Can you imagine being Alice? You see rabbits in a waistcoat, fall down a very deep hole, grow and shrink at random, talking animals, crazy royalty and terrifying monsters. The poor girl was falling apart and constantly questioning what could be real and what isn’t. She questioned where she was but also constantly who she was. This anxiety is something I can relate to all too well.
I suffer from anxiety and the people around me probably suffer from my anxiety too. Sorry loved ones as I know I drive some of you bat shit crazy 🙂 Being an introvert and also hyper-self aware I can spiral into an abyss of psychoanalyzing myself and others around me which causes me intense exhaustion. Some of my anxieties seem to contradict others and I get so uncomfortable in my own skin it may appear as though I am hyperactive. Honestly I’m not, I just really like cleaning bathrooms (more on that at a later date).
Social Anxiety –
For the most part I am antisocial but I hide it very well. I keep a very small selection of acquaintances but tend not to deal with any of them in person often. The idea of having to go out somewhere and have to make small talk with people is paralyzing. If given the option I would much rather stay home and talk to my pets before conversing with humans. Dating … hahahaha that had been an impossibility until I met someone truly unique.
I was married painfully for 13 years to a socialite narcissist that drove me crazy. He couldn’t even go out for dinner with me without a group of people joining us to gossip with. He loved parties, clubs, and social gatherings where he could be the center of attention. Being a narcissist, this was even more extreme. He also liked to put me into the center of attention to show me off in order to gain praise from others himself. It was all too much for me but I would suck it up and do my best to entertain him and his friends if it meant he wouldn’t punish me. Once I got home or people left I usually would suffer an intense migraine and take a few days to recover. Every event made me even more anxious about the next possible one.
Having social anxiety makes some of the simplest tasks very complicating. To go grocery shopping I usually drive way out of my way in order to avoid the possibility of running into anyone I might know at the store. Going out to eat or for coffee tends to result in a drive-through so I don’t have to leave my car. I don’t shop anywhere within an hour drive of my home and if I do see someone I know I do my very best to pretend I didn’t see them. This may seem rude but I just don’t know what to say and because I really don’t want to talk I tend to do the exact opposite. In awkward situations I can’t seem to shut the hell up and often spit out topics so bazaar even I can’t believe it. Then once I am out of the situation I spend the next several days agonizing over what I said, did and how the unfortunate soul reacted. God only knows why people don’t run in terror the other way when they see me aside from they may just find me highly entertaining.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) –
This has been a major battle for me. At times I figured I had it under control when BAMM! Just like getting hit by a truck something happens to remind me of situations from my past and I spiral out of control into my pit of despair. It could be something understandable like a nasty email from my ex-husband. Sometimes it is something as simple as an advertisement or as terrifying as being approached by a stranger on the street.
My PTSD is a result of years of manipulation, physiological and sexual abuse. When you combine that with the fact that I am often approached by men who are looking for affairs, fantasies and one night stands. My anxiety tells me that there must be something wrong with me if I attract sexual deviants. A married man who I considered to be my closest friend, asked me to have a group orgy affair with him! Considering he was completely aware of my past and the emotional trauma that I had undertaken it still blows my mind that he would have asked such a thing of me. Needless to say we do not speak anymore. This has not been the only case (I could right a book just on affair requests) but was definitely the most painful as my already depleted trust in men was trampled. I avoid being alone with men as much as possible now in the hopes of avoiding being propositioned.
General Anxiety –
I worry about everything and by everything I really do mean EVERYTHING! For a moment I started typing a list but then worried that it would be soo long I might never finish it or maybe no one would read it. When I was a teenager this worry manifested into mild depression (never diagnosed) and ultimately scared me out of perusing the career of my dreams. My worry about being alone forever resulted in me settling for the narcissistic sociopath ex-husband and kept me with him for 16 years, 13 of which married.
Anxiety is bad enough for the average sufferer but once you have children it’s amplified. Trying to get pregnant caused a lot of anxiety, miscarriages were crippling, pregnancy was a 9 month long worry festival! Once my daughter was born I had the added work of worrying about her every day and I still do. It is very hard to let go and allow your children to make their own mistakes. There are days I breakdown and wonder if I have done everything wrong in raising her but she is only 9 and has managed to survive this long so I will give myself some credit. They say it is natural to worry about your children over their entire lives so I have a lot of worrying to look forward to and probably shouldn’t waste it on little things.
Being an Introvert –
Aside from my anxiety issues I am naturally an introvert. I have never thrived in groups no matter how I try and I find them exhausting. If given the option to go out or stay home and watch a movie, I will pick the movie every time. If I do go out I find that I am saying “what the fuck!” more often then most people. All the insanity just makes me want to go home and lock the doors. Mostly I enjoy solitary tasks like reading, sewing, cooking, writing and above all else … cleaning the bathroom! It is the one room in the house that provides me the most cleaning satisfaction, next would be the kitchen but that is can make up a separate blog post alltogether.
People confuse introverts with being solitary but that is an incorrect assumption. There are many different levels of introverts. I do not like to be alone, at least not for a long time but the person I am with needs to be calm and loving and let me be me without judgement. I love to dress up nice but that doesn’t mean I want to go out, it just makes me feel good to put on a dress or a silly costume and STAY HOME. I love to cuddle quietly and recently I have come to appreciate what it is to just sit, relax and enjoy the view.
This world is a frightening and wonderful place and just like Alice I often wonder WTF is going on and where I am. Is any of this real and how is it possible I could have lived through so much crap with such anxiety? The obvious answer is that I am Wonder Woman, clearly. If I am than I would really like to find my invisible jet because traffic sucks in the morning. My superpower is my hyper-self awareness which allows me to recognize my anxiety and tell myself to calm the fuck down. Some days it just takes longer than others for me to listen to myself and get my head out of the rabbit hole.