You wake up in the morning and you give yourself the 15th self exam of the 24 hours that have passed since you woke up yesterday. You roll out of bed (or maybe you don't) and you spend the next 12 hours checking for lumps, making your friends/family check you and themselves for lumps, wondering when you will be diagnosed with the one kind of cancer that has yet to be discovered (or maybe every single other kind of cancer that has already been discovered), reading WebMD articles to self diagnose your "symptoms," declining all offers to do anything after work because you want to spend however long you have left with your family, not believing your friends/family/DOCTORS when they say that these physical symptoms are all symptoms of your mental illness and not the cancer that you've convinced yourself that you have.
This is just one day. Maybe tomorrow your brain will convince you that every member of your family is dying. Or maybe you'll convince yourself that the small amount of pot that you do smoke has given you schizophrenia and it's now just a waiting game. Maybe you'll go to work and then cry three times for no logical reason? If you've done any or all of these things, I'd like to congratulate you because this means you're probably just as fucked up as I am!
Some days you wake up and you feel great! Your antidepressants, vitamins, or whatever have kicked into full speed and you're ready to take on the day. You throw yourself out of bed and brush your teeth (once), you shower and actually shave the hair that you've been growing out for the past three months (no judgement because I haven't shaved in about five). You eat a real breakfast for the first time in weeks, and I'm talking the full thing. Eggs, toast, avocado, all that good shit. You're dressed and have eaten and now it's time to start your day. This is where my day falls apart. You sit at the kitchen table and make a mental list of all of the things that you could do today. It usually looked like this:
- Hang out with a friend! (You have tops five friends that still live in this city and all of which are students, so no.)
- Go shopping (You own a car and make just above minimum wage, so this is also a no)
- Go on an adventure with your dog! (You don't have a dog)
- Well, clearly there is nothing productive that I can do with my day, so I'll just sit and watch a few episodes of Supernatural (again)!
The Netflix notification pops up for the fourth time asking you if you're still watching. You yell, "FUCK you, why would I stop?" and play the next episode. Next you realize that the sun has completely gone down and you're sitting in your dark living room watching the 17th episode of whatever show you're binging. You've starting feeling yourself up again to check and make sure nothing is wrong (because in your brain, the time between your last self examination yesterday and your current self examination gave cancer PLENTY of time to make you its bitch).
This is the most honest way that I can describe by anxiety disorder to you. Growing up and all through high school, I thought that I knew what it was to have anxiety. I got nervous before tests and I didn't speak in front of the class unless I had to, much like everyone else I knew who talked about having anxiety. What I know now is that much like many people, I knew very little about what it's like to struggle with an anxiety disorder until I had one.
If 2017 taught me anything, it's that it's okay not to be okay. Take advantage of those sweet days when you feel good. Not perfect, just good. Those are the days that I hold onto when I feel like I'm stuck with my anxieties. I know that it'll always be there lurking in the shadows of my life, but I also know that not everyday is the same. I think that's really important to hold on to.
Also, FUCK ANXIETY!