I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in recent years I’ve noticed something about myself that maybe I should talk to a therapist about – so here I am sharing it with you all as my therapy!
I am always looking for a way out. An exit strategy. And I mean this in a very literal sense.
I prefer the end seat on planes, I sit by the doors on the train – always with an exit in sight. I just don’t want any obstacles between me and leaving whenever I want.
It’s not really that extreme. If I have to, I’ll take a middle seat or move to the middle of the train but if it’s up to me, you’ll see me by the door. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal, but in recent years, I’ve seen a related issue escalate.
A few years ago, I was at a Pink concert with my husband. I was sick but I rallied with Red Bull and cold meds because I was dying to see her forever. We had nosebleed seats and I just couldn’t take it. I had a breakdown that looked like a bad trip on Molly. We ended up going downstairs and watching the show from the hall on a lower level. Now, whenever I go to concerts, I get nervous that it’s going to happen again.
And it did. I was at Lollapalooza in 2013. One of the headliners was Mumford and Sons. They drew an enormous crowd. Thousands upon thousands of people. I got to a landing where I could see the crowd and became overwhelmed. I left the area, hyperventilating and ready to puke.
For someone who commutes in the crowds on NYC everyday, it’s strange to suddenly be bothered by crowds in certain settings, and beyond being strange, it’s startling. Whenever I sense the familiar feeling of anxiety and unease coming, I have to talk myself down. I have to take note of my exits, just in case, even though I know nothing is going to happen. I have to take deep breaths and close my eyes.
I really don’t know how or when this developed, but I’m managing it for now, so if you ever see me on a plane or train, if possible, can I have the exit seat?