Today I am seriously pissed off with Anxiety. Let's pretend for a moment that Anxiety is a little conniving monster, and when I wake up in the morning so does it, all green-faced and raring to go. Anxiety is a very subtle monster. It never pushes me into things; instead, it places its frothing mouth close to my ear and makes suggestions. So when I reflect upon my recent bout of self-doubt and aimlessness, and think (because it sounds both glamorous and plausible, if a little ridiculous), maybe I'm having a quarter-life crisis!, Anxiety sniggers, licks its lips, and says, Maybe you are! Or, maybe, MAYBE, it's something else! Like, say, I don't know, the lack of medication. But I don't know. I could be wrong! It's probably just a phase!
And then I lie there thinking, oh great, this is just the level of stress and worry I'm going to have to live with now that I'm not on drugs (or nearly not on drugs - it's taken me over a year and still counting to wean myself completely off of them, but that's probably another story entirely). And in another month, I think, I'll probably just go back to the doctor and ask to be given another prescription, which seems a bit of a shame, really.
Here's a partial list of things I worry about: Will I get to sleep tonight? Will I wake up in the morning? Am I too old to start doing anything meaningful? Am I too young to start doing anything meaningful? What do I want to do? What if I never know? Is the tightness in my chest a sign that I'm going to have a heart attack, or is it just the anxiety? How can I tell? Did I completely embarrass myself that one time at the pub three months ago when I spilled a bit of my drink? Consequently, will anybody ever speak to me again?
All of those things are STUPID and POINTLESS. I only ever seem to worry about things that I can't do anything about. I think this must be because it's easier. This way, I can pour all my energy into the anxiety and not have to do anything constructive. Thanks, brain! You're basically trying to sabotage my productivity, so that I can continue to worry! Yay!
On the bright side, you'll notice I'm no longer worrying about things like, how am I going to pay my bills? Can I afford to buy a pair of cheer-me-up heels from eBay? And I'm never thinking, Is he cheating on me? Does he love me?
So I've got lots of good things going for me. Which is what makes it even STUPIDER. I'm not even unhappy! I'm actually very happy! How STUPID is that? It's like a perverted headline: Happy woman worries about why she worries when she's fundamentally happy. It makes my head hurt just trying to work out what that means.
Sometimes I bring it up with doctors, but I'm not convinced that this is the NHS's strongest point, for all its awesomeness, because every time I ask if there's somebody I can talk to, they say, sure there is! And start asking me all these questions like, on a scale of 1-10, how difficult does your anxiety make it to live your life? (And how am I supposed to answer that? On the one hand, I'm here, aren't I? I mostly do okay for myself. On the other hand, I can't help but thing that things would be easier if I actually just did stuff sometimes, instead of overthinking EVERYTHING.) Are you unemployed or has your work ever been impacted by your anxiety? (Because my job is obviously the most important thing here?) Do you ever feel the urge to harm yourself or others?
And usually by the time they've got to that last question and I answer "no", they've totally lost interest because I'm not on the verge of self-combusting or destroying the entire universe, and they say, "okay, then, we'll have somebody call you," and nobody ever does call me and I usually forget about it until the point midway through a sleepless night when I think, huh, whatever happened with that?
I keep imagining that on my records they've written, overly anxious about her anxiety, in the same way the dentist wrote on the Man's file that he was non-compliant because he refused to buy an electric toothbrush. So he went out and bought an electric toothbrush and although neither of us has ever used it, it now sits there in the bathroom like a big fuck you to the dentist, who can now change the Man's status to something like, partially compliant, but mostly contrary.
Meanwhile the Anxiety-Monster, slobbering its way through the day, suggests to me that talking to someone probably wouldn't really help, anyway, BUT I COULD BE WRONG, and I think maybe I should just go for a run to clear my head, except that what if that annoying pain I got in my side last time I went running was actually something much more serious and maybe I should just take it easy and curl up on the couch and worry about what to do with myself.
Fuck you, Anxiety Monster. I'm going for a swim so that I can reflect upon how happy I am. SO THERE. SUCK IT.
p.s. On a semi (okay not really) related note, the always-brilliant Heather Armstrong at Dooce wrote a killer piece the other day about one of the more annoying side-effects of certain medications, which, by the way, NOBODY WARNED ME ABOUT.
p.p.s. Am I allowed to say "fuck" in the title of a blog post? I'm never sure if there's some sort of etiquette about that and now I'm worried that I'm going to be sucked up into the black hole of Bloggers Who Broke The Rules and nobody will ever read anything I write again.
p.p.p.s. I'll stop now.