job, so in order for me not to let panic attacks affect work, I had to see a shrink. It was helpful, but what really helped was 1) knowing what really happens during a panic attack, and 2) what techniques are effective in controlling your “runaway” self. I strongly suggest you seek help asap, as it can lead to agoraphobia if left untreated for a long time. I want my old self back too, and working on it. Wish you all the best, and will pray that you overcome this disorder.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I am so grateful that you shared your experience with me Geoff and I’m sure many others who may drop by this particular post. I really need to do what you suggest. It’s such a comfort that there’s someone out there who understands.

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