Tag Archives: social 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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A Little About Myself

I got a referral for a wedding hair stylist and gave her a call…

Stylist: “So tell me a little about yourself.”

Me: “I am a sweaty, frizzy-haired Jew. I have lots of anxiety. I feel prettiest when I wear my hair down, but, due to my aforementioned sweat problem, that might not be an option for the wedding. But the idea of wearing my hair up is giving me anxiety, because I never wear my hair up for special occasions. And now I’m starting to sweat just thinking about it.”

Stylist: (laughs) “Ok…”

Me: “Sorry, was that not the information you were looking for?”

Stylist: “Well most people start by telling me their name.”

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Only Your Best Friend

The kind of convo you’d only have with your best friend….

Best friend: “Your ring! Oh my god! Give me your hand right now (grabs my hand)– let me look closer. How many carats is that?!”
Me: “I don’t know…”
Best friend: “You don’t KNOW?! Oh, honey, you better find out. Who doesn’t know how many carats their ring is?!”
Me: “I don’t know…it’s his grandmother’s diamond, I’m not even sure he knows…”
Best friend: “Oh he KNOWS. Trust me. You go home tonight and you ask him.”
Me: “I’m not really concerned with that kind of stuff…”
Best friend: “Well, you’re wearing the ring so GET concerned, honey.”

Only this wasn’t my best friend. This was a random lady who lives in my building. Who I met ONCE.

This is why I don’t talk to people.

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This is Why I Work From Home

Sitting at a Starbucks communal table reviewing some math work. A random guy is sitting next to me and eyeing my papers.

Guy: “Looks like some tough math. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff!”

Me: “I know, right? 8th grade math is no joke!”

Guy: “You’re in 8th grade? Really? I assumed high school, like maybe a senior!”

Me: (Confused stare. Not sure if he’s serious. Realzing he is.)

Guy: “Jeez. Should you be sitting here doing homework all alone? Where are your parents?”

Me: “I tutor an 8th grader. That’s what the papers are for.”

Guy: “Oh.”

Me: “I am 34 years old.”

Guy: “Ah.”

<silence>

Guy: “Well this is embarrassing.”

On so many levels.

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I Blew It.

The following story should beautifully illustrate for all of you why I walk around this world in a constant state of panic, with the assumption that at any point in time, I will do something epically dumb/awkward/socially unacceptable/spastic that will leave me slapping myself for years to come.

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends, Adam, asked me to sign the ketubah at his wedding, which occurred last night (*note to the non-Jews– a ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract between the bride and groom. It requires the signature of some Jewish witnesses. In this case, me and three other Jewish friends of the couple.) My first thought was “What an honor!” and my immediate second thought was “Christ, what does that entail?!” (No, just kidding. I definitely thought the Christ thing first.)

I’ve never signed a ketubah at a wedding, and I had heard various stories about how it works– one friend of mine had to write a bunch of shit in Hebrew, a task this barely-Jew is CLEARLY incapable of without at least one month of practice. Another friend said he had to write his entire address in cursive. As we recently established, I do not know how to write a cursive t, much less any other letter that is not part of my name. I could envision me standing there with a shaky hand, taking 45 minutes to pen the words “New York” with the same skill and accuracy as Billy Madison writing “Rizzuto,” while Adam puts his head in his hands and silently wishes he had just asked his 98-year-old senile great aunt to do this instead. (Note: Adam does not actually have an old, senile great aunt. I’m just saying, if he did, she would have been the better choice).

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“No, no,” Adam assured me. “You literally just have to sign your name. No Hebrew, no extraneous cursive. We are making this as easy as possible for everyone involved.”

And then, in what can only be labeled the most unrealistic notion to ever enter my psyche, I thought, “Oh, ok. There’s no way I can fuck this up.”

You see where this is going.

I fucking fucked up the fuck out of it.

“But…but…how is that even possible?” you say. “You just had to write your name! You literally just had to do the one thing you’ve been practicing doing since you were 4 years old!”

Yeah. I know. FOR CHRIST’S SAKE I KNOW.

Here’s what happened. A bunch of guests were gathered in a room, and the rabbi called over the “witnesses.” To me, that meant ALL the witnesses (I’m not the only one who thought this– ALL the ketubah witnesses came over. #throwingmyselfabonehere). The rabbi explained to the first witness standing in front of her, Jon, that he needed to fill out his name and address on the sheet of paper, and “we’ll do the signature part later.” So Jon went first. Then the rabbi turned to me, as I was second in line, so I picked up the pen and went next. Right below Jon’s information, there was a line for the next witness to write in her information. So I did. Full name, full address.  In print, not cursive, thank god.

I then passed the pen to the next witness, Melissa. She went to fill out her information but there was no space for a 3rd witness (I had failed to notice this when I filled out my part. I just did what I was told by the rabbi– she has God on her side, people! If a rabbi gives you a task you fucking do it and you don’t ask questions. I later pointed this out to the rabbi, and she was honored that I gave her that much credit and power. Yeah, well. Never again, sister.) Confused, Melissa turned to the rabbi and said, “There are more than two witnesses here but there is no more space.” It is at this point that the rabbi informed us that this was not a form for the ketubah signers– this form was the official marriage license. You know, the paper you use to legally seal your union and prove you are married? That form. That binding, lasting contract. And I was NOT the designated witness for that form. Jon, who filled it out before me and is a best friend of the groom, was. The second witness was supposed to be the best friend of the bride.

I am not the best friend of the bride.

I’m an asshole friend of the groom who wrote on the wrong paper.

A paper that just happened to be the legal marriage license.

“Well, I guess you’re the new witness instead!” said the rabbi casually, thinking that solved the problem, which it clearly did NOT. The bride and groom had obviously very precisely planned who would sign their legal license, and I was not included even a little bit in that plan.

The only saving grace is that I did not actually SIGN the license. I just filled out the form with my information. The actual assigned witness could still sign it at the bottom, but her signature would not match the information I had given. So, in other words– it would not be, you know…legal. Per se.

“I mean….I guess we can just cross it out…” said the rabbi tentatively, clearly never having had to deal with a fuck-up this epic before. “It won’t look great, but it can still be used…”

Every newlywed couple’s dream.

So that’s what happened. The poor girl who was supposed to have had the honor of being the marriage license witness had to draw a line through all my printed information and squeeze hers in on top of it. And for the rest of their lives, Adam and Diana will have proof of my idiocy forever imprinted on a document reflecting the most important, meaningful decision they’ve made in life thus far.

When the ketubah signing part happened afterwards, I managed to get my signature down on the correct line, because I looked the bride dead in the eye and said, “Please show me EXACTLY where to sign.” I then wished the couple a lifetime full of “love, happiness and LAUGHTER,” emphasizing the word laughter in my most dire tone, so as to indicate, “Hey, remember when I screwed up your marriage license? We’re all already laughing about that, right?”

Probably not.

When the whole thing was over, Adam came over to me, gave me a huge, warm bear hug and gently whispered in my ear, “Thank you for ruining my wedding.”

Well you. are. WELCOME.

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This is Why I Prefer Not to Have a Doorman

As I leave for my daily run, trying to get out the door and get started…

Doorman: “Wow, you sure do run a lot. Even in this heat?”

Me: “Yup! But this is nothing compared to how much I used to run! I used to run marathons and half marathons on the regular.”

Doorman: “Wow. But I find that people who run THAT much are running away from something.”

Oh. (awkward stare-down)

Me: “Ok, bye!”

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