‘Nowhere to breathe easy’ – That Time When Anxiety Spoiled My Chance to See Heart and Joan Jett Perform. Here’s How It Happened.

We may still have time, we might still get by
Every time I think about it, I want to cry
With bombs and the devil and the kids keep coming
Nowhere to breathe easy, no time to be young
But I tell myself that I was doing alright
There’s nothing left to do tonight
But go crazy on you

Anxiety is terrible. I’ve missed so many important-to-me moments that I’ll never get back. Seeing the Wilson sisters and Joan Jett is now one of those things.

I did get myself to an appt to get my hair cut earlir in the day. Then I was told the photo session I was preparing my hair for will not happen. So that was a huge waste of my emotional and physical resources. That’s the sort of disappointment in life that happens. But when you only have so much energy go around, it can have a disproporationate impact.

I came home, made a sandwich, drank some water. My chest was getting heavier with each breath. But there was a plan – tickets, parking, chairs, dinner, even snacks. All I had to do was follow the plan. Once I was at the concert, I would feel safe.

But it didn’t work. The plan broke down as I slogged through a week of being pushed to meet other people’s schedules, of unanswered email, of texts not returned, of major new projects languishing while someone just didn’t follow through.

All I heard this week is “you are wrong and here’s why” and it took a toll on me.

I wanted this show. I wanted to sit in the grass, enjoy the summer evening, be with my friends, and listen to music created by magnificent women who have inspired me my whole life. I’ve been waiting for this for months. I could taste how much I wanted this experience.

I’m super stressed about money, about the decaying infrastructure of Persad, about these animals depending on me. I’m distraught because someone gossiped about me disappointing their kids 1x and it got back to me with no mention of the 99.9% of the times I showed up. I’m dismayed because all I can recall from this week are the harsh words, the small cruelties, the times my needs crashed into someone else’s needs, the household tasks undone. The failures and rejections. The smallness of my life.

And the nightmares every night. I take a PTSD med that targets nightmares but it’s not working. Not scream in the night mares, but the drawn out terrible symbolic, deep fears playing out nightmares. I wake up terrified every day this week.

One is a distortion of a recurring, familiar memory of something I don’t understand. The memory is not particularly frightening, just terribly odd. My dreams infuse it with venom and terror, turning it into threatening images. My therapist suggests we try EMDR next week with that memory.

But next week on therapy day, the dog has surgery. There’s another show scheduled that night. So I postpone EMDR so I’m not too upset to drive to the vet’s office that afternoon. I have to, absolutely must, be somewhere next Thursday afternoon.

Today is just another one of those days
When I wish I had me one of those
Today is just another one of those days
When I wish I had me one of those heroes


All of this crashes over me today as I sit and wait for the day to be over. I’m losing track of time which is a coping mechanism of trauma, but my internal clock knows it’s almost time. The adrenaline surges through me, crushing my chest. I know it’s real, but not medical. My heart is fine, broken but not ruined.

If I could just do one thing on the list, it might be okay. But I got my haircut for an event that fell through in spite of weeks planning. That’s disappointing. I could have spent that time working on the plan. And I feel it all just slip away.

I can’t go. Again. I disappointed myself. Again. I wasted money and time and energy. Again. I’ll never have this opportunity again. Again.

But all I feel right now is blessed relief that I don’t have to go. Again.

Tomorrow will be filled with shame, regret, self-loathing, fear, and aching sadness. Again.

Anxiety is cruel in its capacity to erode our precious and rare moments of joy. I’ve lost far more than a concert ticket to these demons, so I have perspective.

Maybe I really am the person who disappoints kids and makes unreasonable requests for sober events and can never spin enough gold to offset my very corroded early life.

Its 5:43 and they went to the show without me like I urged them to do. Again.

I won’t listen to Heart or Joan Jett for a long, long time to avoid this new memory. I’ll just find some new thing to do and hope maybe something will change.

That’s the new plan. Again.

Note that Ann Wilson also lives with anxiety.

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