Oh dear Lord, why do I live my life in a friggin firestorm of anxiety? Today I feel like a fish who’s just found herself washed ashore and the tide going out.
Sample internal conversation:
Me 1: We’re going to lose our jobs and have no money and we’ll be forced to foreclose and live in a cardboard box under the overpass.
Me 2: Deep breath. These are emotions that come and go.
Me 1: What if Dear Husband dies? You know what you’re like – you freeze. Do you even know where your car insurance cards are? See, you’re screwed.
Me 2: Focus on the now.
Me 1: The now totally blows! I’m bored, and my eyes hurt. I need new glasses, and they cost a fortune. My vision’s so bad eventually there will be no glasses strong enough.
Me 2: What?
Me 1: And detached retinas. I’m at a very high risk for detached retinas. And there’s nothing I can do about it! There are no preventative measures!
Me 2: Maybe you should concentrate on finally setting up dental appointments for the girls.
Me 1: And orthodontics. Sure as anything Firecracker will have to get braces. How the hell are we going to afford braces? And they eat too much sugar. The dentist is going to secretly condemn me because I can’t figure out how to floss their teeth or teach them to do it themselves.
Me 2: Perhaps you should read a book over lunch break…
Me 1: Library fines – can you believe I had to pay over $30 in library fines? I’m so irresponsible and disorganized. And my house is impossible. I hate housework. The countertops are sticky. No matter how many times I wipe them, they’re always sticky. And the kitchen table is always piled with papers glued to the surface by pancake syrup. Which I really shouldn’t let the kids eat – real maple syrup has to be better for you, but it’s so expensive (remember the cardboard box). And now the doctor tells me they have to cut back on dairy products, which just reminds me that I’m a bad mother and my kids won’t eat anything because I haven’t, well, done something. I don’t know. Nothing works. They hate everything. They hate things they used to like. We’re going backwards. My kids are going to be fat and have rickets.
Me 2: You need a valium.
Me 1: Yes, I do. But I can’t even afford the medication I take. What if I’m on the wrong medication? Maybe my diagnoses are all wrong. What if I’m not really bipolar and instead managed to bamboozle the doctor because it really seemed that my symptoms fit and nothing else worked and then we threw in ADD but perhaps I’m just really lazy and don’t get enough sleep and both of those are over diagnosed because doctors like to diagnose you with stuff. And I think my mom was bipolar but who knows because she was in an institution in the 50s when they shocked everyone and put them on lithium and they said she was schizophrenic but then how did she get by without any meds at all? None, zilch, zero. And she swung like a pendulum. But I don’t – I’m not that bad, really. I just get depressed over and over. I don’t gamble, I don’t empty the bank account, I don’t stay up all night, I don’t think I can conquer the world (although sometimes I think I can drop the meds because it’s really okay, I’m really okay), and I don’t behave recklessly (unless you count the years of taking whatever drug was handed to me, getting drunk in unsavory situations, cutting myself, and that rather weird episode of unprotected sex with a series of men, which pretty much clinched matters for me because that was totally out of character for someone as generally uptight and painfully timid and anxious as I am, but at the time it just seemed rather free-spirited, and then just really really skeevy), and how do you know if your thoughts are racing if that is just the way they are and have been all your life? What would you compare it with? Doesn’t everyone think like that, with thoughts galloping across the plains? The speed of my thoughts feels normal. A little exhilarating sometimes, when I’m surfing them, but who wants slow thoughts, anyway? That’s the cold depths of depression, when thoughts are stiff-legged and lag behind. But it could just look suspiciously like bipolar, because that’s how I’ve arranged all my memories, now, whereas before they were all arranged for dysthemia and no one, no one, would have considered otherwise. Maybe because I lied a lot. I lie to therapists. I leave out stuff. I rearrange it. I exaggerate or understate. I actually understate a lot. If I’m really really ashamed of something, I never ever admit it, or it takes years, or I honestly don’t think it’s relevant even if it shaped me in some way. Being bisexual, for instance. I don’t mention that. Is it relevant? I don’t know. Maybe I’m not really. I mean, sheesh, I’m married here. Maybe I just hang onto that identity for some unknown reason, because it’s kind of cool to be secretly different even though it has zilch impact on my life now, except that I find it hard to imagine being completely straight. How can you be completely one way or the other? How can you find one gender undesirable? What exactly is that like, anyway?
Me 2: Do you even hear yourself?
Me 1: I hear almost no one else, because I’m totally self-centered and don’t know how not to be, because here I am with myself, keeping myself company, and whatever I do, I’m stuck in here, worrying that I’m not very giving and can’t seem to make friends and I talk a lot about compassion blah blah blah but I never really do anything, unless you count writing to my congressman twice or making donations doing something, and the only thing I’ve ever done at church was work in the nursery sometimes, because I feel really weird trying to do volunteer work, everyone else is so genuine and caring and I’m cold and remote. Trust issues you know, fear of commitment, which is why I don’t make friends. I don’t want anyone to know me, at least not the people I meet now. I’m afraid I’ll be exposed for a fraud and lose my job. And how the hell did I end up working for a denomination that partners with organizations that try to “cure” gay people? WTF? That’s not me. That’s an abomination. But here I am, 100% cynical skeptic working for people who believe in 5 point Calvinism.
Me 2: Are you done yet?
Me 1: Yes, I think so for now, because I have cherry nougats.