Anxiety? Anxiety is a jerk.
I met him years ago, but it wasn’t until after I was being treated for major depression that I recognized him. Sounds ridiculous, right? Especially for someone with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, for crying out loud.
You mean those times when, in a group of people, I couldn’t speak, that was ANXIETY?
Don’t even get me started on grocery stores. For a while they were far worse than malls. A laundromat?!?
Anxiety. I’ve often wondered how much of my stress in public places stems from my time helping care for my undiagnosed agoraphobic, emotionally unstable, chronically depressed, never-properly-medicated mom after a very sheltered high-school experience. I had no social life. I didn’t learn how to be independent, like go to the grocery store, or just about anywhere else, for over six years. I was there. With my mom. And my father. And, for a while, my Grandpa.
But my social anxiety started long before that. I can’t pinpoint when. But it’s made me look ridiculous. And rude. And arrogant. More often than not, I freeze when really anxious. Sometimes when I’m feeling the most overwhelmed, I appear the most serene. As a teen, I was once complimented as demure. There was also the less complimentary reserved and the icing on the cake was socially retarded. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want that thrown at them?!? Of course there are the other anxious times when I’m a complete quivering mess. My frazzled and my anxious can look a lot alike.
A few years ago I remember feeling so defeated, sitting in the car. Alone. Having walked out of McDonald’s because trying to choose something to order on that pit stop on the road with my family was just. too. much. It wasn’t the first place I’d fled that summer. Having to choose food in pubic when I was hungry was near impossible.
Yes, eating at regular intervals and staying hydrated are particularly important when dealing with seasons of shakier mental health. Turns out my system just can’t tolerate antidepressants.
So, yes, anxiety. We’ve spent waaaay too much time together. The sneaky, obnoxious… so-and-so (in lieu of bleep).
Maybe he’s been your unwelcome companion, too.
Well, this week he wanted to write you a letter, so I helped him out a bit over at Defying Shadows…
You’ve been expecting to hear from me, haven’t you? Maybe not today, but you knew I’d be back one of these days. You’re never quite sure when you’ll hear from me, are you? And that’s just the way I like it. I like to keep you on your toes. Although sometimes it’s fun to just let you do your thing for a while. I’ll sit on the sidelines and watch. I’ll move out of your line of sight. Then, when you least expect it…