Remember the famous line – “The call is coming from in the house?”- from a classic urban legend horror scene? When it’s discovered that the prank calls are coming from inside the house, the scare factor goes up exponentially. Some people consider that scene to be one of the scariest openings in horror movie history.
It kind of happened to me the other day. I was walking around a store and I kept jumping because my heart would explode into thumping wildly just like someone jumped out at me to scare me. I would calm down, and then it would happen again, and again. It was a bit creepy to figure out… it was coming from inside me.
The culprits are anxiety and alexithymia (the inability to identify or explain emotions). I’m extremely anxious, yet I have no other emotions to go with it to know why. The scare, accompanied by a wildly beating heart, comes completely out of the blue with no obvious reason.
It’s the stranger upstairs lurking in the shadows of my brain like the intruder in that urban legend horror scene. Anxiety and alexithymia are a tricky combination to manage. It takes lots of intentional positive thinking, self-care, staying in the moment, and body awareness to keep my anxiety down and possibly recognize an emotion even if I can’t name it. The more I practice these skills, the better I can cope.
While anxiety and alexithymia together are challenging, I’d still prefer managing them to a creepy prank phone call coming from inside my house!