My anxiety yesterday was terrible. The irony is that my day was supposed to consist of letting my professors know about my anxiety. I couldn’t work up the nerve to do it. Yeah, you’re right, that isn’t irony. Irony is unexpected. This is probably closer to serendipity.
But the thing that really set me on edge¹ was that I got a call from a friend I had only last week written off as a former friend² (let’s call him Dwight Howard). By the time I met up with him I was already emotionally spent. So what made me agree to meet him? I don’t know. If you know, can you make like Craig David? Fill me in?
D.H. was pleasant. Inappropriately pleasant, considering our most recent encounter.³ He didn’t even want to talk about our last fit…which I still haven’t gotten over.⁴ So, what did he want to do then, I wondered? He just wanted to hang out. Oh, God, I thought. Not today. My heart is racing, my knees are weak, I feel nauseous… There’s no way. But he convinced me to stay. He always gets his way.
Here is an excerpt representing how our conversation went:
You look like something’s bothering you. What’s wrong? School thing?
No, Crazy Yvette thing.
There’s always a Crazy Yvette thing. But, I’m getting used to it.
Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong?
Because nothing’s wrong, I just feel anxious.
But you’ll feel better to talk about it.
It’s hard to explain and you really wouldn’t understand. It’s not worth trying to get into.
You think I don’t get anxious?
Man, it’s not even a matter of what you’ve faced. I bet you’ve had bigger stressful situations than I have, but you know how to cope. I just feel panic.
Well, try me.
You don’t get it. Nothing’s happened, and yet I feel like someone’s holding a gun to my head.
Then, you obviously have a problem and it’s really rude to not let me try to help, at least. Why do you think I won’t get it?
Because I’m explaining it right now and you aren’t getting it.
I knew it would be different outside the hospital. But now I’m really thinking I need a support group or something. It helps my mood to be able to talk about my feelings with people, but only with people I’m certain aren’t judging or oversimplifying things (my best girlfriend last night responded to a comment that I was feeling a little anxious: “But you’re here with me! Why would you be feeling anxious right now?”).
Just to clear a few things up:
Don’t ask me what’s wrong. Anxiety disorders are just that: disorders. Don’t try to apply reason to the way I feel. I’m busy trying not to see the reason in my feelings, acknowledging them as irrational and conquerable.
My mood is no one’s fault. Please understand that I don’t try to be contrite or contrary at any time. Sometimes my anxiety just gets the better of me and I won’t be fun to hang with. It’s not you. And I’m not an asshole.
If I don’t want to talk about it, drop it. Do you know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t talking to you? Drowning myself in my own fears and concocting worst-case scenarios. I want to get out of my head. Stop trying to get me to talk about a problem we both know isn’t really there. Basically, don’t make/let me dwell on the negative.
If I do want to talk about it, don’t try to relate. I recently told a close friend about my overdose, and though she was generally understanding, she mistakenly thought it would be helpful to relate to me the time she took 8 Tylenol because she was mad at her boyfriend. I felt like a Condescending Wonka jpeg.
Really wanna help me? The best thing you can do is get me laughing. I feel so much more comfortable and relaxed afterward. Throw on Impractical Jokers or some Hannibal Buress stand-up. Otherwise, just be patient with me.
Curious about how I’m feeling?
• Sometimes I feel anticipatory anxiety, the same way you would feel waiting outside an interviewer’s office for a position in the White House. A bit of heart racing and mild nausea – maybe a tad jumpy and awkward. The difference is that this happens not when I’m interviewing for Capitol Hill…all I’m doing is walking to accounting class.
• Other times I feel overwhelmed with nervousness like I’m blindfolded and tied to a Metro track and hear the train coming. My heart beats so hard and fast that it feels like it’s surely going to sprain itself, and my muscles get weak and jittery. Often I’m irritable and easily rattled. Every now and again I physically can’t get out of bed from the nervousness. It’s like as soon as I tell my body to move, my weight quadruples and my muscles just lack the strength. Usually this occurs when I have to meet someone I’m not particular comfortable with, like a professor, or someone with whom I expect the conversation to be emotionally trying, like an ex-boyfriend or former friend.