Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Anxiety (And Mentioning My New Word, "Poophemism")

The post below this is about how my body is a piece of crap that seems to be quickly decaying, and now I'm about to write about the other condition that cripples me, anxiety. Makes you miss the days of side by sides and posts about poop, huh?

NOTE: I actually have two posts in my drafts; one that is a collection of side by sides, and another that features like, 200 words on pooping, complete with many, MANY poop euphemisms (poophemisms). So just hold on for that.

I've struggled with anxiety for years. I went through a phase about five years ago where I had at least one major anxiety attack a day. For the uninitiated, anxiety attacks make you feel like you are dying - like you are watching yourself die and you can't do anything to stop it. Imagine going through that every. single. day. It was probably the worst time in my life, and sometimes I think to myself, "Whew! Glad I already got the Worst Part of My Life out of the way!" It would be especially ironic and unfortunate if, say, in a few years I was in a plane crash on the Lost island or if Sarah Palin was elected president.

I still deal with my anxiety disorder, but it's not nearly as bad as it was a few years ago. I have issues with large crowds of people, especially if those people are close to me, and I sometimes just get anxious out of the blue for reasons I can't explain.

The latter was the case this afternoon. I was lying on my bed with Hero, reading blogs and browsing online shops, when BAM! It was like a switch was flipped and I was suddenly crying. Why was I crying? Why did I, out of the blue, go into a mini-panic and feel like I was incapable of doing anything? I have no fucking idea. And that's what it's like to have an anxiety disorder. Sometimes you're in a crowded room and you know why you're freaking out, and other times you just freak out.

I took some deep breaths and decided to just stay still and keep looking at Etsy shops, reading blogs, anything to keep my mind calm and try to avoid a full on anxiety episode. I went to a blog I read every day, The Bloggess, and it was as if Jenny (The Bloggess herself) knew exactly what I needed to read at that moment.

Jenny suffers from anxiety too, and she wrote a lovely post about dealing with the disorder. It seems we have the same aversion to crowds of strangers, and reading her talk about how it's okay to just stay in your room when you are at a huge conference made me feel so much less freakish and alone. It's so hard to explain to a companion, "I need to get out of here. There are people near me" and have them understand how terrifying that can be, and for you to not feel like a crazy person for expressing your need to get the fuck out of there. Knowing that someone else has experienced this same thing validates my feelings and was just what I needed to read this afternoon.

If you suffer from anxiety or just want to read something that will (I hope) make you feel validated in expressing what you need and taking care of yourself however necessary, I cannot recommend "Of Conferences and Anxiety Disorders" enough.

And you know what? I'm not crying anymore.


Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I so needed to read this tonight.

Thanks, sweetness. Things are gonna be okay.

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