Tuesday, 27 April 2010

And As Soon As You Have Rearranged The Mess In Your Head He Will Show Up Looking Sane Perfectly Sane If I Know Crazy

My anxiety is difficult for me to explain to most people. I get "what are you so worried about?" a lot. Also "you just need to relax" (stabby stab stab.) The thing is, I'm not worried. To be worried implies a thought process. When I walk into a room full of strangers, I am not worried that they won't like me or that I won't have anything to talk about or that I'll say the wrong things. I am not worried. I am not thinking, period. I am trying to remember to breathe because I feel light-headed and dizzy. I am trying to focus on putting one foot in front of the other because my knees feel like jelly. I am trying to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth. I am in survival mode, trying to quell the flight and embrace the fight (though I know that walking into a room full of people I don't know doesn't necessitate a "fight," my anxiety feels very primitive to me.) I don't let my anxiety stop me from walking into a room full of strangers, though. I walk into the room and I die a little on the inside as I talk too quickly and laugh too loudly and drink too much gin and smile too widely and sometimes I think that I'm pulling it off, I'm fooling people into thinking that I'm just a normal person having a normal night out.

* * * * *

Part of the review process at the sleep disorder clinic was an appointment with a psychiatrist. Before I could be admitted to the program it needed to be confirmed that I sometimes feel sad and blue because I am tired because of the sleeping issues, and not that I suffer from depression which causes sleepiness and lethargy in some people. So I met with the psychiatrist and we talked about how I sleep and the problems I have and the triggers I have identified. At the end of our appointment, the psychiatrist told me that I would be accepted into the program (happy face!) She also told me that when I am finished with the sleep disorder program, perhaps I should consider treatment for my anxiety disorder which she feels is unrelated to my sleeping issues but is obviously having a negative effect on my quality of life. And then I cried a little because I hadn't spoken to the psychiatrist about my anxiety. Sure she's a medical professional trained to identify mental illness, but I couldn't help feeling exposed. I thought I was quirky and maybe a little high-strung but after spending only one hour with the psychiatrist she could see that I am crazy.

Crazy: a word I use to describe myself to diminish the impact it has when others use it against me; a word that now feels tainted and wrong coming out of my mouth.

* * * * *

I wanted to talk about TequilaCon and how fun it was and how fantastic it was to meet people I've long thought were rad, only to find out that they are ten times as rad in person as they are on the internet. I wanted to talk about how proud I am of myself for going to a pub, alone, to meet up with a group of people who aren't strangers but the majority of whom I've never met before. I wanted to tell you about the giggles and the mooosetashes and the poutine and instead I'm all angsty and wrapped up in my own head. I blame the rain.


  1. Oh sweetie, if having an anxiety disorder meant that you were crazy I don't think that most people would get out of the house. I'm so glad that you don't let it stop you- but I'm so sorry you have to go hand to hand combat with it all night. I'm glad that, as hard as it is, you're looking into your options.

    And just because you're as nuts as the rest of us, that doesn't diminish how quirky and wonderful you are for a second. It's all kinds of beautiful =)

  2. Hugs to you!!

    Yay for the sleep clinic and Boo for the rain (I shivered at work all day! It's a tea and PJ's kinda day.)

  3. I'm crazy too :) I suffer from major depression and anxiety. I like to try to embrace it and make mental illness be less scary to people who think that it means you are actually crazy.
    Seekin help doesn't have to be a bad thing, I think it's a GREAT thing. It makes life easier :D
    hugs muffin

  4. Well, you sure fooled me on Saturday. ;)

    Honestly, the fact that you are taking steps to figure all of this out and deal with it shows that you are NOT crazy. Just flawed like the rest of us.


  5. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder almost 9 years ago. We worked on different strategies that I could use to deal with it.

    It has been a long time since it has really impacted my life.

    I also used to have related insomnia. That passed when I got my anxiety dealt with.

    Things will get better. But you will have to work on it. And it will get easier.

  6. This line spoke right through me: "Crazy: a word I use to describe myself to diminish the impact it has when others use it against me." Oh man oh man, yes yes yes.

    (I'm new here, but thinking of you all the same.)

  7. Hillary,

    I think you are truly crazy but you are a hot babe & seem harmless, so that is ok. I like to give breaks to harmless hot babes, Thanks

  8. Dear Crazy woman, i always knew you were a bit mental when i first met ya - didn't think you could get much worse than the 'magic ring' i mean for f**k sake - we were taking it in turns to pee so we didn't have to leave a hula hoop - surly you've not slipped further than that? if so - I'd be happy to pay for your institution on the provision that they only service gin through a drip and allow me to sleep over at weekends so we can sit up all night giggling at the walls - ooh and this institution must be in London because i know what Canada and the USA is like - they are therapy mad make millions out of every day folk and their quirky issues.

