I think everyone has what I refer to as situational anxiety on occasion. Some of us more than others, some of us more severely, or less severely than others. But, I definitely think that everyone experiences mild anxiety sometimes.
Like one morning a few weeks back, when I had to put air in my car tires and my brain played a scenario is which I over-filled the tires and one popped in my face and I died in the Speedway parking lot.
You can laugh, but I’m not kidding.
The whole drive over I was pep talking myself, like ‘Okay, but if you don’t put air in, one could pop while you’re driving on the highway today and you could die, or kill someone, so you really don’t have a choice…”
Or almost any time I use a sharp knife, I visualize accidentally cutting my finger off right before I use it. (Maybe that’s just weird, not anxiety)
I was prescribed medication for my not so situational, more like constant anxiety in 2014 and I took it for about a year, at which point I had lost a good portion of my excess weight, was on the verge of quitting my less than thrilling and somewhat stressful job, and my occasional depression was also under control.
In the first few days that I was taking said medication, I had my first visit with the surgeon who would eventually perform my gastric sleeve. In advance of the appointment, and really with any appointment you have with them, they encouraged you to bring a “support person” if that would ease any tension, or help you stay focused on any concerns or questions.
I never dragged Steve along to any of them, except the actual surgeon appointment. So he could ask any questions, and meet her prior to her removing half of my stomach.
In the days leading up to the appointment, I replayed the routine. Every appointment I had was the same, they weighed you.
When I had back to back appointments I would sometimes be weighed multiple times in one afternoon.
I immediately tensed up.
He would be there.
He would see them weigh me.
He would see the giant digital output on the scale.
He can’t come with me.
He can’t see.
He can’t know.
I mean, in retrospect the whole thing was ridiculous, because we had been living together for a few years at this point and it’s not like I was head-to-toe Spanx all day every day and he didn’t know I was overweight.
Also, uhhhh, he was coming to a doctor’s appointment about having weight loss surgery.
I sent an email to my surgeon’s physician assistant who I had met with before, and expressed my concern.
“I know this is going to sound silly…” I started out
“Don’t worry, it’s more common than you think and we will take your vitals privately” she noted in her response.
The day of the appointment we go into the office an I go up to check in. I fill out the usual updates to the paperwork, and again, tell the girl at the desk about my concern regarding Steve learning my actual weight.
She laughs comfortingly, and tells me that they’ll take me in first for vitals, and then for the actual appointment they’ll call us both in.
A few minutes later we are called in to meet my surgeon for the first time. I remember how perfect she looked; almost flawless with her pin straight hair, glossy manicure, all smiles and gold iPhone in hand.
We were fast friends, and Steve even teased her about her off the cuff drawing of a stomach. After our getting-to-know-you session, we got down to the facts and planning.
She reviewed my chart, almost gave me a heart attack before clarifying “something that is really concerning” (high a1C, indicative of future diabetes) and said that everything looked great and there were no red flags, so she was approving me.
“You’ll have a forty-eight hour liquid diet before surgery.”
“Not a problem”
“And I see here you have been working with Jill (my nutritionist) and have lost about six pounds, which is great”
Sweet, I thought, this is happening.
Steve and I nod approvingly at each other.
She continued, “Really just another pound or so should do it …”
“We have you at 271 today, so …..”
I cannot tell you anything she said at the end of the sentence because I was probably bell pepper red and if you touched my face it might have singed your skin while I was trying to figure out how to slide all two hundred seventy one pounds of myself off the couch onto the floor and out the damn door.
We walked eighty-seven miles to the parking garage, midway through he said “Are you psyched or what? You don’t seem as excited now that it’s happening”
I’m all “Bro (yea, I called him bro) she outed me! I made sure everyone we saw today knew not to say my weight out loud”
Walk, walk, walk.
“You were worried about that? Pffft, I didn’t even hear her, what’d she say?”
He heard her, he had to have.
“What, 171? I really didn’t hear”
“Who cares, you’re approved”
We high five.
He opens the passenger door for me and kisses my forehead.