Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Gym Suite Part One: Social Anxiety and Other Triggers



I lead a charmed life, I truly do, or maybe it leads me. ~grin~ Yet I do face occasional stress. Social anxiety is perhaps the most common and very much a trigger for me. It’s an effort to mingle with strangers at the gym until I get into the physical groove and zone out.

Sudden noises, not even necessarily loud, are another problem.

Our home is very quiet, free of barking dogs and noisy people. My pets are two elderly cats and tropical fish, all very Zen companions.

At my neighborhood YMCA families troop through nearly nonstop. That’s especially true in the locker room, which naturally provides natatorium access. I cannot count how many times I have finished a relaxing swim or been grounded by resistance training only to have my calm shattered by slammed locker doors and screaming toddlers.

A few weeks ago I faced yet another swim meet. Besides self absorbed sports enthusiasts bowling me over at every turn, the announcements were broadcast in the locker room at deafening levels.

While in the fitness room I debated whether or not to bother showering there. I considered asking at the front desk if the sound could be lowered in the locker room. It seemed unlikely.

If only I had cotton with me, I thought. Then I remembered my cotton tipped ear swabs. Unfortunately that idea failed because the swabs were too narrow and could too easily injure my eardrums.

Ultimately I ended up using pieces of a torn up facial tissue. It worked, giving me an idea.

I went home, bagged up some cotton balls, and put them in my backpack. Now I block my ears upon every visit to that locker room. It has made a huge difference. I just wish the idea would have come to me sooner.

How about you? Do you suffer anxiety? Can you offer any suggestions on how to cope short of hiding in your house (which I have been known to do)?

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12 comments:

  1. Thank you for visiting my blog today. I am glad you did because now I came here and already like your blog. I also have social anxiety, I wouldn't be able to leave the house if it weren't for my little friend, Effexor. Not sure how you feel about medicine, but it definitely changed my life and I have been on it for 10 years with no side effects.

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    1. I'm glad to have found you, too, thanks to the A to Z Challenge linkup. ~grin~ I used to be on some serious meds that did seem to dull my senses a little while not totally easing my nerves. A deal with my partner let me quit my stressful job as long as I got off the medications, a more than fair trade. Thanks for the tip, though. I'll keep Effexor in mind.

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  2. I was a lot more anxious when I was younger. That's not to say I "grew out" of it. More like I've worked through some of those issues, finding some herbal remedies that help a bit and learning how to let go of some of the mental issues. It's a journey.

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    1. I'm glad you're doing better. I never would have imagined you ever suffering by all the things you do. It is a journey, indeed. Be well!

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  3. I have suffered from it and gotten really anxious many times. I was not something I had to deal with until a few years ago when I noticed a lot of things changing in how my body deals with things. With Fibromyalgia you find with each passing day new issues that develop, like getting anxious. The only way I learned to avoid the stress events that cause it is to do what you did, find a way to lower its impact on you. The cotton balls should do great. I suggest picking up a pair of earplugs. I worked very hard the last five to six years at avoiding people that cause stress in my life, which causes the anxious feeling. I avoid places (like work- I retired) that caused bad events. But learning to get around those events like the gym would be a one on one thing. Find the ways around the issue so that you can still be a part of things. Good luck with all that.

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    1. Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I cannot imagine dealing with a chronic illness. You are an inspiration. I hope you are having a good day.

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  4. I was brought up with four brothers and two sisters so I've become immune to noise over the years! My husband is one of four children so between us we have loads of relatives. I love my big family but the downside is that there is often some crisis going on. I have to zone out to a certain extent or I would be permanently stressed about other people's problems. I always do what I can to help but I have to remind myself "not my monkeys, not my circus". I always remember the words of my much-loved, wise father who said about his children and grandchildren, "You have to let them make their own mistakes or they will never learn."

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    1. Your father sounds a lot like mine, who is currently mad at me because I don't want to drop everything for a trip to Florida. Honestly, their retirement community is full of busybodies who will drive you insane repeating the same gossip and gripes. I just can't deal with that right now. Thanks for the thoughtful remarks. Be well!

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  5. I can imagine how disturbing this can be, Darla. I'm not a fan of loud noise either and loud voices took some getting used to when I went back to work after a long sabbatical. I'm glad you've found a work around.

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    1. I hope you are not too stressed at work. I can't imagine how I could return sanely to a day job. My retired partner and I are so far making ends meet. ~crosses fingers~ Thanks for stopping by! It's always a pleasure to read your words.

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  6. That was a good fix. I sure wish I could go to the Y, but its so expensive here, $50 a month for single person. They have scholarships for low income, but they only last six months and its still over $25 a month I would have to pay out. Oh well. I think I would be anxious in a gym setting. The cotton balls were a good "fix", haha, fixing on my mind always.

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    1. You are my inspiration when it comes to repairing things. ~hugs~ Sorry your local YMCA is so costly. My closest facility costs the most out of all in the Greater Dayton region but not that much (!), and worth it for the nicer equipment. Meanwhile, I like swimming at a YMCA to the south that DOES charge nearly $50 a month. Fortunately, as long as I visit the Springboro facility more often I can go anywhere within the Great Miami Valley chain at no additional charge. I'm so grateful a neighbor told me about the reciprocal membership. The Atrium Y reserves lanes for lap swimmers and has a hot tub in their natatorium! It's pretty awesome.

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Thank you for taking time to share your opinion. Hearing from readers adds immensely to my joy of writing!