I do not hide the fact that I have anxiety. Which is a mostly true statement. I am constantly aware of tremors and my hands and voice that I fight to control, I try not to let my fear slip through cracks in my facade. But I do openly admit to having anxiety. I view so many things through a lens of fear. People are amazed to hear that I never got a detention, had near perfect t attendance, never skipped class. Didn’t drink before I was 21 (except for a few sips in Germany when I was 17, but it was legal there and I had a signed permission slip). All because anxiety. I want to say that it’s because I am a good person, but a lot of it is due to fear. Which is a sad way to be good because it’s not about what you want to do, so much as what you have to do.
So, I want to try seeing the world through humor. When weird/awkward stuff happens, I won’t go cry in the bathroom, frustrated with my inability to cope. Instead, I’ll break the fourth wall like Jim in The Office. I’ve been practicing. Honestly, life is full of moments like that. So many things are funny in retrospect. So I’m going to try to laugh at them now.
When you work in a cave, the only way to go is up.
via Daily Prompt: Survive
I work so hard to fight my anxiety. To fight feeling out of control.
Authority figures terrify me. I’m not sure why because I pretty much never get in trouble. Talking to teachers, I’d literally bit my tongue to hold back tears. When I got pulled over for speeding (the one and only time), I cried uncontrollably. Just thinking about confronting someone will eventually leave me sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth, trying to remember how to breathe.
I hate how stupid it is. I know, logically, that these things are survivable. I know that. But my body tenses up. My chest tries to strangle my heart beat under control. My brain won’t slow down. It thinks and pushes the thoughts and feelings further and further. Then I’m doubly frustrated, first at whatever situation calls for a confrontation, and second that I can’t get myself under control enough to actually do what’s necessary.
So I plan. I put systems in place so as few things as possible upset me. And that works, sometimes. But life is unpredictable, uncontrollable. People misunderstand and their intentions aren’t always clear.
In order to survive, I’m putting better systems in place. Seeing a counselor. Exercising. An app on my phone. Challenging myself.
I can’t avoid me forever.
People often find it strange that I went to school for art and accounting. As if someone who likes math can’t be an artist or vice versa. I don’t necessarily excel at either, but I made good grades and really appreciated both. Finances are very important to all people. Oil paint costs money, scanners cost money, Photoshop costs SO much money. Art is a very expensive hobby sometimes. I also struggle with anxiety at times, so being prepared has been my best defense against worrying about money.
There was a time when I was afraid to look at my bank account or my loans. I was too scared to deal with it. Which only got worse as time went on, obviously. It’s like filling a bath tub with water and instead of turning the water off when it gets to high, leaving the room and closing the door behind you. So I looked. And I planned. And I figured it out. I still get anxious. Even my little emergency fund doesn’t totally keep that at bay, but I feel a lot better.
I currently have about $8,500 left on what was originally a $15,000 loan plus a good amount of interest. My plans, all things remaining the same, will have it paid off in November. Sometimes it’s a little painful paying out $1,200 a month (WAY above the minimum…I have a friend whose minimum is $1,100, which sounds terrifying). The thought of having no debt so soon alleviates a lot, but things pop up. Emergency lights in vehicles informing you to take it in to fix things you don’t understand. A dog with what seems like a tumor growing in her armpit. I’m in a better boat than a lot of people, I realize. I have a decent job, no serious debt outside of student loans, an emergency fund.
So I employee methods to keep my spirits up. I get a little too excited about payday because I get to whack a chunk out of my debt. I check to watch the numbers go down. I play with spreadsheets to predict the exact date of final pay off if I pay $100 extra more here and there. I keep a piece of paper that I slowly color in to visually depict the debt going away. I plan what I’ll do with all that extra money when the debt is over (invest! so exciting!). I think about how much easier (certain) problems will be to take care of when I don’t have to worry about my loans. One less bill to never ever pay again. One less thing to think about. I like that. I like that a lot. I am really risk-averse. I am very cautious. But I definitely sleep better at night knowing I have a plan (I also have a sleep mask, which helps considerably too).
Still kind of horrified when people talk to me in the check out line though.
Can’t win them all.