Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Because I have an anxiety disorder."

Sometimes (let's be real, most days) I can be pretty moody. My mood swings back and forth as freely as a porch swing you fear may never stop swinging and you'll die a horrible painful death what if you lose your thumbs oh God.

Oh? You aren't familiar with the feeling so the analogy makes no sense?


When I'm not in a good mood, people will ask what's wrong. Sometimes, if I'm feeling brave, I will tell them what is wrong. "I think I have a brain tumor." "I'm worried I'm going to gain 500 lbs in the next year and die on TLC." "I'm worried everyone hates me and is just acting so I won't complain. Literally everyone."

When my friends are feeling brave, or when my fresh acquaintances are feeling naive, they'll ask why I'm worried about that.

"Because I have an anxiety disorder."

That is, of course, not the answer they want. They want a rational train of thought. They want a list of actual reasons. They want details of the fear which piece it together.

Sorry. Don't have that.

Well, I guess I sort of do. I'm worried I have a brain tumor because I get stress migraines when I have multiple days in a row of high anxiety. I'm worried I'll gain 500 lbs in the next year because my weight has always gone up and down very easily until this past year when it stopped going down and I have lost all time and motivation to exercise. I'm worried I'll die on TLC because I've been watching way too much of My 600lb Life. I'm worried everyone hates me because what if they do?

Perhaps, I fear, you're annoyed by these reasons. In fact, I'm almost certain you are. Because everyone is. How do I know? One or two people have told me, so I know that means everyone is. When I die from my 500lb brain tumor, no one will come to my funeral, because I'm no more than a noisy footnote in most of my friends' lives.

Now, okay. Intellectually, I know this makes no sense. I get it. Like I said, I know my headaches (and forgetfulness! How could I forget the forgetfulness? Damn tumor!) are likely the result of stress, which causes a lot of physical aches and pains, as well as brain spacey problems, for me. I know I'm not severely overweight, but you have no idea how much I sincerely believe I am -- and it's going to kill me! I know not everyone hates me -- and in reality, I don't give two shits if someone hates me. But I worry like crazy about my friends hating me.

My assumption is that you don't care. I don't think anyone cares, and if someone does, I'm confident they're just pretending. I intellectually know they're probably sincere, but I believe they're faking.

But it doesn't seem to matter what I intellectually know. Because my brain is in constant fight-or-flight mode, over everything, whether something exists in reality or was invented in my head. And people expect me to be able to explain why this happens.

The not-so-funny thing is, it's hard to explain, because it doesn't make sense. And I know it doesn't make sense. If I wanted to explain it, I could, but not everyone wants to listen to details about why I'm afraid I'm going to stab myself in the face for no reason, and not everyone is emotionally prepared for the shock the details of my fears may inspire.

The easiest way to put it really is just "because I have an anxiety disorder." I don't say it to make you go away. No, please don't go away. I don't say it because I don't want your help. Please, don't stop trying to help.

But I may not always need your help in the way that makes the most sense. I don't usually need someone to tell me the thing I'm worried about makes no sense; I already know it's highly unlikely that I'll be verbally abused if I make a phone call to order a refill of my prescription (mostly because I make a point to call at like 2AM so I'm guaranteed to not have to speak with a real live person because #terrifying). I know my fears make no sense.

What I need to know is that I'm okay. Like, hug me or something. Tell me you love me. Hold my freakin' hand. Tell me I'm not crazy. Still be there whether I calm down or not.

Every fear is different. If you want to help, tell me you care about me and ask me what I need. When I inevitably decline your help, maybe let me know it's okay and that you want to help.

Maybe. Don't feel pressured. Don't feel like you owe me anything.

Well, here I go again...