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How can I better handle anxiety from bad memories from when I was 14?

  • Thread starter Stuck in the Middle
  • Start date

Would you notice a teen boy riding between a younger girl and a woman in a pickup truck?

  • I would not have even noticed how everyone was seated in the truck

    Votes: 6 75.0%
  • I would have noticed how everyone was seated but not though anything about it

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • I would have noticed how everyone was seated and though it was kind of odd

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • I would have noticed how everyone was seated & thought the boy must be a little off

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    8
S

Stuck in the Middle

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There are some memories that happened the spring I was 14 years old that I still think about almost daily and that cause me tremendous anxiety over 28 years later. In both memories, my mother was borrowing my grandfathers old red Toyota pickup truck because her suburban was in the shop and I was having to ride in the middle between she and my 10 year old sister. In both memories, me and my sister had to spend a while waiting in the truck for our mother, and then when she finally got in she couldn’t get the truck to start because it had a dead battery.


I remember the first memory happened on a Saturday afternoon at my grandparent’s house. My father dropped me, my mother, and my sister off there to get the truck and then left to go to his office once my mother unlocked their house and confirmed she found the truck keys. That day I remember we spent a few hours at my grandparents house checking on things because they were spending a few months in Florida. I remember I was playing in the back yard when my sister approached me with the truck keys and told me “mommy wanted us to go ahead and get in the truck and I needed to get in first since I was sitting in the middle”. I remember I tried to argue with my mother about my sister getting to choose the window seat and me being stuck in the middle when she reminded me it was my sisters day to choose her seat and I could choose the window seat on my days to choose when we were using the truck. I remember I then tried to convince my mother it would be really embarrassing if anyone saw me sitting between her and my little sister, and she snapped back that was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. She then told me if I didn’t go and get in the truck and buckle-up in the middle seat that she would let my sister have the window seat the entire time we were using the truck. At that point I reluctantly followed my sister out to the red truck and then scooted across the light brown vinyl bench seat to the middle and then reluctantly fastened the brown lap belt around my waist. I remember I spent a minute or two in the cab by myself while my sister took the keys back to our mother and it wasn’t very comfortable having my feet on the bump and my knees straddling the stick shift. I also remember the truck cab really stunk but I though it was because it had been sitting for several weeks. When my sister got back in, I remember it was even more uncomfortable because she was pressed up against my right side and her breath stunk and I had to smell it whenever she talked. I remember she quickly noticed the truck stunk and kept accusing me of tooting. I remember we had to spend at least 25-30 minutes in the cab waiting for our mother to first finish cutting flowers in their yard; then take some to their neighbors who were getting their mail and disappeared in their house for several minutes; then spent a while in my grandparents house going through the mail. I remember I was bored to death waiting in the truck and was focusing on things like my sisters sandals being the same share of light brown as the bench seat and glove box an our reflection on the windshield and how much taller I was than my sister. When my mother finally got in the truck, I remember I felt even more squished with her pressed up against my left side and that her breath smelled even worse than my sisters. I remember I was stuck between them while my mother adjusted the mirrors and talked to my sister and that there was no way I could avoid smelling their breath. Once my mother had everything adjusted the way she wanted it, I remember she turned the key to start the truck and the engine turned over several times but didn’t start up and the sound of the engine starting was replaced by an annoying buzzing sound and the dash illuminated with red lights. I remember my mother kept pumping on the accelerator and turning the key trying to start the truck and the I kept thinking it would start-up but that each crank ended with the buzzing sound and dash full of red lights. I remember the longer my mother spent trying to start the truck, the more uncomfortable I was getting because she was getting more and more frustrated and my sister kept leaning into my space to get a closer look. I remember I felt so helpless being stuck in the middle seat between then since there was no way I could open a door and jump out. I remember after my mother had spent several minutes trying to start the truck, the battery started sounding weaker until nothing happened when she turned the key except a faint buzzing sound and dim red lights. I remember she told us she would call her father to come give us a jump start and then she got out of the truck and then me and my sister unbuckled and got out the passenger side. As I was climbing out of the truck, I remember my sister let our a loud scream and then told me I had stepped in poo and that was what we were smelling. While we were waiting for my father to come, I remember I had to first get my shoe cleaned off and then work on cleaning off the hump in the middle of the truck while I had tracked dog poop all over. I remember we waited a while for my father and that once he got the truck started my mother and sister drove it home and he and I followed them in his car.