  9. Having an anxiety disorder is so much better than being an anti-social ax murderer. :-)

  10. Sweetness please give me a shout if you ever want to talk about anxiety. I had SEVERE social anxiety for a long time and I know exactly how it feels... I'm here if you ever need to chat <3

  11. Hugs... From one "crazy" girl to another.

  12. oh JOY, our friend mush is back? just in time to make insulting and inappropriate comments, ugh.

    doooood. you're not crazy. you hear me? YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. i have allergies; you have anxiety. both make living life crappy without treatment. no one thinks it's weird to get meds for allergies - people would think i was "crazy" if i DIDN'T get meds for them - so please do not feel crazy / bad / upset about needing help for something EQUALLY NOT YOUR FAULT. love and kisses and american fake poutine xoxo

  13. You've just described my husband's whole life. On the outside, he thinks he is calm and that no-one can tell he's freaking out on the inside (and yes, they very often can, my dear).

    The naturopath actually confirmed that his heart rate does not slow down when he lies down. His adrenaline is always pumping. His system has actually become desensitized to it and can't recognize the difference between a threatening situation and a safe one. There is no thought involved - it's physiological and it's chronic.

    I want to second Alice and say that you need not feel weak or dependent if you decide to try medication as part of your therapy. If I know anything about this kind of stuff (and 7 years dealing with it says that I do), you likely don't even realize what life without anxiety is and you probably don't remember what *you* are like without it. I say that you try whatever you have to in order to find that "normal/happy" feeling again and THEN you decide how you're going to keep it. It is almost impossible to see the way out of the mess when you're buried under 10 feet of it.

    That's my two cents. If you ever want to chat about it, drop me a line (i.e. e-mail). We're "all about" the crazy, over at our house.

  14. (It's DW, over at atmymothersknee.blogspot.com, by the way - I'm signed in under the wrong account at the moment)

  15. Shit girl, I'm on all kinds of meds (okay, only two) for my anxiety and depression issues and I in no way think I'm crazy. Nor would I think someone else who was on meds for their issues was crazy. I would think they're smart for working their shit out.

    Sometimes being on meds helps just because it gives you an idea of what being "normal" is, and how far off the mark you've been. You don't have to walk into a room of people and be freaked out, you just don't. And you need to train yourself to know what it feels like not to feel that way. Am I making sense?

    Either way, good luck and email me if you have any specific meds questions.

  16. Oh, lovey. Of course that made you feel exposed and crazy. But honestly, you're not. Anxiety is anxiety, and she's thinking about brain chemistry and suggesting you look into treatment that could make you feel better. She's not saying, hey, you're nuts and this is dire. I feel like I know 37 kinds of crazy, and while there are certainly more, you're not.

  17. We're all crazy. It's part of being female.
    I used to have daily anxiety attacks which caused even more as it caused more anxiety. I just realized that the next sentence I was going to write was going to sounds Scientology-y which means, crazy...
    so I'll say this. You're lovely and do what you need to do to make YOU feel better.
    For me, it was breathing exercises and I was glad I didn't have to take meds, though I would have.
    My crazy is that I hit things to relieve stress and anxiety - in a controlled setting, and the bruising is a bit weird for a girl, but feels good.
    We all do what we need to - and know that a lot of the people who you've met are just the same :)

  18. Having just met you for the first time in person, I can tell you that you come off as very normal. Does that help? I don't know. I don't think you should have to hide. We're all a little (or a lot in some cases, hello!, mine) neurotic or broken or quirky. This does not make you unloveable or not fabulous. In fact, it makes you human. Imagine that. ;-)

    It's good to have someone, a professional even, see you for the parts of you that you are ashamed of. Why do you think I go to therapy every week? Just know that these things do not define you unless you let them. You are more than these things that make you anxious or afraid.

    Hang in there.

  19. I saw photos that Sizzle took that included you and my first thought was, My two favorite Pacific Northwest bloggers. Together. Without me. Sigh.

    You know, lots of people deal with different levels of anxiety, whether it's triggered by events or just a general state of being. There's nothing shameful about admitting it and there's nothing wrong with choosing to address it. Once you're sleeping better, of course.

  20. My Klonopin doesn't leave my side. No shame. Just knowing that it's there makes everything 1,000 times better... I think of it as my Big Kid Security Blanket. ;-)

  21. I get the "what are you worried about?" and "can't you just chill out?" questions and accompanying eye rolls. But I do worry - a constant stream of fears and questions bombarding me from inside my brain. I loved your description of anxiety as something different than that.

    Am so glad you are getting help for the sleep issues - those are intermittent for me, but never fun and always amp up the worrying.

    And as a final thought, thank you for sharing this.

  22. The first paragraph of this post reminds me a lot of myself. I talk too fast... sometimes so fast that I start to slur my words like a drunkard. I think it's also from anxiety. If I am ever assigned to as social type of event for work, I tighten up inside and dread it for weeks until it has come and gone. Instead of circulating and assisting the media at said events, I stand in a corner, watching the clock until I'm allowed to go home. OX