Zoot in NYC

Day 4: Panic is exhausting.

I’ve got to keep this one short (and probably without proofing because I don’t have much time) because I’ve been wasting time this morning reading everything I can for my first subway ride and I’m terrified and I can’t think of anything else. Also? Don’t let my pictures fool you, I’m definitely having moments of panic. Not as many as I thought, but they’re very much happening and I’ll get more into that later.

But in short: We started the day yesterday at by riding the Tram to Roosevelt Island and it was perfect and lovely and only a little scary but not crowded so it was no big deal. Roosevelt Island is amazing. Just a mostly-residential island with a gorgeous walking patch around the perimeter and some beautiful parks at either end.

We also later went to MoMA which has been closed for renovations for awhile and we also went to a Rangers game.

Partly because we walked 30,000 steps, partly because we were out late, and mainly because it turns out evening walking in NYC is rough on my soul, I had to fight of panic the whole 35 minute walk back to the hotel last night. And then I shame-spiraled into apologies and tears to Donnie when we got back.

I think the crowds and sounds are rough, but at night there’s just so much SAD happening. Homeless people are settling into their nooks and cranies, or they’re trying to approach people for money, or they’re holding signs that say, “HOMELESS AND PREGNANT” or they’re just pulling down their pants in a bus stop to do who knows what and it’s just too much for my empathetic, inexperienced, small-town soul. Everything you read tells you to just keep moving, you can’t help everyone, the city doesn’t want to encourage panhandling etc etc etc. But at night, it’s all right there and I become very overwhelmed with sadness and I was doing my best to keep my panic under control with my breathing but it’s also garbage day and so we’re passing everyone’s piles of trash as I’m trying to breathe deep and not cry while see so many people in need but also it’s so crowded and loud and…well…it was just too much.

It was a great day over all, every day has been great overall, but I don’t want my smiling selfies to give off the wrong impression. There are moments of intense struggle and I’m doing better than expected but I’m not doing great and when I “fail” at managing my anxiety it always triggers a shame spiral where I’m dualing “I’m so sorry…” and “But at least be proud of how much I’ve done…” sob-filled rants to my husband who struggles to navigate my panicked spirals when he’s also tired and worn out and also sore from the death grip I kept on his hand for 45 minutes.

We’re braving the subway today. This is the part I’ve been the most scared of the whole trip. Finger’s crossed. If I can relax after this I’ll try to share more photos and such tomorrow. Otherwise, check my instagram…there’s more there!

4 thoughts on “Day 4: Panic is exhausting.”

  1. Love that your documenting the trip.

    As a anxiety suffer I’m going to tell you, you have this. Look at everything you have down in the past few days and enjoyed. At night remember to put your headphones on and let Donnie lead your way. Just keep your eyes up and look for something cheerful. I now seeing people who are homeless is heartbreaking. If you can afford to find a shelter drop a small monetary gift. That way you know you are giving back to a city that you are enjoying.

    Go, have more fun. I need pics

  2. The Subway may not be as frightening as you think. I am wondering if going by uber might be better for you. Rebecca went to NY a year ago and that is how they traveled and she had many fears about the trip also. Try to stop feeling guilty about panic attacks. That is probably causing more anxiety and panic. Continue to take in the sights. I love how you have picked places to visit

  3. Neither my husband nor I have ever been to NYC. I would probably be having much the same emotions around logistics and exposure to the hard-to-see things, and I know he would be freaking about the crowds and noise. I still want to go one day though.

  4. You are doing great! I agree that you are not going to like the Subway but I also believe it is not going to be as bad as you fear. You are not”failing’- you have an anxiety disorder. You know this, you know what triggers it and you are planning how to deal with it the best way you know how. You are not failing’ because you are not letting your anxiety keeping you from doing these things. You are succeeding because you know how you will react and you are doing it anyway with a plan to manage it. Well done you!

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