I remember the truck sat in our driveway on Sunday and was not used again until Monday morning when my mother was driving me and my sister to school. This is when the second bad memory happened. I remember when me and my sister were both ready to go my mother led us out to the truck and then opened the passenger side door and told me to get in the middle. I remember asking why I had to sit in the middle again and she reminded me today was my sisters day to choose and I had gotten to choose my seat yesterday when we were in my fathers car. I tried to talk my mother into letting me have the window that day and my sister the next day, but she quickly told me if it didn’t get in the middle seat and buckle-up she would let my sister have the window seat all week. I remember I got in the truck and buckled-up in the middle seat and then my sister got into the passenger seat and buckled her seatbelt. I remember my mother then closed the passenger side door and then went back into our house to get everything closed-up. I remember my sister and I had to wait in the truck for around 7-8 minutes and that the truck still smelled like the dog poop I had stepped in on Saturday. I remember my sister kept complaining about it while we waited for our mother. I remember looking toward the house several times to see if our mother was locking-up and I finally saw her locking up the house and then walking towards the truck. I remember when she got in the driver seat, I felt squished between them but thankfully this time their breath wasn’t as bad as it had been on Saturday. I remember my mother put the key in the ignition an turned it and for a few cranks, it sounded like the truck was going to start-up before the battery ran down again. I remember me and my sister had to spend a few minutes waiting in the truck while our mother checked to see if any neighbors could give us a jump start and that instead a neighbor offered to give us a ride to school and my mother a ride to work so we got out of the truck and got a ride from her.


I remember these were the only two times that I rode in the truck with my mother and sister. That my father drove the truck and my mother drove his car until her suburban was ready later that week.


Since these memories, I get extremely anxious at even the thought of being closed in a small space; having to ride in the middle seat of a truck between two people; waiting in a vehicle for a driver to get in; or putting on my seatbelt before an engine is started. None of these things ever bothered me before these memories when I was having to ride between my mother and sister in my grandfather’s truck.


I also frequently have very vivid memories/flashbacks where I relieve these two events and the sights/sounds/smells/and feeling I remember from them. I know in the grand scheme of my life, these were very minor events. That I was never in any danger or subject to any abuse, but for some reason they seem to always be in the front of my mind and I struggle to shake them.


I know before even getting in the truck, I felt lots of anxiety about riding in the middle between my mother and younger sister because I was convinced everyone we passed would think it was weird that a shorter girl was by the window and a taller boy was in the middle, as well as think it was weird a male was riding between two females. I was paranoid everyone would think I was weird and there was something wrong with me for riding there.


I remember I also felt angry with my sister, mother, and father for this. I was angry at my sister for choosing to sit by the window when she could have gotten by in the middle better than me and for invading my space and breathing in my face while we waited for our mother. I was angry at my mother for letting my younger sister choose where to sit, for making me and my sister get in the truck and buckle-up before she was ready to go, for making us spend a long time waiting in the truck, and for not making sure the truck would start before making us get in. I remember I was angry at my father for not letting me go with him to his office or give me a ride to school.



I wanted to join this forum to see if others have deal with similar anxieties and have any suggestions for how I can better deal with them. I am sorry that this post is wordy, but I wanted to try to share the memories as well as some of my feelings about them in hopes that will help others be able to help me deal with them better and have less anxiety when I think about them.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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:welcome:

I have memories i wish i could forget too :)

It is clear you have a busy mind from the amount you wrote. Some people journal and we have a journal section on the forum if you would like to start one. It helps to empty your mind sometimes, to offload.

I have found that once memories are processed, once we have thought about them enough to accept them, they tend to fade. This doesn't always happen and a psychologist can help you with any distressing memories that won't go away.

I think sometimes certain memories can get stuck, or if our mind is too full, i personally think there can be a 'bottle neck'.

I rest, i get fresh air, i try to enjoy myself, relax myself, do things that make me happy and i avoid stress and stressful people as much as possible.

Hobbies, music, reading, all help me to process peacefully, as we think as we paint for example, but it is calm thinking usually.

is that the sort of thing you were thinking about?
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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It seems like these specific memories bring up quite strong feelings associated with them, such as fear / a sense of uneasiness, anger, major discomfort, a feeling of being ignored, unimportant or overlooked, a fear of being viewed as "weird" by strangers, a feeling of being squashed / having no personal space...

Do you still experience any of those feelings now?
 
