Last week I had a day where I almost wrote about 4-6 entries and was just going to have them post on a schedule. Almost, as it turns out, is equal to nothing. Despite my shortcomings, I’ve come back and am at least writing one. I’ve wanted to and probably needed to write on this for a long time, so it only makes sense that I am writing it at a moment that is most applicable.
Today I feel like I might just start uncontrollably vomiting, until all my insides start spewing out in front of my eyes. Of course, it doesn’t stop there, it is such an unease that after I’ve nothing left, lost treasures of the ancients start erupting from my mouth, the forgotten City of Atlantis, Planet X, and Jimmy Hoffa, who would know look like a huge overgrown fetus– all of that feels like it could be thrown up right now. Just some run-of-the-mill unease.
Anxiety is a very weird, overbearing thing. Gosh, what is it I am trying to remember, it is a book or movie or something where somebody talks about battling drug addiction only takes a few seconds of weakness to destroy days, months, years of strength. No clue what I am trying to allude to or what the quote is, but that is the gist of it. Anxiety can be kind of similar. More on that in a minute, I need to dig for some more context first.
I don’t know how I’d describe myself, I wouldn’t say I suffer from social anxiety or it is anything remotely near any sort of clinical thing, it is just something that started off as a small battle my entire life. By the time I had started to get into my upper teens it was a battle I had pretty much won and didn’t really worry about it more than what I’d say the average person does. It only takes a couple weird years to loosen all sorts of screws and discombobulate a person in that cliched image of some sort of device with gears flying out everywhere and stray springs popping out. I had those couple years, and so when I got out of that I pretty much had my sequel: The Anxiety Empire Strikes back, or however you want to refer to it. I felt crippled for a while. That’s what it does though.
I’m no expert, but the basics of it all is that your brain gets conditioned to respond to certain things with fear. So your input response is a physical discomfort and displeasure. The thing that is stupid about the whole thing is how broad the scope of what ‘social’ anxiety is. Because unless you’re living in the wilderness, that is pretty much the entire make-up of one’s life. So now, if things are conditioned that deeply, all it takes is a stray thought and your body places a survival instinct stressor on itself. Fun.
As an aside, I almost feel like curiosity must be a sister or brother to most forms of anxiety (assuming it is an irrational fear being experienced), just because socially, the average level of anxiety experienced tends to deal with the unknown. When we don’t know the outcome, or further, the realistic outcomes are so limited that we know the few they will be, but not which one it will be, it tends to be inescapable. I bet I’m mostly wrong, it just doesn’t seem too different from curiosity, except for whatever reason our natural reaction is to probe and prod into the situation, instead of recoil.
So here is where I find myself today: most of the time I have no problems at all, that feeling that my insides have been slowly boiling and are about to ooze out is entirely absent, but then there are just those moments where it just comes on. It is more specific than that, though. There is a loose pattern that usually involves 3-5 days at a time with no hints of such a feeling, then the day comes.
From the very moment I wake up, I’m covered in it. It’s like Nickelodeon as a kid, when everyone and anyone just got slimed for no reason. You’d be watching a show that had nothing to do with slime and then out of no where some unwitting kid looked like the evolution of Slimer from Ghostbusters into a biped. Just slimin dudes because they over-budgeted it and needed to be cost-efficient some how. And that’s what it is like. I was asleep, old school Nickelodeon recorded a show at my house and they thought it’d be cool to slime me– cause that’s what they do. So now I wake up and I’m like, “What the?– Oh come on man!” As soon as I make my first conscious movement, I feel the dreck and sludge of this filthy feeling, and then from that point it is your classic video game level design with the clock counting down and having to escape before it hits 0. I have to shake off this feeling as soon as I can so I can function normally, optimally and how I want to. Heck, if it is that bad, it sometimes is just so I can function comma, period.
And that goes back to my point about how it only takes that one impulse to hit you for a microscopic fraction of time. Instead of falling back into addiction though, I just need to be jabbed by an impulse once or twice and I might become useless for an entire day. Until either my subconscious starts to make sense again, or until my body gets worn out from being so stressed (which in cases of extreme anxiety is usually what it takes– it rarely takes being fatigued out for me, though it helps that it wears on you a bit so my rationality can take over quicker).
And that is the brief summary of one of life’s many inconveniences. It is just obnoxious having to deal with it, especially for the 2nd time. Because when I’m feeling normal and good, I think to how maybe the day or two before I was having to feel broken down and like my nervous system swapped all my controls, so if I wanted to use my right arm I needed to wiggle my toes, and if I wanted to take a deep breath I needed to wink and so on, yet on this, the average day, I feel so good. I am entirely sure of myself, maybe even almost to a fault– but I’d rather take that on as a liability than the anxiety.
Today was one of those days where I woke up covered in it. I still hear the distant echoes of it reverberating around my thoughts and feel it softly rumbling around within my chest and stomach, pounding on the lining of the walls, “Let me out!” It’s not getting out today, though. I’m pretty much good now. Last time anxiety and I had one of our little tussles was about 5 days ago, before that was probably 4 days previous to that. If I omit the one 5 days ago (it was an unusually overpowering case), and keep an inventory on all the cases of it, there is a clear linear trend of how long it lasts and how strong it hits me.
I think I’ll end this by paraphrasing something a best friend said this weekend. We were talking about confidence in oneself and in others (loved ones), as well as within a relationship. We had basically all concluded that we felt so much more confident when we could take our pitiful bit of confidence (if I imagine confidence in a physical manner, I see it as something akin to silly putty) I possess and stick it in the pocket of someone we have absolute trust in. Which is why he, currently dating someone, says he feels more confident in himself than he’s ever been, and why I, being out of a long relationship, had been feeling the lowest I had my entire life during the past half year. We all had laid out everything perfectly. But we, of course, weren’t putting absolute faith and confidence in the right person. If I put it in myself, I have too many ways to spoil it, have too much dirt on myself to keep it pristine and something to be proud of, and if I put it in anyone else, a girlfriend, wife, parent, Lady Frickin’ GaGa, or anyone, they are just another person, so either they will end up failing as I would, or I would have to, at some point, take that confidence back from their pocket and take it for myself– which likely will leave me with none when that time comes (as it did). As a Christian, it only makes sense for me to take that confidence I am supposed to have in myself and let God handle it. Absolute faith, remember?
I always say epiphanies are annoying because they are so obvious/common knowledge. That one was annoying.
Anyway, anxiety sucks. I suffer from it in small, weekly spurts. And that’s that. I just like writing about my flaws.
I feel much better now than before I wrote this.
– Jack Wizzy