I do not do well in groups of people. Yesterday I needed to go to the Social Security office to pick up a letter stating my benefits. They have a brand new building. It is beautiful, light, airy, open, clean. Those things are important to me. There was plenty of seating even though there were probably 2 dozen people there. The wait time was short, especially for the SS office. The woman who assisted me was so very nice, pleasant, patient, kind. The seating was not crowded, I get really freaked out when I am surrounded by strangers, sometimes even people who are not strangers. I don't want to make small talk, I don't want to smell perfume or tobacco or b.o. I definitely do not want to be touched, even as simply as brushing shoulders. I am hearing impaired so when I am in an office waiting to be called I am always straining to hear, to understand what is coming over the loudspeaker, or the person calling people back, and that straining makes me stressed and tensed. Because of my hearing impairment I don't want someone to lean over and quietly say something to me because I will not understand. I didn't ask anyone to go with me because I am trying to not be dependant on other people. So, I know I have to do it because I have to have this letter to take to a state mental health place and ask them for help on Tues. I didn't go until around 1 p.m. on Friday---had to get myself mentally ready. Since I am going to do this by myself that means I have to drive myself. After my breakdown I didn't drive for months and months. When I did start driving I was a danger to me and to others because I literally believed every single car and truck in sight was going to hit me. I haven't caused any wrecks and I haven't swerved in front of anyone, I just think ok one of these cars is going to hit me and I will have a heart attack because my chest is already strained too far from trying to do this, if I have a heart attack then that willl cause a wreck. I've been driving for 6 months now, although rarely. Some days I think everyone is going to hit me and some days I don't, and I avoid highways and traffic if I possibly can. I really just try not to drive anywhere. The "every car is going to hit me" feeling is less often than it used to be. Driving to the SS office clear across town on Friday was one of the days I thought everyone was going to hit me. The only sensible way to get there is to take the interstate and of course there was traffic, more than I am comfortable with. People zipping around, changing lanes, getting on and off the interstate--and I think each one is going to hit me. I pull into the parking lot and another fear hits me. Where to park that I won't hit someone as I am trying to pull out and leave? Have I hit people in the past? No, just something I worry over. Get parked and give myself the "you can enter this building just fine" talk and finally get out of the car. Go in. I think I am going to have a heart attack but I know I won't so I am giving myself the "get a grip, you are NOT going to have a heart attack. You do NOT need to RUN" talk. Ok fine. Get through 2 doors into the open space (sometimes open spaces seem way too open) and the sign on the door said to sign in at the computers. I don't see the computers. I DON'T SEE THE COMPUTERS. Deer in the headlight feeling. OK, I see the computers way over there. Why are they not right where you come in the door? Ok fine. Approach the computer. There is a sign next to it that says if you are hearing impaired tell the guard now. I'm hearing impaired. I don't see a guard. I DON'T SEE A GUARD! Give myself the "just do the task at hand" talk. I am ok with computers but I look at the computer screen and there are choices. I can read. I can comphrehend. But when I am stressed I can't. I looked at that screen like it was printed in Arabic and I stressed way out. I tried to read but I couldn't comphrehend. I see words. I can't make them make sense. All I want is to talk to a human and explain about the letter I need to take to the Texas Mental Health place stating what I get in disability and when I can get medicare or medicaid. That doesn't seem to be a choice. I just stare at the screen and have no idea what it says even though I can read every word, I know I can, I've been reading for 51 years. I just can't connect them and make them make sense. I see the letters but to see them together as a word is just too much, The letters go on forever. Finally I see the words lost social security card and I understand that so I click on that. I'm thinking at least that will get me to a person, and by the way, where is my social security card??? Ok fine. I get a stub with a letter and a number. Great. I can not understand consonants. I was Z24 but Z's, C's, B's, D's, G's...those all sound alike to me. When your number comes up it is announced over a loudspeaker. While I am waiting I am getting more stressed because it seems like each time they make an announcement it is a different letter. I was hoping everyone was "z" and all I had to listen for was the 24. Where is that guard so I can tell him I need help knowing when my number comes up?? Give myself the "calm down" talk. Everyone is minding their own business. I always bring a book so I can keep my eyes on the book. Doesn't mean I will be able to read it but if I keep my eyes on it everyone will leave me alone and if I calm down enough I might be able to read it. It is a security blanket if nothing else. Security blanket....don't leave home without it. Every now and then some lady blurts out something real loud. I have no idea what she is saying or who she is talking to or even where she is because I am on the front row and everyone is behind me. Quiet, and then she blurts out something and that doesn't help my nerves any. Is sort of like a clap of thunder when you don't expect it. What if she is tired of waiting and is angry...she sounds angry...and pulls a gun out of her purse and starts shooting all of us so it will be her turn? Give myself the "calm down, don't run out the door, chill out" talk. Sometimes I just feel like I need to RUN, and no I am not a runner or jogger. Ok fine. The loudspeaker announces a number and after the second time and no one moving I decide that must be me. I get the sweet, kind lady. It is over in approximately 3 minutes. No surprises, I already knew what she would tell me....I am eligible for medicare in October 2012. Here is a letter verifying that I receive disability in this amount and the notation about medicare. I will be getting a replacement SS card in two weeks. Can she do anything else for me? Doesn't rush me at all. Thank you, Lord, because people who rush me shut my mind down even further. She tells me she likes my folder.Not the folder in her file! I brought a pink expandable folder with documents in it in case I need to prove it is me, but just my drivers licenses suffices.. I know she feels my tension and is just trying to soothe me. Lord, please bless this woman for she is kind. I get to the car and just bawl. I let all the tension out and just tune up and bawl. Couldn't hold it in any longer if I tried. Need someone, just need to hear a comforting voice. I call my daughter. She is just about to walk out the door to go to a dr's appt. Call my son and ask if he has time to do something with me. He is with his girlfriend. Talk to him a minute. That helps, he sounds good. Call my other son. He doesn't answer. My other daughter is at work so I talk to God. Should have thought of him first anyway. Think I have to have a Coke. Drive to a PakaSak. I'm driving slow because I have swimming in tears eyes and I do think every car just about hits me. Sit in their parking lot and have another tension bawling spell in the 103 heat until I can get the tears to stop and go inside. Ahhh, Coke. Ahhh, ice. Ahhhh, it is 103 degrees and iced coke is good. I drive home to my dogs and am so grateful for them. They are happy to see me, they love me, they are glad I am home. Everyone should have dogs. They all want in my lap and to give me kisses. I lock my door, I talk to them and pet them and the anxiety finally goes away. Until next week.
Monday I have to go to the tax office and file for a homestead to reduce taxes; tuesday I have to go to the TX Mental Health place and talk to a man (I prefer to talk to women, men make me nervous but I got assigned to Billy) and I know that place, I've taken my daughter there....it is not beautiful, clean, serene, open, spacious but it is sometimes smelly. The wait there is not a pleasant one. Wed . is therapy and that will be pretty much ok. Thurs I have planned to call my mortgage holder and ask about the FHA Streamline program. It is a program to refinance your FHA loan at no cost but at a lower % rate. A lower interest rate would help. Friday is just for me to rest and regroup. Mason and Travis will be here after school. Oh dear. I need to find out if Becky needs me to drive across town to their school and pick them up, and cook them dinner. (a week later....i just realized this is July, they are not in school, they are at their dad and stepmom's, and i have a bigger memory problem than i thought evidently) Hello, my name is Carol and I have a problem, I have anxiety