Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anxious in Arizona

Before I start, I should mention that I'm not from Arizona….

The more I listen to this song, the more I get it.

But I've decided I have a problem.


Serious, uncontrollable, irrational anxiety.

If you go back to March of this year, the results of my anxiety drench the stuff I wrote during that month.  There was this boy, and he seemed nice.  I didn't have any interest in him beyond that, but it seemed pretty obvious that he was interested in me.  For the first time in my life, I began to wonder… how would I feel about dating?

But very early on, he made me feel as though my own troubles were insignificant compared to his.  I was so innocent and good compared to him.  And after some time of that (which seems fairly normal with boys), I began to feel even worse.  I'm terribly shy, and he was so not.  I've since begun to believe that his loud behavior may stem from his own inner embarrassment and need for attention.  But I can't be sure….  Because I freaked.

It wasn't long before I began to feel as though I wouldn't be good enough for him.  I began to think that I needed to be just as he was in order to keep him from moving on.  I was so scared that he would get bored with me.  So I pushed myself.  I didn't trust him, but I acted like I did.  I did things that normally would have been uncomfortable for me because I thought it was the kind of thing he wanted.  I rationalized that these things required a give-and-take.  He was constantly on my mind as I tried to figure out what to do to please him and I did a lot of crying and dwelling in depression.

Now to be fair to myself, the case he made for himself wasn't good.  He gave me plenty of reason to doubt.  But if I had just been cool, we both might have been able to come out of it unscathed and perfectly okay.

What kills me is I was that girl.  I was that girl that he probably talked about to other people, even other girls, saying how clingy I was, and begging for advice.  And that's what kills me.  I was a b****.  And I hope for your sake that's the only time I use that word on my blog, but unfortunately, it's true.

What opened my mind to all this?

A day without a single text message.

All summer long, I've been texting this friend of mine nearly every day.  We've always been pretty good friends, and I've always felt amazingly comfortable with him (especially considering he's a guy).  We just get along swimmingly.

But a few days ago, he didn't text me.

I was in the basement, going through my boxes and re-packing for college.  I had my computer open and I was watching "The Sarah Jane Adventures" on YouTube, accompanied by my little sister.  I was busy doing things, so I didn't think to text him and it didn't both me too much that he hadn't texted me.

But the next day, I was sure to text him as soon as I got out of my dentist appointment.  It was after two in the afternoon, which is right around when we usually start texting, so I texted him.

Our conversation that day was very sparse.  We each sent only about five or six messages that afternoon.  That's very unusual.  But there's nothing wrong with that, right?

By this time, everything inside me was screaming out in a panic.  My reason was telling me – indeed, I was telling me to chill out.  There is nothing wrong just because we aren't feeling very talkative for a couple of days.  There is even evidence that we'll recover!  This was not the first time such things had happened and yet everything was still perfectly fine between us (although I freaked out every single time).  What's more, our relationship is soooo healthy and natural.  It is devoid of flirting or games or pity parties, but even so, we're pretty comfortable talking about what's bothering us.

But that little bit of me that made sense wasn't convincing the rest of me.  The rest of me was divided between searching for excuses for him and bracing myself to let him go.  I thought, "What if he never texts me again?  We had such a promising semester ahead of us.  So many plans to watch movies and study for our class together.  What of those plans now?"  I spent too much time fighting off depression as helplessness and hopelessness and loneliness swept over me.  I began envisioning a future for myself on this trajectory, after I've lost all my friends, living alone on a farm, fighting off depression all by my self for the rest of my life, unable to make or keep friends.  I am not making any of this up.  And all because of two days.

Don't get me wrong.  It's not because I saw a "future" for "us."  …I have no idea what's in store.  I was freaking out because I was losing a friend, like all my close friends before him.

Well, the day after that, he texted me and things went on as usual!

My meltdown, hidden from all those around me (but unfortunately not from me), was not because I truly believed it would happen.  It was a response that has apparently been programmed into me and is unavoidable.  Nothing I did or told myself convinced me that everything was fine.  I was cool and calm on the outside, but a raving lunatic on the inside.  In March, this feeling drove me to badger the other guy with texts and ask him if everything was okay.

Who doesn't see this as a problem, raise your hand.

And I believe that my depression ultimately stems from this anxiety.  It makes so much more sense now!  I have had numerous theories about my moodiness – all plausible, just needing more observation of my behavior to better understand – but they all left some questions unanswered.  This is the one answer that makes the most sense.  I am fundamentally fearful that I will find myself alone when all is said and done.

And I've always known of my loneliness and admitted my great obsession to please.  My awareness of my anxiety has slowly been growing over the past few months until this last great leap.

There have been times when I've contemplated seeing someone about my depression, but I've never quite made up my mind.  I seemed to be gaining some control over my depression so I figured maybe it would be pointless to go to a professional.  But my depression was just a symptom of something much deeper.

So now I have to consider seeing someone about anxiety.

Now that I pinpointed it, I might be able to make progress on my own.  This is not a decision I'm going to make lightly.  First of all, like I said, I'm cool and calm on the outside.  Very few people even notice when I'm going through these things, which is usually because I get depressed and subtly draw away from people.  The one time I discussed depression with my mother, she was extremely skeptical.  But according to my best friend, I was a mess in March, even though she didn't understand why.  And secondly, I would feel a lot better if I could conquer this on my own.  I've seen what labels and counseling do to some people – it's kind of like, even though they're "working on it," they're at peace with it.  Upon hearing that it's something they can't help and that they'll have to correct it over time, they kind of settle into it.  But I don't want to be at peace with it; I want to wage intense, violent war on it.

But I'm not ruling out professional help.  I'm going to do some research and reflection.  No hasty decisions here.  Once I get other people involved, there's no backing out.

And the friend that I've been texting this summer, reads me really well.  He kind of picked up on my anxiety troubles without me saying it right out, so I know I can talk to him about it.  And there are a few other friends at school that I really trust and I know would be open to talking about this.

Do you have any thoughts?  Do you think this is as serious that it may warrant professional help?  Or do you think I'm over-thinking things again?



  1. I should also mention, that there is an electronic book about dealing with anxiety offered through the web-connected libraries in my state. For starters, I think I'm going to read that and see what I can get out of it. It looks promising.

    And any prayers for wisdom you guys can spare would really help I'm sure :)

  2. I will certainly pray for you - wish I could offer advice as well, but I really have no experience in these things and can't help at all. But, prayers!

    1. Thanks, Victoria! It'll probably be a long road, but I couldn't wait to get started. It is, after all, a new adventure!


I'm so glad you are thinking of leaving a comment! I have turned off automatic comment moderation but I still read every single comment that is posted. I will delete any comments that are immature, rude, disgusting, or inappropriate. Please conduct yourself with honor and decorum.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...