Note: Let me clarify that I’m not writing for pity. I’m seeing a therapist, which is neat, and that’s what I need to get over this nonsense. Nor do I believe that what I deal with is the end of the world or bigger than any other problem out there. In fact, I don’t think it is at all, but I wanted to share my experience with my peculiar brand of humor. Enjoy!
“Old habits die hard.” How much do you want to bet that will the sixth movie about rugged, bald, nigh-60 John McClane? As sure as I am that I’ll shell out $10 to see that at the cinema, that’s not why I quoted Jeremy Belknap.
No, the reason that I brought up that hottie’s idiom was due to self-realization just moments ago. We all have old habits, new habits, and religious habits, but I’m not a stylish nun, so I just have the initial two.
Some of my habits (e.g. chewing gum, peeling the label off of my beer bottle, compulsively checking social media for a half hour while already in bed) are benign or just barely annoying. Some (e.g. chewing someone else’s gum, peeling the label off of my 17 soon-to-be emptied beer bottles, posting hateful remarks on all social media, especially Friendster) are more malicious or awful. One snuck up on me and is the one old habit I wish I could’ve avoided forever.
Anxiety. Is. Balls.
Quick background: I was your standard shy kid – I hid from relatives, other adults, and girls. When you hit middle school with that sudden twinge that you want to have a girlfriend (man, did I want to pass some notes), nothing hurts more than the jealousy toward other guys who are stepping it up. Hell, I was jealous of myself; I had a galpal from kindergarten through second grade. What happened to The Junior Pimp? Also, why didn’t I ever call myself that then?
After I hit high school and found myself doing theatre, I declared myself a new Ian. I even went so far as to call myself “Ian 2.0” in my AIM profile. Y’know, when AIM was a thing and buddy icons RULED.
So I thought I was good to go. If I ever had a shy moment, I would brush it off or label it as something else. I was Ian 2.0, man! I could be anyone as long as I was an Ian with a patch number.
But it really did blindside me recently. Instead of coming to terms with anxiety, I made excuses and rationalizations. It transformed into irrational outbursts towards those near and dear, caused me to close myself off from the same people, and made me believe that I was worthless and a detriment to society.
I finagled my way out of going to the new casino because I was too anxious about driving downtown on a Friday night. It took a while to join a new gym as I came up with “reason” after “reason” to not have to deal with a new set of faces. There’s no concrete trigger, but it doesn’t seem to take much for me to curl up and dive into a pool of self-deprecation and hopelessness. Like Woody Allen but with fewer Oscars.
But no one wants to read about some pustule on the internet whining about how life’s hard for him (it really isn’t).
But people DO want to read a review on a disorder wherein the person doesn’t realize he’s affected? …You don’t? Too bad, so sad. That’s what we do here.
Effect: On a scale of italicized to boldly italicized with an underline, I would put it at a mildly bold. Like Gill Sans Ultra Bold, but without the Ultra.
As I mentioned, it’s sometimes hard for me to see people who I’ve known for years because it means leaving the house and trying to make conversation without seeming like a tool. For as good as I believe I am at reading other people’s tone and body language, my social anxiety completely clouds my judgment. I wouldn’t go to my parents’ house when my cousin and her kids visited(the place home I lived from 0-18, 22-23, and 24-25.5) because I hadn’t seen them since May, and I felt like I wouldn’t know what to say, or that I would rumble, stumble, and bumble throughout the entire visit.
This is someone I’ve known my entire life. I had no problem, minus some general nervousness, hopping on OKCupid and meeting my galpal for the first time, so why couldn’t I go see my cousin? But it applies to my newborn nephew. My first nephew. I saw him in the hospital, and I’ve seen him at family functions following that, but why can’t I bring myself to visit my brother’s house and hang out with the little fart?
While I would never think to label this disorder’s effect as one stronger than many other maladies and defects (I’m a fully functioning adult who likes to function on his ass), it is definitely stronger than I anticipated.
Ooh! That brings me to my next measure:
Perception of Disorder: 9 out of 10 on the Ridiculosometer.
For someone who considers himself open-minded (still waiting for that black, gay, Muslim, blind, mute, transgender presidential candidate), I somehow barred myself from believing that anxiety was anything more than common trepidation.
“It’s poppycock,” I said. “That’s a weird word for a 20’s-something American guy to use,” I replied. I retorted with the notion that it seems like the wuss of disorders, and that it’s not even a real reason for my actions. “I see your point, but many people seek therapy for such a condition,” I mentioned. “But you never hear anyone discuss it!” I claimed.
“Doesn’t it make sense that people who have anxiety don’t bring it up?” he clarified.
“Ah…I see. You’re a good conversationalist,” I complimented.
Despite the recent and logical discovery that anxiety (in whatever form) is a legitimate problem for many people, part of me refuses to believe that it is. Instead of using it as a reason, I consider it an excuse. My brain would much rather declare myself an abject piece of garbage with a massive forehead.
Which in no way leads me to my final criterion for critiquing.
Confusion: OASdkmwpeEd@$ out of ^54sj0*—+f~.
This anxiety is my own personal Tim Wakefield. Example: work stresses everyone out even if you love what you do, right? Something there will gnaw at you on certain days.
For someone in sales that consists of driving to a dozen counties and trying to introduce yourself to people you’ve never met who don’t necessarily want your product? Well, that makes for a particularly upsetting car ride. It takes roughly two hours to get from my house to Marion, OH, which is one of the longer drives. That’s two hours of me yelling at the radio for its asinine jocks, scolding drivers who can’t hear me, and being stuck in my own head. It’s emotional pinball.
But I avoid being in the office, too. Why? Because there are simultaneously too many and not enough people. I want to be social! I really do! I want to be an environment filled with conversation, movement, action, and life. Being in the car for the majority of the day doesn’t yield that feeling. But being in the office doesn’t, either. And what would happen if I were to imagine chatting in the building? I’d freeze up! But it’s inherently not a loquacious place, so why would I want to spend my time there when I can be in the car and not talk to anyone?
If you’re on the same page, congratulations. I feel some people might be so off the page that they’re in an e-reader.
Aren’t reviews supposed to recommend a product or deter the customer away from it? Okay, then.
If you’re out at Discount Disorders this Black Friday, I would strongly suggest avoiding Anxiety™ if you can help it. Look, I know the prices are going to be INSANE, even if the affliction isn’t. If you really want to shop there, then I’d purchase the Sociopath™. Make sure you spring for the “Highly Functioning” package.