Have you ever had a moment where you take a step back from yourself and go, huh maybe that’s actually NOT normal…? A moment where something that has been so routine for you that you’ve never really thought deeply about it…only to suddenly have an “ah ha” moment where you realize that what your doing…may have more to it?
As I sit and try to process my own personal epiphany, I find a struggle to present the words and story in order. It’s a bit chaotic, but here is my realization of the day: anxiety does weird things you don’t even notice it does until you stop and realize that that thing you’re doing which seems totally normal to you…is not normal.
Due to a recent move, I’ve found myself living temporarily back home with family, which is both a blessing and a curse for a variety of reasons. But I find myself easily falling back into a routine as I live here. Every night before I go to bed, I say to my parents: “night night, love you, see you in the morning.” I have said this phrase before going to bed…for as long as I can remember. Always. If I don’t say it…I feel weird. Anxiety. Nervous. A tightening of the chest. A sense of dread. It’s almost…well to be honest, it’s almost a bit compulsive. Like I have to say it. If I don’t, what if something bad happens? What if my parents don’t make it through the night and my last words to them are completely arbitrary? What if somehow my telling them that I will see them in the morning…is what makes them there in the morning?
It’s unrealistic and not plausible. I realize this. My words won’t change anything. But the compulsion, the desire to say something, is still there. And as I said goodnight to them tonight, I found myself repeating the familiar words and then stopping and wondering…why?
After a period of reflection, I was able to trace this sensation. I read a book in my early tween/teen years where the protagonist lost her mother and her greatest regret was that she didn’t say “come home safe” before her mother left. She had said it every day when her mother left for work. The one day she didn’t say it…her mother didn’t come home. It stuck with me so strongly, left such an impression on me, and I so greatly empathized with the main character elsewhere…I think I began to develop anxiety from that. If it happened to this character…it could happen to me. That anxiety…I think…developed into the odd and mostly harmless compulsion I now find myself questioning.
Does this ring true for anyone else? Have you ever experienced something like this? Or am I overanalyzing myself here?