Tag Archives: anxiety

Yes, I’m SOOOO Excited! But I’m Also Anxious as Hell

The wedding is in 5 days, and I am an anxious fire monster.

I have resisted writing in detail about my anxiety because I don’t want it to be misinterpreted by friends and family as doubts about getting married. I have zero doubts. But not being open about my anxiety is, as always, making it worse.

I should know better by now than to sit and stew.

So let me be as clear as possible and immediately halt any possible misinterpretation for those of you who still might not be totally clear on how mood disorders work– this has NOTHING to do with Eric. I have never been more confident in a decision in my life (which is saying a lot, as decision-making, for me, is the ultimate anxiety trigger, and is usually done with 100% haste and 0% confidence). I love Eric with all my heart and can’t believe I found him and get to marry him.

But anxiety doesn’t care if you’re grateful or happy. Anxiety has its own agenda, and the only way I’ve found to combat it is to do the exact opposite of combating it– to accept it and to be open about it. Because when I’m not, it eats me alive.

To be clear, I am excited– VERY excited. But the things is, when you have an anxiety disorder, excitement and panic run through the same pipeline, and, despite the fact that you are happy and really looking forward to something, that anticipation can FEEL very uncomfortable, produce an acute restlessness, make you feel like you’re crawling out of your skin, and just cause you to feel plain bad. It’s a frustrating cycle because you know you are lucky and happy, and you want to just feel those simple feelings of happiness and gratitude, but the nerves take over and don’t let you. They just leave you feeling like you sort of want to vomit, and maybe casually pull out your arm hairs one by one.

About 3 weeks ago, I began to feel like a line of drummer boys entered my body, and started a looped parade through my bloodstream, playing a steady, catchy beat– not altogether unpleasant, often actually fairly enjoyable. Sometimes I’d find myself bopping to their steady rhythm and feeling the flow, other times I was like, “Eh, I could use a little calm and quiet now. Oh, no? You’re not going anywhere? Ok I guess I’ll just drink wine straight from the bottle.”

And then, somewhere around last week, the drummer boys decided that right on top of my heart was a good place for them to all settle in, place their instruments on the floor, and then just start banging the SHIT out of them. Cymbals flying, drumsticks clanking. Even some cowbell. Because every band could use a little more cowbell.

All that being said, I know once this weekend arrives I will be thrilled and full of joy and love. Once all the people I care about most in the world are there, gathered in one space, and I get to marry this ridiculously awesome guy while surrounded by them, it will be incredible. Anticipation is always the hardest part for me. The lead-up is torture. Once the event is happening, the energy takes over and I can enjoy myself. I know I will.

So for all of you who have been so lovingly inquiring, “Are you so excited?!”, the answer is yes, absolutely. But I’m also anxious as fuck. And that’s ok. That’s who I am. And I think as long as I acknowledge that’s ok, to both you and myself, I will be able to at least mildly quell that inner voice asking, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just be happy? Why can’t you just be like everyone else?”

Because I’m not everyone else. I’m me.

And you know what? I found someone who can’t even remotely personally relate to these feelings, but who does everything he can to fully understand them, support them, and, inexplicably, love me even more because of them.

Can’t get much better than that.

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The Perils of Marrying an Extrovert

I get into the elevator with my headphones on, reading an email on my phone. An older man gets into the elevator with me. After a few seconds riding in silence…

Man: “So, I hear you like sauvignon blanc?”

Me (pulling out my headphones): “I’m sorry, what was that?”

Man: “You like sauvignon blanc. Especially from New Zealand.”

Me (nervously laughing): “That is correct…”

Man: “David [who I assume is another neighbor] spoke with your husband-to-be. Nice guy! Eric, right?

Me: “That’s right…”

Man: “And you’re getting married this summer, congratulations!”

Me: “Thank you so much! We’re pretty excited.”

Man: “But yeah, you two should join us for our wine parties. David and I are both big collectors.”

Me: “Yes, that would be lovely! We’re great at drinking wine!”

Man (as we reach lobby): “Ok great, so now we know each other. We don’t have to be silent on our phones in the elevator and hallways. We can have a conversation when we see each other. Isn’t that nice?”

Me (laughing): “You know what? It really is nice!”

This is literally my worst nightmare.

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Trump’s America

This just happened. (Note: racial descriptors are relevant to the story. It’s not like I just decided “Hey, you know what’s good storytelling and never offends? Calling the characters ‘black man’ and ‘white guy.'”)

Just now, I was in the liquor store buying 4 bottles of wine (one for each day Eric’s away at his bachelor party). As I was paying, a black man started yelling, in an EXTREMELY loud, panicked voice, “WOAH WOAH WOAH NO NO NOOO!”

The whole store froze. I turned to look at the man, and saw that he was starting at, and seemingly yelling at, a white customer at the register on the other side of the store. Not knowing what was happening, I obviously assumed we were all about to die. Then the black man darted out of the store and confronted a cop who was ticketing his car right there outside the door. Turns out, I was mistaken– he was not yelling at the white guy, he was yelling past the white guy, trying to get the cop’s attention because he didn’t want to get a ticket.

Once I realized this, I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief, looked at the cashier, and said, “Jesus, I thought you guys were getting robbed. My heart just stopped.”

The cashier, a black woman, looked back at me, unamused, and said “Uh huh. Because every time a black man’s yelling, it’s because he’s robbing someone?”

I stared at her, taken aback. The race of the people involved had not even occurred to me until that moment (no, not because I’m that asshole who is going to claim “I don’t see color.” Of course I fucking see color. I have eyes. But in that moment, I was too panicked to process anything beyond the fact that I thought I was going to die right there in Yorkshire Wines and Spirits, holding 4 bottles of cheap sauvignon blanc).

“Actually, no,” I said, regaining my composure (but obviously still sweating profusely). “I thought that white man at the other register was robbing the store. I thought the black man was yelling at him, because he saw him with a gun or something. I thought the white guy was going to kill us, and that the black guy was trying to save us all.”

“Ah. Ok, my bad,” she said.

Then she shrugged her shoulders and mumbled, “Sorry. Trump’s America. I just assume now that everyone is racist.”

The saddest part?

I get it.

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(He did get out of the ticket, though. So…happy, feel-good ending? img_2021-1 )

A $300 Analysis

Me: “So I think I figured out why I can’t stomach seafood, even though I really want to like it. I try so hard to find seafood I can eat, but I’m just so averse to it. Then this memory came back to me out of nowhere the other day, but it makes so much sense. When I was younger I went on vacation with my family. We left our goldfish at home, unattended, because…well, it was a goldfish, so whatever. When we came back, I was the first one to walk into the kitchen and see, there on the counter, right where we’d snack every day after school, the goldfish– on its side, dried up, shriveled, sad black eye staring at the ceiling. He had probably jumped out of his bowl on day 1, either with a grand plan for freedom or a suicidal death wish, and been crusting over there on the countertop for a week. He was so plastered to the marble that we needed a metal spatula to pry him off. At which point my dad turned to us and said, ‘Fish for dinner!’ Which of course, in hindsight, is hilarious, but at the time I’m pretty sure I was horrified. But anyway, don’t you think that makes so much sense as to why I can’t eat seafood?”

Therapist: “Well do you like the taste of seafood?”

Me: “No.”

Therapist: “So it’s probably just that. You don’t like how it tastes.”

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