Have you had your anxiety attach itself to a place so much so that you couldn’t bring yourself to go anymore?
A friend’s house, an old workplace, a dog park, the dentist, or even an entire city–whatever the place is for you, it is covered in dread like a fumigation tent, and anxiety seeps into every crack like poison.
If nothing comes to mind, see if this rings a doorbell:
As you travel to that daunting place, unable to avoid it (especially because the anxiety seems so irrational you keep it to yourself), you feel a simultaneous push and pull in your instinct, and you worry you might be disassembled by the anxiety. The apprehension of stepping foot into the place amasses in your lungs, causing your breathing to slow. “What-ifs” dart around your eyes like nagging stray insects. Your body feels sucked into a bubble that you can almost feel as the thick film pushes against your cheek. Everything in you wants to turn around, and maybe you’ve found ways to avoid it before, but today a string of rational thought (or just the fact that you ran out of excuses) reels you into the haunted place. You find yourself, once again, at the footstep and at the mercy of a bad memory or an uncomfortable situation.
That’s how it feels for me.
Stop Blaming The Place
I’ve had locational anxiety about friend’s houses, workplaces, restaurants, church, the doctor’s office, the dentist, and even in my own city after some time away. I can often feel foolish in the ridicule of my own judgment. I’m essentially afraid to go to pretty mundane places, and more often than not, the anxiety is not at all anchored in reality.
So, if you can relate, how do we fix this?
As usual, I don’t really know, but here are some ideas:
No matter what happened there, it’s most likely not the location’s fault. Stop blaming the poor thing! It is literally unable to intentionally hurt you or take jabs at you. Do some introspection or talk it out with a trusted friend and explore the anxiety that lies beneath. What are you actually afraid of? Perhaps you don’t want to confront the difficult memories that await to taunt you. Maybe you have a social anxiety associated with the people at the location. It could be something else.
What is at the core?
Address What’s At The Core
There are times when, after a bit of digging, you might realize your anxiety is actually valid. Great! Now, you can take appropriate steps to find healing.
In most cases, however, you might dig into the anxiety and find that nothing is at the core; your misery might be founded in falsehood. In this case, push the gas pedal, and don’t give in to the pull of anxiety. Your fear is likely due to plain old, silly anticipation, and that’s easy to confront.
“The anticipation of an event is almost always worse than the actual event.”
Anxious anticipation is like a crazy witch lady hunched on the streets of your mind muttering nonsense, and the only word you can make out is beware! Keep walking, ignore her, and be open to having a positive experience. Try not to let her follow you and dampen your time without legitimate reason.
But, above all, don’t allow an anxiety founded in falsehood make you a hermit. And don’t let the muttering witch lady win.
Forgive the location, find out what’s at the core of your anxiety, and face your fear.
What’s your locational anxiety?