I used to think my nervous cough was only mine, like there was only one Shamu. The day I overheard a woman from San Antonio saying THEY had Shamu at their Sea World I was so bewildered. How can there be more than one?
It is true: chronic coughing like I have with “MY Nervous Cough” is actually caused by fear and anxiety. There is even a name for it. Something Neuropathy, but I got freaked out while reading about it so I don’t remember the name. Not relevant to the story, anyway.
Just yesterday I was in Hollywood with my children, fifteen-year-old Emma and eleven-year-old Samuel. We also had two of Emma’s friends in our group. I was enjoying myself whole heartedly but when Emma and her friend, Sabrina, didn’t get a drink along with their fries and snack wrap, I had a minor/major coughing incident.
I had planned to take a sip of the drink because I was very thirsty and I hadn’t remembered there are plentiful places in the Hollywood/Highland complex that had inexpensive drinks.
I heard myself say, “You didn’t get anything to drink?” and bam. I huge cough barked up through my throat. A few more coughs and I left the table. I wanted to ask for a water but have you seen the lines a McDonald’s on Hollywood Boulevard generates? Seems everyone else had the same idea to use the restroom for the fee of fries and a snack wrap.
I stood, hand on my chest, coughing. I closed my eyes and “talked myself down” in my head. “Everything is fine. You are going to be fine.”
The last time I had a coughing fit related to a trip to Los Angeles it got so bad I vomited. Yes, it can get this bad.
All because of fear and anxiety and after yesterday, it seems to happen when I feel as if I have a lot of responsibility and the whole world might collapse if I let anyone down.
I talked about it to my former therapist, Adam, who was the finest therapist I have ever had the privilege to have such a relationship. Unfortunately he was also a PhD intern and has since left Bakersfield for… Los Angeles, ironically. I remember telling him how I finally got this crazy cough under control.
You can imagine how awkward it feels to see its reappearance, once again.
Uh oh, my throat is getting dry and scratchy and… oh, no. Not again.
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This post was prompted by my friends at The Scintilla Project.
The prompt went like this: Fears come in different sized packages. Tell the story of a time you had a face a fear, big or small.
What you just read was my story. What is yours?
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