MENTAL HEALTH

Anxiety Will Not Be Ignored — It Is A Persistent Jerk

How I faced my debilitating fear of flying, that grew into a fear of elevators, cars, ALL closed-in spaces, etc., etc.

Maj-le Bridges
5 min readNov 3, 2021

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Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

In the 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction, a married man has a fling with a woman who he dumps. She becomes singularly obsessed with him. She will not leave him alone, threatens to ruin his career and marriage, and in the most famous scene from the movie, boils his daughter’s pet bunny on the stove.

This is anxiety.

It cannot be cajoled, reasoned with, hung up on, or blocked on Twitter. As Glenn Close famously says in the movie, “I will not be ignored!” Anxiety daps to that. I thought I could ghost anxiety, Heisman-stiff arm it, ignore it. The takeaway? Don’t do what I did kids!

Enter Anxiety. Thanks Lufthansa.

It was the trip of a lifetime — a twelve day cruise on the Mediterranean to celebrate our anniversary. The ports of call in Italy and Greece were stunning. I even won the grand prize in cruise ship Bingo — a complementary upgrade to a suite with a guest bath, a living room and even a butler — Ronald. Sitting on our private deck in my plush robe, I gazed across the turquoise waters of the bay in Syracuse, Sicily. I breathed in the salty air. Perfection.

On the flight home, we experienced severe turbulence over Greenland. The kind of turbulence where flight attendants strapped in their jump seats do not say a word, the wings of the plane jerk so violently that it appears that they will snap off at any moment, and a woman kneels in the aisle praying the Rosary.

I thought I was going to die. I asked God to let me see my daughter again. At the same time, I said goodbye to my family — even the ones that I don’t like. I survived that flight, but what I didn’t know was that I took a heavy weight with me when the plane landed.

Anxiety: “Welcome to Hell.” Me: “What?”

Months later, when I approached the entrance to a plane, I involuntarily stopped short and was immediately flooded with a sense of dread and terror that I had never experienced before. I felt trapped. I couldn‘t breathe. My heart…

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Maj-le Bridges

Gen X-er, recovering lawyer, frustrated writer, Lego enthusiast and serial creative. Medium Top Writer | Published in Start It Up & Age of Awareness.