When visiting my new home, weep not for the Detached Garage 

Sometimes I see a look of disappointment when someone comments on the detached garage at my family’s new home.

What they undoubtedly are unaware of is that ever since I was a young man in Junior High, the unexpected whir of a garage door opening has about a 70% chance of inducing a panic attack that requires meditation and rapid talking myself down, or benzos to remove the onset of anxiety that knocks the wind out of me.

The short version is that there was a high probability that the garage door rolling up beneath my feet meant that my mother’s husband had come home. So now 20 years later, that feeling of dread and waves of stress from anxiously analyzing the long list of things he could be angry about that could result in anything from being grounded for a week to more dire consequences for myself or my mother because of something I didn’t do to his satisfaction as Lord Dickbag, Knight of the Lazyboy.

It always tweaked Liz weirdly that I wanted to know when to expect her home. It tweaked me, too.

But my new home for my family that is safe and loved the best way I know how to keep them safe and loved will never have that association of tension and anxiety by proxy. I do not panic at the arrival of my wife and children. I run to greet them as they run to greet me.

G-d bless the souls of the architects and builders of my home, what an amazing gift they have given me, that I may have time to heal through those wounds without a constant and grinding reminder.


NPR Interview: Scott Stossel, Author Of My Age Of Anxiety

I have a few things in common with Scott Stossel; I haven’t vomited since 1984 and it is the epicenter of a wide range of other fears, phobias, and avoidance behavior.

In an Atlantic essay adapted from his book, Scott Stossel writes, “I have, since the age of about 2, been a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears and neuroses. With the rational part of my brain I realize how completely irrational this is. I mean, the amount of time since I was 7 years old that I’ve spent worrying about something … that I’ve spent 0 percent of the last 30 some odd years doing, it makes no sense.

I know it makes no sense, and yet here I am.

Interview: Scott Stossel, Author Of My Age Of Anxiety : NPR


For instance, the fear of vomiting, it makes me afraid of travel because I’m afraid I’ll vomit far from home. It makes me afraid of flying not for the conventional reason that I’m afraid that the plane will crash, although I also have that, but I’m afraid I’ll get motion sick and get nauseous. […]

The fear of germs is obviously directly tied to that. The horrible kind of self-fulfilling vicious cycle of emetophobia is that if youre prone to acute anxiety and nervousness, as I am, it often manifests itself with stomach symptoms. […]