I don’t really talk about my anxiety much in this space, mostly because I prefer to treat it homeopathically by shopping for survival equipment on Amazon.
When I was still in nursing school we got a call early in the morning before rounds that said they were pretty sure that the patient from our hospital that was on the news the night before was most likely not Ebola. Most likely? I’m sorry what?!
During the 36 hour Ebola scare of 2015 (Yes, I’m counting the 9 hours I was asleep, I was probably having anxiety dreams), I thoroughly Lysol-ed the house and areas of the yard. I called my father no less than 7 times to prep him on our emergency travel plans, and began research on how exactly to melt down our gold jewelry into bars. You know, just in case. (Side note: these gold bars were going to be of the fun size variety.)
I’m a worrier, a planner, and a sometimes overreact-er. I had to stop watching survival shows on the Discovery Channel because I started spending hours on the internet googling things like: how to survive a shark attack (maintain eye contact and stay big or get small) and what to do if you’re trapped on a mountain in a blizzard (you’re totally going to die, or at least I am. Our thermostat is currently set to 79 degrees).
I’ve been like this as long as I can remember. I had a 4th grade teacher that told me: “Worry is like a rocking chair, it never gets you anywhere.”
“Oh, that’s nice,” 4th grade Liza thought, “but that rocking chair needs some wheels or a rocket booster if we’re ever going to escape from any bad guys.”
I started having bad dreams–anxiety dreams, as I now call them because I’m a pseudo grown-up person–in late elementary and middle school. I dreamed about the house catching on fire and me being left behind or forgotten. I had dreams where my family was killed and I was left alone to fend for myself. I had the more common dreams where you suddenly can’t fight, or run, or scream.
While anxiety dreams aren’t uncommon, I’ve long suspected I’m wired a bit differently because of the longevity and severity of mine.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to avoid many of the other pratfalls that come with anxiety because: 1. I don’t really talk to other people or leave my house; and 2. Amazon Prime.
Oh, the things you can find on Prime. Currently, I am the proud owner of a survival knapsack with gauze, a CPR mask, 8 billion cotton balls, a chest wound kit, and a pair of surgical tongs designed to remove bullets or shrapnel.
“What do you do for a living?” asked the nice young man loading my groceries into the very safe trunk of my very safe minivan– obviously, impressed at my assortment of flashlights, tools and small “travel hatchet”.
“I write children’s books,” I say.
Just last week, I ordered a paracord bracelet with a whistle, a magnesium fire-starter, a compass, and a wilderness scraping tool. I thoughtfully bought one for my husband, as well. Instead of thanking me for wanting him to survive a myriad of natural and/or manmade disasters when I showed him the bracelet, he forbade me from wearing it to his basketball games.
Like I would wear it to a game? I don’t need my paracord bracelet in the gym. The refs have plenty of whistles and I can start a fire with several of the electrical components present. Inside the gym, even the compass would be pointless. (Ha, how lucky someone with such a fabulous sense of humor survived the apocalypse, they’ll say). Plus, I’ve already mapped out every escape route from our seats.
But, because I love my husband, I agreed to the “no-5-in-1-survival-bracelets-to-basketball-games-rule” and I mailed my extra bracelet to my brother
All of these choices have led me to where I am now standing–when my husband walks into the kitchen holding my newly acquired 8-inch, neon orange, hunting and wilderness knife.
“Is this your knife?” he asks, strangely alarmed.
“Well, yes and no…it is also a seatbelt cutter and glass breaker in case the car is ever submerged in a large body of water. Oh! And somewhere on there is a another whistle.”
“Liza, we live in the desert. You only drive in the daytime. And you only go to the grocery store, Starbucks, and our daughter’s school. Why in the world do you need an 8-inch, neon orange, camo knife in the console of the your car?”
(Also, it’s a minivan.)Liza Dora is an author, illustrator, and Texan living in Tennessee with her husband and two children. Liza graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in chemistry and is the proudest member of the class of 2007.
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