the day after a day of anxiety

First of all, I wish someone had told me that social security offices are not as scary as I imagined. To be fair, I’m sure no one knew that was ever anything I would need to be told. In case you need to know – social security offices are not as scary as you might imagine.

Yesterday, I asked Jonny to go with me to the social security office and he agreed. I felt shame and guilt about asking him. I told myself, “you’re a grown up now, this is something you should be able to do on your own,” and he left work early so that he could go with me, so I felt guilt about that. He was going to leave work early anyway, I just found a way to blame myself for it.

The social security office was not scary, and my social security card will be in my mailbox next week, and the world did not crumble to my toes.

I did a lot of things to take care of myself and my inner five-year-old. Here is a list of things I did throughout the day yesterday:

I made a gratitude list
I had coffee with a friend and talked about growing-up pains
I went to Toys-R-Us and cuddled with a bunch of stuffed animals
I asked someone for help with a scary errand
I wrote about my anxiety in my journal and on this blog
I checked my email
I cried a little
I cuddled with my cat
I did laundry
I read a children’s book to myself
I saw my sister and my brother-in-law
I had a little dance break
I went to sleep early and didn’t set any alarms this morning

Today I am feeling much better. Still a bit anxious. My anxiety is finding all sorts of things to be scared of. All sorts of worst-case-scenarios. I’m trying to just let that happen without reacting to it. This morning I had a wonderful coffee date with my sponsor, and I am feeling spiritually connected to reality.

I am also going to my favorite place in the world tomorrow, so that might be part of why I feel better. I am also tired from being so anxious, so I don’t have a lot of pent-up energy to give to my anxiety monster. Whatever I am anxious about will still be there tomorrow, so I will deal with that tomorrow. Today, I don’t want to be anxious. I just want to enjoy the sun and coffee and my cat and my friends and rap music.

drowning in anxiety and existential angst

Since my last blog post, I have only grown more anxious. I am totally conscious of the fact that I am terrified. The way I am seeing reality right now is all jumbled up. I am convinced that things are not going my way because this is the beginning of a terrible time.

It’s not. It doesn’t have to be the beginning of a terrible time. Small things that normally wouldn’t get to me are getting to me. I have 67 unheard voicemails because I am too scared to hear what they say.

I keep weaving back and forth between fun and terror. I start to have fun, I lose myself in writing or reading and I start to enjoy myself and then I remember that I shouldn’t be having fun, I should be waiting. I should be waiting for whatever terrible thing is going to happen.

My new alarm clock is a jolt of anxiety early in the morning. Fear wakes me up. I am afraid to talk to people because I am afraid they’ll ask me how I’m doing.

Thankfully, this has only been going on for a few days (the 67 voicemails are an ongoing thing). Also, I am very aware of what’s going on.

I am afraid of growing up. I am afraid I am going to mess it all up. I am afraid I am going to fail the test of being a grown up. I am afraid I already have. I am afraid I’m not cut out for adulthood. I am transitioning to a new level of independence and that really scares me. I keep telling myself that now I have to solve all of my problems, and I can’t ask for help anymore because I’m supposed to be a grown up.

I know these things are not true, I have balancing thoughts for all of them. Being a grown up can mean whatever I want it to mean. I can still love glitter and unicorns and dance breaks. But then I start finding loopholes. Being a grown up can mean whatever I want it to mean, but I still need to work on my credit score, I still have to pay my bills, I have to check my email regularly, I have to answer the phone when it’s a number I don’t recognize. I’m telling myself that I am being whiney and petty, but this is the deal right now. And I know I am not the only one going through this.

Messing up now has real consequences. And messing up before had real consequences.. I mean, I almost died… but somehow I am telling myself that these consequences will be worse. I’ll be homeless, my family will disown me because my credit score is bad. I’ll get depressed and be a terrible teacher and  then I’ll get fired from my job. I’ll wake up one day and realize I don’t have any friends because I was so busy running around trying to sweep my stairs and dust all the fans in my house. Also, life is meaningless and nothing matters.

As long as I don’t put drugs in my body or kill myself, I cannot possibly fail. I know that failure is a part of life, and I know I will face set backs and shitty situations. But when I live everyday waiting for those things to come, I start convincing myself that they have already happened. And I can keep living that way if I want to. Constantly grumpy because everything is terrible, just waiting for someone to mess up so that I can pass on my fear to them. Or I can leave it all here, and conquer my to-do list one thing at a time.

The universe always conspires for my highest good (my sponsor told me this recently and I am very, very into it). As long as I am doing the footwork, whatever falls into place is what is supposed to fall into place. I am grateful today. As much as I am fearful, I am equally grateful. And whatever is going to happen, is going to happen. Also, the meaning of my life is to give my life meaning.

I have a feeling this grown up transition thing is going to give me a lot of good blog post material, so that’s a plus. Stay tuned.

winning streak

I feel bad that I haven’t written. This blog has been my lifeline to reality, and my diary of progress over the last four years, and sometimes I go a while without touching it. I’d like to get better about that. But I also don’t feel terrible about it.

I’ve been busy. And when I’m busy, I don’t take as much time to stop and reflect. I spend more time thinking about my to-do list than I do thinking about my feelings. And maybe this business as been semi-intentional because sometimes I get tired of exploring my feelings.

A few weeks ago I had the thought, “wow, I’m really on a winning streak.” I graduated, I got a house, I got a job, and everything seemed to be going according to plan. That thinking was tricky because as soon as I decided I was on a winning streak, I started wondering when it would end. Naturally, despite the fact that everything is still just as it was when I began this winning streak, I feel like I am losing.

I’m unmotivated, I’m totally fearful that everything in my life is going to crumble at my feet, and I’m having a hard time bringing meaning into my daily life.

Today I realized that this is all totally in my head and completely dependent upon my current attitude.

Now I am trying to figure out how to change my perspective so that I can stay in this “I am dominating life” mindset. I like that mindset.

I’ll try to get back to you soon.