If you say "Anxiety" three times in a mirror...

...then anxiety will show up and kill you. Or something.

Although I've apparently always had anxiety, this year I developed a really lovely case of social anxiety. From hell. It makes me weird, and then I feel like I have to explain why I'm weird, which makes me want to cry, which makes me just abruptly end sentences and run away.

This is so far away from the person I have been all of my life. Anxiety, yes. I am a lifelong nail biter, worrier, over-thinking over-explainer. But I've also always been pretty good with people.

I mean...I used to be a stripper (that's a story for another day). Standing naked in a room full of strangers doesn't really go with social anxiety. And now I own a bar, so being social is a requirement of my life.

But...

Oh my god. This week has been so hard. And it's kind of funny, because I'm pretty sure that a lot of people think that I really have my shit together.

For the record...I definitely do NOT have my shit together. Just in case you also don't have your shit together... we're in this boat together, trying our hardest to keep it afloat.


I think we're taking in a little bit of water...?


My anxiety is raging and I feel exposed and naked and weird and I wish people would stop looking at me and even if they're not looking at me it feels like they're looking at me and I just want to crawl inside of myself and hide from everything. And because I can't hide from anything because life requires that you be present, I feel weighed down and freaked out and sad, and here comes depression...

And here's what's really triggering everything - my writing about Eugene and the decision to sell our bar.

I write about Eugene because I think it's really important to share these stories, and to share them from the viewpoint of someone that you know. It hits a little closer to home when it's not something you saw on the news or a facebook post that's been shared a gazillion times. Most people who read my blog know me, so through me, you can know Eugene, and see what he's up against. And maybe it will change your way of thinking a little bit because now it's real...because you know me, and you know that I care about Eugene. That's my hope. BUT - as a result of trying to write honestly about myself and my struggles and hopes and friendships, now you see me.

You can see Eugene, which is good.

You can see me, which is bad.

I also wrote about selling my bar and some of our customers are kind of freaking out. I get it. I'm kind of freaking out, too. I know - I KNOW - that this is the right decision. But I also know that my husband and I built Blue together. We saw friendships and marriages start here. We started a community movement. There are gardens and murals and volunteer days and a community association solely dedicated to this neighborhood and all of that was born in our bar.

I will cry for days when we let it go. For sure. Building Blue is one of the coolest things that I have ever been a part of. But it's time to let it go.

But people are sad and they want to talk about it and so we talk about it and then there are all of these feelings and I'm a person who cries, so I want to cry, but I'm working and I can't cry because absolutely NO ONE wants to be waited on by the over-emotional bartender who is just crying all over the place so I try to control my emotions but I can't so I go hide for a minute and now I'm weird and...

anxiety. anxiety. anxiety.

There she is. My old friend.

Such a bitch.

And she usually doesn't travel alone...depression and anxiety are pretty much BFFs - where one goes, the other one can't be far behind.




And so, anxiety has me completely twisted up in knots, feeling exposed and feeling like a weirdo. And since my writing about Eugene has triggered some of it, I start thinking about the relationship that I have with Eugene and some of our similarities...

My husband often says that one of my biggest weaknesses is that I think everyone is my friend, and that's why I get my heart broken so much. That I see friendship in everyone, I love everyone and I think they all love me back. But people don't see me the way that I see them, and when I realize that, my heart breaks a little bit. Sometimes a lotta bit.

Eugene also thinks that everyone is his friend and there is pretty much nothing you could ever say that would make him think any differently. So this week, as we work through the system and try to get him back on medication to organize his thinking a little bit, I have been struck with the horrible thought that by working to make Eugene "well"...will we break his heart over and over again?

Will he realize that people he called friends are taking advantage of him, or are people that he doesn't even know, or are people that just want him to go away?

Will he feel this heavy weight of un-reciprocated love? Will this steal some of his joy? All of his joy?

I think that I'm helping, but am I actually doing something terrible?

And I am suffocating. I feel crushed. I can never do enough. I don't know what I am doing. I'm really screwing this up. There is too much suffering. People are cruel and the world is dark and I am sinking, sinking, sinking...

Anxiety. Depression. The meanest girls in school.

But I'm a fighter, you know? I don't like to be scared of things. I don't want to be a person who doesn't do things because I'm scared. When I write, I am exposed and you see me and I hatehatehate that. But people like me, who also struggle with anxiety and depression, read my blog and feel not so alone and that means the world. That is more important than my fear. You see me, but you also see Eugene and the millions of others who are like him, and that is more important than my fear. More important than my discomfort.

I cried the whole time I wrote this. I am slumped into the tiniest version of myself that I can possibly make. My fingernails are shredded. But I am not dead. This will not kill me. Anxiety and depression are the meanest girls in school, but if you stand up to bullies, eventually they go away.

Or at least to the opposite side of the cafeteria.










1 comment:

Andrea Lancaster said...

I love this post! I have the same problem with anxiety and depression (OMG my fukin phone autocorrected that to "sane problem"!), and I appreciate your transparency. I have a relative with Asperger's and I've thought that I'm glad he's unaware of the ways people treat him differently. Long as you're fighting, you're winning. And meds - there are an abundance out there and they've helped me a lot. So has laughter. I just beat cancer and I never knew what a fighter I was! Laughter was CRUCIAL to surviving that. Don't want this to look like advice.....I've just worked in mental health facilities. Mostly, thank you for your blog. I love it!