Monday, January 6, 2014

Of Flashbacks and Fear

I did something that I hate doing today, and that was calling out of work because of the weather. I've driven in snow and ice, but today's weather is terrible: it's raining on top of snow that was never fully cleared from the roads, on top of storm drains completely blocked by ice. I looked outside and saw the weather advisories and started to feel the anxiety twisting in my gut and making my head throb. A few months after I got my car in 2005 I was driving home in similar weather conditions and went off the road, ending up in a deep ditch before a farmer's cow pasture. I was unhurt, thankfully, but my car had quite a bit of damage and since then, I've been really anxiety-ridden when driving in bad conditions involving rain, slush, and sleet. Today that anxiety is overwhelming, and I was tearing up as I called my boss to say I wouldn't be in.

The view from my kitchen. If you click the image, you can see the rutted slush in the road. There's a side street to the left that will probably flood today.

I love my job. I miss the people I work with when I'm not there (or when they're out). I enjoy what I do and why I do it. Today I just couldn't. I both love and hate the attitude of "you live in Maine, you should be able to drive in bad weather." On one hand, yes, yes we should know how to drive in the crap this state throws at us in the winter. On the other hand, I don't feel like I should take unnecessary risks to get somewhere, even to a job I love. Driving with my anxiety level so high would have been a nightmare, and honestly, I probably would have been in a foul "fuck the world" mood all day.

To keep my panic in check, I'm turning again to this blog, that I started two years ago to deal with the anxiety and depression of being unemployed. This is my therapy. It won't get rid of the  anxiety headache I already developed (but thanks to a Pepsi is starting to abate) but it helps me think through my worries and fears about today.

And for the curious, here's the statement that the police released about driving conditions in the town I work in:
Due to the inclement weather we are experiencing, the travel conditions within the City of Augusta and outlying areas are not improving as had been expected.  The sand and salt mix is not adhering to the road surfaces. There are a number of areas where plugged storm drains are preventing safe passage on some streets in the city.
We are asking travelers in the City of Augusta to limit travel unless absolutely necessary. IF that is not possible, please avoid the hilly areas and low lying areas where flooding is probable.  Please, drive with caution.  
Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

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