The episodes of panic are suffocating. Sheer terror grips me for several minutes at a time and I lie in my bed completely immobilized.

I picture small anxiety gnomes hopping on my head and swinging from my earlobes, fighting each other and clamoring loudly to force entry into my body. Some wriggle into my ears. Other squirm their way into my nostrils. The really feisty anxiety gnomes hold my nose and pry open my lips and when I gasp for much needed oxygen they jump onto my tongue and slide down towards the back of my throat causing me to gag on their oily, bitter bodies.

This is not a dream.

Every morning my alarm goes off (at a reasonable hour – I’m unemployed, mind you) and after I switch off “Tune_AssemblyLine”, I lie in bed for several minutes thinking. A piece of advice to other recent grads without full time jobs: DO NOT THINK FIRST THING IN THE MORNING. If you do, here’s what will happen.

It’s early – your usual guards are down. You are tired. You don’t have the energy to smile yet and act peppy. You start thinking whether it’s time to get up and brush your teeth. Then, you think, well – if I’m getting up to brush my teeth I might as well get up officially for the day. You might think about the breakfast you’ll make which will remind you that today was also the day you swore you’d go to the gym. But, thinking about the gym makes you remember the unopened How To Become A Personal Trainer textbook sitting on your bookshelf which makes you recall your earlier determination to get PT certified and get a job in health & fitness. You look at your bookshelf. You can’t help but notice the pile of old clothes and shoes you set aside months ago hoping to give to the homeless. Of course, when you called the shelter they informed you that they did not want any of YOUR clothes but rather men’s dress clothes. Um. Okayyyy. So there they sat. A bag of women’s tank tops and cardigans; t-shirts and sweatpants; slippers and toiletries. What was once the inklings of a selfless good deed, has become a constant reminder that I a) still live in the apartment I lived in for 3 years of college. b) Am apparently too self-centered and egotistical to find a Salvation Army drop off near campus and c) So frazzled and stressed I’m clearly multi-tasking and inevitably accomplishing even less than if I sat down and completed task by task individually. I am scattered. I am scattered and I am panicked.

More specifically, today is July 13th. On August 18th the renters come back and I need to have my bed, dresser, desk, couch, armchairs, rugs, kitchen table, microwave, lamps, storage containers, clothes, shoes, TV, coffee table, and bookshelves packed up and moved away from this apartment. Where these items will go – I have no idea. Will they stay nearby in a new Hyde Park apartment? Will the travel north towards Lincoln Park / Wrigleyville? Or, will my belongings inevitably begin the 12 hour trip back to DC?

and, And, ANDDD on August 18th, will I know where I’m going? Will I have any sort of plan in place?

This limbo world is way less relaxing than I thought it would be. I can’t wait for the anxiety gnomes to stop attacking my face every morning.

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