Yesterday as Z and I were having our ritual goodbye-for-the-day hug I told him that I worried he would decide he was done dealing with my crazy. He pulled his jacket around me and held me tight, “Um, if I was going to be done dealing with your crazy I would have made that decision a really long time ago.” Thank god he can make me laugh when I’m a mess, it doesn’t cure me but it makes life a little easier to bear. And thank god he is used to dealing with me. We have a version of this conversation almost every day when I’m not doing well.
Everyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder experiences it in a different way. Yes, your anxiety is its own unique little flower. Mine comes with a large side of self-loathing. When things are bad I think that every person who is interacting with me does so out of pity and just wants to be able to get away from me. I feel like I have zero redeeming qualities, nothing to offer anyone in return for their friendship.
When close friends who know how bad things are ask how I am I pause for a second-do I tell them the truth? When are they going to get sick of me being unwell? When are they going to stop wanting to be around someone who is a tremendous bummer? I feel like I offer nothing in return for their friendship. I take and take and take.
It’s like I forget how to be around people who care about me. I’m scared I will fuck up every relationship in my life because the real fear is that I’ll end up alone. The fear is that everyone I love will figure out I’m a worthless piece of crap, that they’ll realize their lives would be better without me in it. And I wouldn’t blame them one bit.
You’d never know this stuff was going through my head if we met on the street. Acting normal is of the utmost importance to me, I do it like it’s my job. T and a little gal from his preschool have fallen deeply in love. Her mom and I arranged a play date for the kiddos, T’s first with a kid from school. She, her mom, and her little sister came over for a few hours this morning. Was I a mess for the 24 hours before the get together? Yup. But I don’t know this woman well. It was imperative she think I’m normal and not in the middle of a metal health situation. I believe I passed. It felt like a rush, like I have some shred of control over my life. And on top of it I had a really nice time, the girls are sweet as hell and their Mom is lovely as well.
So what is the point here? I don’t tell you guys this so you’ll blow smoke up my ass about my friends wanting to be my friends. Do you have a loved one who suffers from mental illness? I tell you this because it is the kind of shit they are thinking. Again, they have their own special crazy, the details are different. But the result is the same. They are uncomfortable in their skin, they feel like they are living a lie, they know they are worthless. They want your help, but don’t know how to accept it. They are hurt, they are sorry, they love you, too.