Living with anxiety disorder alone in the dark

The power went out at Camp Daniel sometime between 11 a.m. and noon Monday.

That’s the loneliest part of the day for the unemployed, which I am.

I was tired from days of restless or sleepless nights. The apartment remained cool despite the idle fans and air conditioner.

I took a nap. Surely this would be over by the time I woke up.

The storm roared. Storms make for great sleeping noise. I went with it.

I woke up about 7 p.m. That’s a long time to sleep in the day, but I haven’t been doing much sleeping anyway.

The power was still out.

I walked out to the glass door. I thought about getting into the pool. That always soothes my jangled nerves. I could see leaves and debris covered the surface. A group of residents shared a meal.

I decided to stay inside.

Anxiety crept up my spine. The absence of electricity robbed me of all my favorite distractions. No TV. No music. And despite it being early evening, my home lacked enough light to even read.

I could read if I fumbled with a flashlight. I chose not to. Alone in the dark my mind started to wander into places I should not let it go. Words like “failure” and “pathetic” drifted to the surface. I started to wonder if the power would ever come back on.

This is a bullet train to madness.

So I took my night medication and went back to bed.

Surely this would be all over by the time I woke.

I woke up just before 4 a.m. The power was still out.

The apartment was stuffy, but not hot. I could have opened a window, but that invites in allergens. I lit my flashlight and went to the kitchen. I ate some cheese and crackers and fixed a big mug of iced tea.

And now, here I am again in the darkness with the last vestiges of power in my laptop and a flashlight providing dim light on my ceiling.

The anxiety creeps again.

I take a sip of news poison. The local dealers are obsessed with the word “derecho,” which is a prolonged straight-line wind storm.

The power company is vague about when the lights may return. Their designated talker says “several days.”

The anxiety sparks again.

What if all my meat spoils? What if it’s a week?

It becomes hard to breathe.

Most of my problems in this life lie in the gap between emotional reaction and intellectual reasoning.

I intellectually understand that the power will eventually return, probably sooner than I think.

But right now I am in the dark and I am scared.

I am not afraid of the dark. I am afraid of being alone with my thoughts, alone to face my own inadequacies.

That doesn’t make sense. I’ve recently made plans that will turn things around. I should be more confident.

This is the reason they call it “anxiety disorder.” It’s a series of irrational thinking patterns. I can control them through lessons learned in talk therapy and medication.

But right now, in the moment of darkness, I struggle.

I realize others have it much worse. They have damage to their home. Maybe some were wounded. They have children to tend to. And so on.

Still, this is where I am and who I am when the darkness falls on more than just the power lines.

Daniel P. Finney, paragraph stacker

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit

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