Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cinderella (is) Complex

Oh, hello there gentle reader. I know it has been a while.

I could make up all sorts of excuses about how busy I have been, and how crazy life is... which would be true. But I have to be straight with you - I got this totally obnoxious comment by a reader (not you, of course - never you) and I needed to take a minute. Step back from my brutally honest level of (over)sharing.

Because reining it in is never an option.

According to the commenter, I don't deserve to be a parent. BUT HE'S PRAYING FOR ME YOU GUYS. So thank goodness, all is not lost. Except, of course, my ability to write anything else for several months, so paralyzed was I by the message in my inbox.

Here's the thing about suffering from anxiety: shit like that, comments from someone who doesn't know you and obviously doesn't think you are funny and is sitting in judgment of you because YOU ARE A TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING AND MAY GOD SAVE YOUR SOUL - those comments are not easy to brush off. Nothing is easy to brush off. You automatically assume that everything - EVERYTHING - has more than just a little truth to it. Otherwise, why would they have said it? Why would they have done something  so heartless if there wasn't a really good reason for it? And besides, it is so easy - too easy - to believe the worst about yourself. To go straight down the rabbit hole and starting eating and drinking things you shouldn't in order to try to fix yourself. After all, it's not them - it is definitely you.

"Because they are a piece of shit" is not one of the options in your anxiety-riddled brain. Instead, you spend hours upon hours obsessing about how it could have been different. How you could make it better. What you could have said that would have made them like you, although, lets be honest, you are not likeable. Also you really aren't doing anything with your life and your hair is weird and your skin is a mess and you have no friends and no one likes you anyway.

And when I say "you" in the above paragraphs what I mean, of course, is me. This is me. This is how my mind works - or how it is broken, perhaps.

I'm itching. Right now, I am itching as though I am about to break out in hives. I might actually break out in hives - more from me scratching this invisible itch, than from whatever is causing the itch to begin with. My scalp, my chest, my face..... it is unbearable. I can't stand to be in my own skin.

I am anxious. About what, I have no idea.

Living with anxiety is usually totally manageable. It's just that sometimes, managing it requires a helmet, earplugs, blinders, an emotional support pony, and copious amounts of weed just to force myself to look at my phone in the morning. If you see a look of panic on my face, particularly in a social setting, kindly bring me a helmet and a stiff drink immediately, then point me in the direction of the bathroom so I can regroup. Or climb out the window.

"Why are you upset right now?" Sam asks cautiously as I scrub at my hairline while trying to load the dishwasher with my other hand. "Is it just the usual shit in your head, or is it something else. Like taxes or something."


"What?!" He looks around frantically. "What did I do?"
"Bring up something I totally wasn't thinking about, a subject that you KNOW makes me sick with anxiety. NOW I AM GOING TO WORRY ABOUT THAT TOO."

"Oh for fuck's sake." he mutters.

My phone is dinging away, and a particularly lengthy alert sends it vibrating almost off the kitchen counter. I grab for it - still scratching my forehead frantically. "I WISH THIS THING WOULD STOP SENDING ME MESSAGES FOR A MINUTE."

"You could mute th-"

"I don't want to miss something important - what if one of the kids is trying to text me or my mom or someone..... I can't mute it, then I will just have to check it constantly. I just.... I don't know."

I slump down on one of the counter stools, feeling defeated. And exhausted. My phone buzzes. A calendar alert. Oh god - am I supposed to be somewhere? Or maybe a Facebook message. I reach for the phone hungrily, as much to end the buzzing as to satisfy my curiosity. Get my fix.

*deep breath* this is why social media is so dangerous for people with my brain.

And also so intoxicating.

The likes and comments - when they are positive - can make your whole day seem worthwhile.
But one negative comment - or even just a lack of a comment - can take you down like a baseball bat to the knees.

Trying to get through life with anxiety is actually, when you think about it, much like living as Cinderella. On the outside, you are looking good, dancing and laughing and the prince is falling in love with you more every day. But then the clock strikes midnight and it all goes right to shit - so you spend a lot of time watching the clock and trying to hold it together until you are at home and can fall completely apart in private.

Being on social media is more of the same. Here, for example, is an inner dialogue while I am cruising Facebook:

"Oh, look at that picture of my friends together having fun! They look gorgeous! That food looks amazing! What a fun time! I am not that pretty. I would look terrible in that dress and I always look awful in photos. But they didn't invite me anyway. Probably because I am so lame and wouldn't have been fun to have around. And I wouldn't be able to afford that dinner, from the looks of it. And talking about how broke I am is always so awkward. Easier to just not invite me at all, I'm sure. They probably think I am just trying to get them to pay for me, when I say I can't afford it. And that is not at all what I want. I would love to have more money and be able to do all of this fun stuff they are clearly doing without me. Oh god, what else did I miss. They were probably hoping I wouldn't see this. Or maybe they don't give two shits whether I see it or not, because they really care that little about me and my feelings. I suck. I am probably not going to be invited to hang out with them anymore. I'd better stop texting them like a desperate loser."


So, I'll be over here with my support pony and a box of half-price chocolates I bought on February 15th. The house is a mess and I am in my sweatpants but feel free to stop by. You might prefer not to. I totally understand.


Oh look, Instagram.....