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My Anxiety Isn’t Truth

john-towner-117309I have a few friends who come to me with weighty things, well I have a lot people who come to me with weighty things. I am THAT friend. The mom, the listener, the one who can give you sage advice. This is not vanity, I just know that role I play in a lot of my relationships. I can handle the heavy stuff. Sometimes.

You deserve to feel the full spectrum of human emotion. This is my sage advice. This is my mantra. When days get really tough, for no apparent reason, this is what I tell myself. But, even though it is true… I don’t believe it in my bones. I still hide behind falsities of cheer and fake smiles because fake it ’til you make it right?

The past few weeks I have been so inspired by those who have talked about their anxiety in a real and authentic way. So , in an effort to bear more of my authentic life; an effort to make you understand that most people who appear to have it all together don’t; and an effort to let you know you’re not alone, I share my heart.

At the end of the day, a lot of thoughts are still my own…because well, they are crazy. I know that my anxiety is just lies, my depression is just lies and that I can do a lot of things to make it better; but in this moment, in this point of time — before all granola visualizations and prayer — before all of that, this is what I feel. This is my inner monologue. I know it isn’t true.

Anxiety & Leaving the House: I am 5-10 minutes late anywhere I go when I am the last to leave the house. I get in my car, then I realize that I used the straightener and maybe this one time the automatic off switch will malfunction so I go in to turn it off. Then unplug it. Then I make sure I turned everything else off. Did I use the stove this morning? Did I lock the back door? Is Fitz secured in his cage? (He almost never gets locked in his cage.) Does he have a toy? Are there any electronics near the cage? If there are any cords around the he will chew them and electrocute and die. If there is anything chewable around, he will pick it up and choke on it and die. If the house catches on fire, he will be stuck in his cage and die. I should just stay in. Now I’m late to work, oh my gosh did I close the garage?

Anxiety & Work: My boss looked at me funny today. What does a non-smile but smirking actually mean. Oh, I’m getting fired. I have nothing to do today, oh crap, I’m getting fired. In my consulting… I’m really bad at media relations. No one is responding. No one. These press releases are damn good and no ones responding. Fired. I’m going to get fired from everything and end up living with my parents and then eventually on the street, forever.

Anxiety & Coaching: People don’t believe me. I haven’t really lost that much, right? Do you think people thought I wasn’t “that fat” before and so now they don’t really care? I just messaged her, OMG I offended her. She thinks I think she’s fat. She thinks I think she’s lazy. Am I wording this correctly? I’m really terrible at this. Oh crap, I forgot to post today, people think I’m slacking. I really did work out, I really did eat healthy. I really do believe in this. Can’t they tell? What if I’m too overzealous. What if I post TOO many selfies? Omg, I hate selfies. I’m becoming one of THOSE girls. Who are THOSE girls? What a terrible thing to think. Crap, it’s 9:30 and I didn’t post anything today. I’m the worst. Do I really post enough to be authentic? What if I fail? I want out.

Anxiety & Dating: Oh, he’s cute. Oh he looked at me. Crap, I have something in my teeth. AVERT GAZE immediately. Look away. Ok, now you made it awkward. Oh, you like me, you’re asking me to dinner? How in the world can I get out of this? Okay, I’m going to go. I don’t like any of my clothes. Okay I’m dressed. Okay I’m here ten minutes early. That’s overeager. I’ll just sit on my phone in the car. *Checks makeup, checks phone.* Crap, I’m a minute late. What if he thinks I’m rude because I’m late? Oh geez, I’m going to die alone. I. AM. SO. AWKWARD. Oh, this is going great, nothing to fear. I am the best at dating. Crap…long pause. Oh, no I talk too much. He’s bored. What to say? Say literally anything. ANYTHING. Why aren’t you talking? *Panic attack*. This is the worst. Oh no, here comes the check. CRAP. Do we go dutch? Do I pay? Do I let him pay? We’re not dating,there is no expectation of him paying. He pays. Whew. Next time I pay. But what does that say? I’m too independent? No, I just want him to know I don’t expect anything. Crap. What if he doesn’t know thats what I want him to know? Oh, now it’s awkward again. Sheesh, this is the worst.

Anxiety & Friendships: This person hates me because I flaked yet again. I don’t want to go out of the house. I’m going to lose all my friends. They think I’m the worst. They are going to die and I’m not going to get to tell them I love them. I am going to die and none of them will come because I flaked out…yet again. Flake. Flake. Flake.

Anxiety & Traveling: I’m going to forget my passport. I’m going to get Taken. I’m going to fall off the boat and die. I’m going to get lost and then taken. I’m going to forget my credit card and be locked in a foreign prison unable to pay my debts. Plane crash. Tapeworm.

Anxiety & Health: My heart just fluttered, heart attack. *Panic attack about heart attack*. Brain hurts in a weird spot, brain tumor. Forget something, early onset AlZ … I’m going to get this. But when… (…mind plays out diagnosis of ALZ & subsequent life…should’ve kept more journals.)

Okay, I’m going to stop there because my anxiety is making me anxious. These are a lot of the real thoughts that go through my head in some of these situations. I was in college before I realized that the very real debilitating episodes I was having were panic attacks. I remember very vividly being crippled with a fear that came out of nowhere about nothing in particular  and seeing spots and trying to calm an anxious heart. I was stuck in that spot for what seemed like eternity, feeling completely and utterly alone in the world. I’ve always had high anxiety and because I am a creative, the scenarios are very real and thought out to me. I understand now that I am not alone in these thoughts. I also understand that coming out about how I feel doesn’t mean that I also don’t believe I am one badass lady boss. I totally still believe in myself. I know that I can accomplish anything but at the same time, I will play out all the scenarios of defeat before it gets accomplished. Because, insecurity is not the same thing as anxiety.

That it is just part of my *flawsomeness* that makes me, me. Hi, my name is Kate and I suffer from mental illness in the form of depression and anxiety. Much like alcoholism or any other addiction, it can destroy your life if you let it take over. But when we talk about our struggles and we do things to ease their presence over us, like exercise, prayer, personal development and practicing self-care…we can have more good days than bad.

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