Anxiety, yesterday and tomorrow

Last night I had to drive to choir practice myself, and I had a panic attack on the way. I managed to push through it and felt fine when I got there. So of course I had another panic attack on the way home, because my brain decided that no, proof of being able to drive safely is NOT enough anymore to sustain a lack of anxiety when driving.

Tomorrow I am going in for an angiogram and potential angioplasty (depending on what it turns up). The procedure itself is pretty straightforward and primarily preventative; non-invasive imaging was inconclusive as to how much arterial blockage I have (if any), and I seem to have an arterial abnormality that makes imaging difficult. So it is out of an abundance of caution that I am getting the angiogram, and if any blockage is found it will be mitigated, and perhaps a stent will be installed as well (although my dad also has an arterial abnormality which made a stent installation impossible for him when he went through a similar thing, in a much more emergent situation).

I’m trying to convince myself that the procedure is routine and that the likelihood of it causing any harm to me is much, much lower than the harm of having this not be done. Any problems which emerge during the procedure are well-timed because I will already be in a hospital with folks knowing exactly what’s going on. But anxiety is awful, and it’s very easy for me to spiral in an ouroboros of worry.

My biggest worry is that in the worst case, what will happen to my cats?

My next biggest worry is, what will happen to all my projects? I have so many unfinished albums, so many works in progress, so many comics on the backburner. I’ve been rebuilding my VRChat avatar from scratch now that I’m a lot better at Blender. I have so many friends who will likely never know what happened to me if the worst happens (which is why I’m posting this blog entry, really).

It’s also important to remember that regardless of these known moments of dread, there are so many random things that could happen at any time that I can’t prepare for. Nobody can predict the future with any reasonable level of accuracy. If I were to spend all my time catastrophizing about what could happen every time I left the house, I’d never leave the house — and then I’d catastrophize about all of the things that could happen as a result of that, too.

I try to maintain a philosophy of optimistic nihilism; all things are temporary. It brings me comfort in the big picture, to think that whatever happens, happens, and that ultimately nothing I do makes any real difference on the universe. But I still can’t help but worry about oblivion, and about leaving a hole in the world around me, or perhaps worse, that hole not even being noticed.

I need to remember that I have led a good life, and no matter what happens, I know I’m leaving the world a better place than how I found it, whenever I do leave.

But hopefully it’ll be a long time before that happens. And tomorrow’s procedure is part of ensuring that.

Whatever comes of tomorrow’s procedure, my overall anxiety level should at least lessen. Hopefully not in a monkey’s paw way. We’ll see.


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