One of the defining moments in my childhood came when a teacher told us in fourth grade about the ebola virus. She laid out exactly how it would wipe us all out. It was rather graphic discussion for a fourth grade class and she wasn’t much of a teacher to be blunt. But I remember that incident because I had a violent anxiety attack that afternoon that resulted in me being unable to function. My counselor tried but a germaphobe was born I fear.
There have been other apocalyptic moments in my life. In my freshman semester of college, I became fixated on global warming. I wasn’t wrong but I was overly obsessed with it and couldn’t function at times. After college, it was the economy. Same situation. I was right but it destroyed me.
And now I’m here. I’m obsessed with the idea we are heading to a period of apocalypse, this one social. I am studying every warning sign. I look at every piece of evidence that something horrible is about to happen. I follow every vote. I monitor it all.
What makes this so awful is this: For the first time ever, I am in an echo chamber with nobody to help me. My peers are making it worse in fact. If I share my concerns, I’m told repeatedly a great purge and die off are coming. Yeah, I’m just getting walls of help I stress.
It’s taken a physical toll on me. I’m unable to sleep. I’m having trouble eating and when I do eat, not well. I’m definitely going through severe depression. It’s just bad.
I’ve felt very alone because I don’t know how to handle it. My usual outlet of social media is only making things worse. I don’t want to burden those I know in person. I’m alone frankly.
And I think my great pain is that I can’t give up and accept things are awful and that’s just how it is. I might get to if I was alone in life. Then I could give up as completely as possible. I could go full bunker and punish me before they punish me. I could go very far with this.
I can’t. I have a wife and daughter who need me. For them I must keep going. There’s nothing more to add to that. But the pain and fear don’t go away. They can’t. So I have to try to make sense of everything.
Looking back at the previous panics a pattern emerges. Ebola was within 6 months of the move. Global warming was during first semester of college. Economy hit just when I was out on my own. This hit during Lola’s first year. Every apocalypse accompanied a period of true change in my life. And they all were real, albeit with varying degrees of direct impact.
There’s also a theme to what I fear. It’s all a grand impersonal threat that affects me. I think on a micro scale so I have trouble no matter how old I get with the macro. My brain just isn’t built for it. I can’t grasp that I’m just a speck in all of this. The universe doesn’t consider me at all and that’s scarier than if it did.
The hard truth is in this moment I don’t have answers. That is the nature of a panic like this after all, fearing the unknown. I just know I have to keep going. I am in therapy. I am taking my meds. I am trying to use every technique I have.
This fear won’t ever escape me I suspect. It’s how I’m wired. All I know is I don’t get to quit. I must fight on.