Z

Zoe1

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hi Stuck in the Middle :welcome:

hope you find it helpful here


:grouphug:
 
2

2Much2Feel

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Hey, @Stuck in the Middle, welcome to the forum :) Really sorry you're struggling with this and I'm sure you'll find others here who can relate, which is the great thing about this place. xx
 
Anime-Alchemy

Anime-Alchemy

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Hello Stuck in the Middle, welcome to the forum.
 
Bod

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Hello Stuck in the Middle, welcome to the forum I hope you can find this site a very good helpful place to be as we are all very caring.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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Ah yes...I too really feel the need to be in control, or else I feel unsafe. That feeling grows the less comfortable I am with someone because I know they don't have me as their top priority. If I know someone really well, we're very close and they consistently show me respect, love, consideration and understanding, then I feel more safe and being in control is less important to me, as I already feel safe with them.

Covid...sigh. I hate it. I have much anger, resentment, fear and hopelessness about it.
 
S

Stuck in the Middle

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When I was a teenager, I HATED IT when my mother exerted control over me because I wanted to transition towards being and adult and being more independent and felt like she wanted me to remain a child who was dependent on her. This resentment towards her exerting control likely plays a part towards the all the anxieties I feel towards this memory.

I also frequently wonder if my anxieties towards these memories would not be as strong if any one detail had been different such as the truck starting-up; me and my sister only having to wait a few minutes in the truck for our mother; or if I was by the window any my sister was in the middle.
 
Shayna

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I would have all of 1/2 a second to see the three of you. I would either be driving by or being driven by someone else. When I am in a car either being driven or driving, my mind is usually not thinking about the people in any of the cars that pass by, it is usually on something that is going on in my own life and not yours. You are overly obsessed with what others think. Even though this happened 30 years ago!!!!. Nobody cares one bit. Not then and not now. So forget about it, move on with your life. Stop wasting it on things that didn't matter then or now!
 
NoNameRequired

NoNameRequired

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Your nickname is Stuck in the Middle. Dude, even if you were seen back then, no one cares right now and neither should you, live your life.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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No, sweetheart, I can pretty much guarantee that no one would have noticed.
 
S

Stuck in the Middle

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Thanks everyone for commenting and letting me know that it is unlikely that anyone would have really noticed or paid much attention to me riding between my mother and younger sister in the truck. I guess that I am someone who pays much more attention to the small details than most people and also someone who worries more than I should about what others think of me. I guess that is why I felt so much anxiety at the thought of people seeing me riding between them in the truck.

I still have lots of other feeling of anxiety and anger related to these memories that I will likely be journaling more as thoughts come to my mind. I have struggled with these memories since they happened, the vivid flashbacks of everything and reliving the anxiety I felt have really gotten so much worse and harder to deal with since the COVID Pandemic started.
 
S

Stuck in the Middle

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I wonder if I could handle the anxieties of being closed in a small space; riding in the middle seat of a truck; waiting in a vehicle for a driver; and putting on my seatbelt before a vehicle is started if my father had made sure that the battery had a good charge and my mother knew how to cold start the truck and then he continued to use his car all week and my mother continued to drive us in the truck until her suburban was ready. Instead my father let my mother use his car and he drove the truck the rest of the time because he was concerned my mother could keep having problems getting is started.

If my mother had continued to use the truck the rest of the week, then I would have gotten to choose my seat and ride by the window on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday and would have chosen to sit by the window. My sister would have gotten to choose her seat on Wednesday and Friday so I would have had to deal with riding in the middle on those two days.

If we had continued to use the truck, I would have been sitting by the window the next time my mother drove us on Tuesday morning. If she had trouble getting it started or another dead battery, I expect I could have dealt with it better if I were sitting by the window and my sister was in the middle next to our mother.

I would have had to sit in the middle again on Wednesday, but hopefully after my mother had used the truck all day on Tuesday it would have started right up, so I wouldn't have had to spend a long time stuck between my mother and sister while she tried to start the truck.

I wonder if these anxieties would not bother me as much now if at all if I we had continued to use the truck all week and I had to ride in the middle on Wednesday and Friday but the truck started right up. Would I not be so bother at the thought of riding in the middle seat of a truck; waiting in a vehicle for a driver; and putting on my seatbelt before a vehicle is started if I had to face them a few more days that week and the truck started-up quickly each time? I really hate how these anxieties control me and would love to be able to deal with them better and not get so anxious when I think back on these memories and keep replaying them in my mind.
 
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