Anxiety lies

There’s been a lot of posts on Facebook and Instagram recently (at least on the pages that I follow, which to be fair there’s more than a few about mental health) about anxiety and how it doesn’t look like a lot of people expect it to. Even when I first got the “official” anxiety diagnosis a year or so, I didn’t realize that a lot of the things that I was experiencing could be attributed to anxiety. Headaches, upset stomach and digestion problems, irritability, insomnia, jumpiness, anticipating the worst (I honestly thought that this was a bipolar thing, which it very well might be, but I personally think it’s the anxiety).

But how can you trust yourself when your brain is constantly lying to you? Telling you that you’re not good enough, making up scenarios with absolutely no evidence and then convincing you to believe them (things like your husband is cheating on you while you’re at work, that everyone is just pretending to be your friend and they really can’t stand you, and on and on and on), making you reinterpret things that happened into something totally different.

My anxiety, at least, gives me these really dark, fucked up thoughts. These are not rooted in any kind of reality, but these are the things that my brain has convinced me are legitimate fears, no matter how times I’m told these are not going to happen.

***This is going to get a little graphic, so feel free to skip this paragraph if you have a weak stomach.***

We have an alarm system on the house. Not because we’re worried about things getting stolen, but because I’m convinced that someone is going to break into the house and mutilate, maim, and disembowel the cats and hang their bodies on the wall. I know, this is totally fucked up and has no root in reality, but this is one of my greatest fears. Not many people know about this, but the ones that do all agree that this is one of the most fucked up things that they’ve ever heard and very not likely to actually happen.

I know that. I know this is irrational. But I can’t make it go away.

***It’s safe to start reading again***

I’ve talked about these dark thoughts in therapy (and believe me, this isn’t the only one, but probably the most common for me), and the best solution we’ve come up with is to acknowledge them, understand that this is not reality, and try to move on.

Yeah, easier said than done.

What people don’t realize is that when your own brain is the one that’s lying to you, it becomes really hard to differentiate what is real and what isn’t. Mike and I have played the Real or Not Real game a few times when I really need help sorting through these thoughts. Sometimes they get so bad that I really can’t make sense of things.

I wish that there was a better course of action other than the “acknowledge, understand, move on” bullshit, because I have to tell you, sometimes this is almost impossible. Please don’t take this as bragging, but I’d like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent person. Which makes not being able to trust myself that much harder. I hate it all. I don’t wish this on anyone.

Anxiety lies, and she is also a cruel mistress.

The Art of Choas… and lots of socks

My life is generally in some state of chaos. Up until the last few weeks I was juggling working, classes, keeping up with house chores, grocery shopping, a husband, and four cats. Classes are over and I’m done with my MBA (hooray! Now I just need to find a job), so that frees up a lot of time in any given  week. So what do I do? Fill it with more chaos!

My husband recently came home from work to find me standing on the kitchen counter with everything that had been in the counters spread all over the counter, table, sink, stove, and in a few cases, floor. When we moved into our house two years ago everything in the kitchen just kind of got put somewhere. Most of the placements didn’t make sense, things that were of the same kind of thing (think pasta),were often found in different cupboards. This, more often than not, led to me buying more of things we already had just because I couldn’t find anything when I’d start planning meals for the week. So what did I do? Rip it all out and put it all back together again. Once the cupboards were done I did the same with the pantry racks, and the fridge. I drove Mike nuts for the better part of three hours as I planned and  then talked to myself as I put everything away again.

Another day was my closet and dresser – I haven’t worn most of that stuff in years. And with me in the process of revamping my wardrobe, I likely wasn’t going to. That turned into an all day ordeal as a number of things I had to try on before I made a decision one way or another. Nothing was safe from my purge. Haven’t worn this shirt in two years? Gone. Vera Bradley bag from 2014? In the bag. Again Mike came home to an absolute disaster, this time in the bedroom, as it looked like the contents of my side of the closet had barfed all over the bed.  And then there was the socks. I should explain that I hate white, cotton socks. All of the socks that I wear on a day-to-day basis are those thinner (not quite dress socks, but not as thick as athletic socks), mostly acrylic socks that have things on them. Doctor Who, Lilo and Stitch, Slytherin, owls, etc. The only white socks I own are no-show socks, and even then only because I couldn’t find them in fun colors or
prints. I wear scrubs to work, and funky socks make me feel like at least a little of my personality is showing through. That being said, as you can see from the picture, I have far too many socks. The picture was taken after my sock drawer regurgitated its contents all over my bed. I finally did the smart thing and got rid of all of the ones that I don’t wear, the ones I don’t like, the ones that have holes in them. I’m still left with over 30 pairs of socks, but progress is progress. Maybe later in the year I’ll start
retiring some of the Doctor Who socks – I’ve had some of them for 2-3 years.

(This is just not necessary. Watson for scale.)

Anyway, now that I’m totally off topic.

I seem to thrive in chaos. I grew up in an Italian household with my grandparents, my mom, my uncle, one aunt, and one aunt who didn’t live there but was always around. It was generally madness. When I went back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree, I normally took 16-20 credits a semester, and worked at least three jobs in a combination of an on-campus job, tutoring, and a retail job where I worked 25-30 hours a week. I was constantly under crazy deadlines, but I made it through in three and a half years with above a 3.0. After college I worked two jobs for a number of months just to try to make ends meet as my first job paid jack but it gave me a lot of really valuable lab experience and skills. About two years into my current job I decided that my bachelor’s in science really wasn’t going to help me climb any ladders, and I could already tell that the kind of schedule I was working was not something I wanted to be doing long-term, so I figured hey, let’s go get an MBA while I work full-time.

My point is that if you don’t like where your life is or the direction it’s going in, there’s always the opportunity to change it and make it better. Get a new job, get a new degree and a new career, move to a new city. Chaos isn’t necessarily a bad thing – sometimes the best ideas are borne from chaos. At least personally I’ve found that when things are chaotic and hectic is where I really challenge myself and test my limits. I refuse to be one of those people who sit around and wait for things to happen to them.

Because in my experience they just don’t happen. You have to work for them and make them happen.