Crazy Anxious

My key tool for staying small is my own anxiety.

I have a very good imagination, so anxiety has always come easily to me.    I probably also have some biological predisposition to the condition.

My anxiety consumes my life, and all that is left are turds on the ground.

One thought on “Crazy Anxious”

  1. 40 years of waiting for the “third gotcha” can really leave you brittle, sad & lonely.

    From October 30, 2003, my “sessions” documents:
    = = = = = = = = = =

    So. How do you feel about this whole Social Anxiety Disorder thing?

    Rachel hates it. She doesn’t like the word disorder in it, the medicalization.

    How do you feel about this whole Social Anxiety Disorder thing?

    I guess I agree with her, wish that it wasn’t a disorder. It’s not really a scientific thing, more a codification of behaviour patterns and how they affect lives.

    You don’t think that it’s biological in some way?

    Sure I do. I think low latent inhibition is biological, sure. But I don’t think that’s a disorder, just a way some people are born. My own approach avoidance dance with society, my heightened sensitivity, well, they all have a use in the context of a whole society.

    Like ADD or GID?

    Yeah. Disorder, disorder, disorder.

    So why SAD?

    Because this one has destroyed my life. And because I can’t knock this one alone.

    You need help?

    Yeah. Maybe meds, and help with behavioural changes/support in those changes, and help in understanding from others.

    So, if the medical establishment says you are disordered, it might help?

    God, I hate it, but yeah. They need some kind of external validation of my claim.

    And that doesn’t feel good?
    Well, what part of this does feel good?

    Rachel said I’m brilliant because I know how people want to give me a simple story, and Valerie talks about “Dinner And A Movie” this week on TNT where the joke was that the host was zoned out because of anti-anxiety meds, and she thought about how she needed to feel. That shoots at CAT, “cognitive affective therapy,” the fancy name for think different and change behaviour, and for meds. Add that to having to accept a disorder label, as if somehow I am the only one to blame for my poor relationship with society, and it all stinks.

    But still. . .

    But still, the anxiety is above the nth degree and I am getting worse, shutting down. I feel like my blood pressure is always sky high, thickness in my head, ringing in my ears, blurred vision and dizziness, all the all the all the.

    That sounds like it hurts a lot.

    Yeah. I sob a lot, but never around my family. There I just get throbbing dull headaches as I do my work.

    Can you tell me what is breaking in your life.

    Yes, but only with a great deal of effort and pain. It hurts, physically hurts, to go near it.

    And you think about ending that pain?

    I’m just a problem for everyone.

    I’m not sure that’s true. Just last week didn’t your sister say that people valued what you offer and would miss you when you leave?

    Yeah, but. . .

    Rachel said that you wanted to be seen, not to have to make yourself seeable.

    That’s right on.

    But you don’t think you can be seen?

    God, those idiots on TT, even Diane, are still discounting narratives because they challenge walls the TT people like.

    And your narrative?

    Walls? What walls? Walls are illusions.

    That can’t make people feel comfortable.

    Only those who feel trapped by walls, but even they feel I am just trying to redraw the walls to where they are comfortable. Perversion is always just over that wall. I am normal, you are odd, and they are sick.

    Fitting into people’s expectations and not challenging them, that’s hard for you?

    I not only have the biological predisposition to SAD, I have the training in how to fear people, and the conditioning from people trying to crucify me to help me play small.

    And…

    And finding someone smart and fluid enough to know what the hell I am saying, well. . . .

    Ouch.

    My head hurts bad.

    You tried some rum, right?

    That didn’t work.

    And you don’t know what will?

    Right.

    Can you do relaxation exercises?

    You mean like those fuckin’ Krip abusers like?

    That’s a strong reaction.

    I was sent there for affirmation, but got what I feared, more abuse in the cause of social order, fundamentalist beliefs and just plain orneryness.

    There was a high cost to that event.

    Yeah. Yoga breathing gets me more freakin’ anxious.

    It must be so hard to never feel safe enough to let down your guard.

    Karen wants to help, but she needs to hit me first. Valerie wants me to feel safe, but then her fears and strategies rise up, booze and manipulation.

    So eternal sleep seems the plan?

    If it were in me, I would have done it a long time ago. I keep trying.

    Even your sister says that, that she knows you are trying.

    Yeah, but I need help. And there aren’t very good support groups for social anxiety disorder – we don’t like getting together like drunks.

