Anxiety & Turtle Potties

Imagine this. You’re about to go for a shower. The water is running; you’re eager to feel its warmth cascade from the shower head and caress your bare skin. When you step inside, your breath lodges in your throat. The water is freezing cold, liquid icicles trickling down your body and holding you in place. Each breath becomes more frantic than the last as you struggle to maintain control. You’re frozen, helpless to the icy droplets piercing your skin, like daggers. All it takes is one simple motion, one step. Amidst your panic, you somehow manage to grip the tap and turn it off, leaving you gasping for air. You stand there, naked and vulnerable, tears mixing with droplets as they fall down the drain. Every thought you had before you stepped foot into the shower is gone. All you can think about is the lingering feeling of fear and the suffocating layer of water clinging to your skin.

I’m an anxious person, and have been since birth. My parents like to remind me of the crippling fear I once had as a toddler, when I was deathly afraid of my green turtle potty. Apparently, I’d look down in horror at what I had produced and would run away in hysterics. My anxiety lessened when I progressed to the ‘big toilet’, which had been fitted with a toilet training seat just for me. One afternoon, my mother asked my father if he could watch me for ten minutes whilst she showered; a task that he’d been given multiple times before. On this particular occasion however, something went awry and my parents were alerted to my blood curdling screams coming from our second bathroom. To their dismay, they found me red-faced and hysterical with a toilet seat stuck firmly around my neck. No amount of pulling, lifting or greasing would remove it, which left them wondering how on earth I’d gotten it over my head to begin with. With only one thing left that they could think to do, I was buckled into my car seat as we drove down the road where a bewildered family friend promptly removed the plastic seat with a tool resembling garden shears. My memory of this is vague, although I’m pleased to report that I have not been permanently scarred by this incident. Apart from some minor anxiety surrounding public bathrooms and people hearing me pee, I’m handling things pretty well these days. :3

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that anxiety ebbs and flows. The things that make us anxious today are unlikely to make us feel the same way a year from now. Anxiety isn’t something that will ever disappear completely. We learn to manage it and push through the irrational thoughts and negative voices in our heads, because that is the only thing we can do. We will not be ruled by anxiety, and although there will be bad days, we won’t let them stop us from achieving greatness… even if that means peeing loudly for the world to hear!

-S

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