    Yeah, and you can’t be herded like depressives.

    Right.

    But how do you learn to trust and feel safe with other people when you stay so isolated from them?

    Exactly the point. Years and years and years ago I told Chris that I had learned to trust myself, but that I still needed to learn to trust others. She said “Can’t you learn to do that by yourself?

    Ouch.

    Yeah. Somehow, we social phobics learn to hang out with other social phobics, because the extroverts are so damn shallow.

    And being deep and sensitive has a price?

    We all have to go sometime.

    I’d like to think it’s when we are taken home, not when we bail.

    So would I, but. . . .

    But that’s not the way it feels?

    Me and the 57%. High co-morbidity.

    Yeah. You avoid taking care of yourself and medicate and do other things that don’t keep you physically healthy.

    It’s OK to cry.

    What’s the bloody point? What, what?

    You feel alone and isolated?

    As bad as when I was sick as a kid and wouldn’t tell my mother, because it got unpleasant fast.

    Learning to trust is hard in later life.

    Duh.

    But some people apparently learn how to get better. They say that the CAT works.

    My story gave out, and I have tried many of them.

    How do we wave a magic wand and find a smart extrovert who has faith in you even when you don’t?

    I have doubt, not faith!

    I know, and it’s great doubt, but doing what needs to be done to keep you giving your gifts here seems to require some faith.

    That it does. That it does.

    You know the world isn’t that bleak, right?

    Sure. Lots of not very brilliant people make great livings, start and end things and do it again. There must be much possibility out there.

    But not for you?

    I just don’t have the capacity to eat any more anxiety.

    Yeah. I can see you are thin on the ground.

    Threadbare. A rag.

    But beautiful.

    Ha!

    Yeah. Lots of people see the beauty, if they also see the fragility. In fact, much of that beauty comes from how close to the surface you run, how fragile and miraculous you are.

    It’s a disposable world. The fragile and miraculous is not aggrandized, rather it’s dumpster time.

    What about Antiques Roadshow?

    The American one where it’s all about cash?

    You are more UK – it is your story.

    But now I’m as American as Hostess Apple Flavoured Fruit Pie.

    And as Canadian as the Avro Arrow.

    Yeah, and lots of other things too. And my teeth hurt.

    Dental care is something you avoided?

    Yeah, and they thought it was because I feared pain. I feared judgemental dentists.

    Judgement isn’t easy for you, is it?

    No. I’m always wrong.

    I believe you may feel that way, but I do believe you are right very often.

    And people want to hear that less than when I am wrong. Unless, of course, my correctness appears to confirm one of their postulates, their identity props.

    Is it ever about you?

    Only in here. Only in here.

    Ah, yes. Colleen asked you if you played alone as a kid, back in Child Development class in 1972.

    I have a rich inner life.

    And a crumbling outer one.

    Thanks for reminding me!

    I feel confident that you are very aware of you current situation.

    I have some desire to go though a list of coping strategies – like not caring if people judge you, being confident in your own calling, letting things slide off, and so on. But I also know that you have tried a much bigger list than what I can rattle off here.

    Yeah. Give me a “Just Do It” book and I read it and tried it. I didn’t try it enough, some would say, because I couldn’t get it to work for me.

    Interesting. You automatically thought about how you would be judged for your failures. Do you do that all the time?

    All the time, yes. Darlene told me I apologized too much, Kathy tells me not to hold that it’s my fault. That covers what, 30 years?

    And it’s not a pattern you have been able to break?

    No, apparently not.

    This whole wasted life thing, that’s a big deal to you, eh?

    Yeah. Big.

    I’m not sure I can imagine how it would feel to always be this anxious, always need a shell.

    I think lots of people can imagine it. They feel the abuse, but can’t allow themselves to feel the abuse or they would crash and burn like me. It was walking away from habits that made it worse. But everyone knows how bad it feels to be made invisible and expected to serve the machine.

    This isn’t a culture that values much other than cash, eh?

    Right. And cash is product.

    Cogs in the machine.

    I love my sister, but she salves her soul by being alone.

    People have too high a cost?

    And apparently, too low a reward, mostly.

    So you have your soul, but no life?

    Ah, but what profit a man if he if should gain. . . .
    Ah, screw it

    And people who serve the machine?

    Yeah, they screw.

    How about you, though? Do you see any possibility of changing this, feeling confident and strong?

    That’s the key, isn’t it? Having some strength and resilience.

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