Still anxious after all these years
When it rains, it pours.
Some wise observant soul once said. Today has poured.
Because I’m not formally working doesn’t mean I’m not doing the hustle. I woke at 3:30 as if like clockwork, to see if my rent assistance went through. It did. Whew. So I go to my rent portal online to pay said rent. ..It’s almost 100 more than what I have just deposited. I break into an actual sweat- mind you-I’m still in bed. So at this point, I begin to do this sort of little circle dance in my head. It’s a bit like my own internalized panopticon, an octangular shape from which all others can be observed. Prisons are designed this way, funnily enough. I find myself in the midst of this, the more contained methodic, version of myself who knows things were and always are going to be fine. He stands guard over this wild being who is less like myself and more like a coked addled Tasmanian devil. Fight or flight. Panic mode.
Of course, I sorted this issue out but I won’t go into the vast nuances of how I made one end meet the other because it’s frankly not interesting enough. Consider this only to be my jumping-off point for the topic at hand- anxiety.
What am I afraid of exactly? The dissolution of my little world? One I have said at length I’m only passing through? Ruin? Of what exactly? Some un uttered confirmation of this singular lack of means that signifies- no- you’re not ready for life- you are a person of bad quality. You have poor character.
It’s awful what a little deviation from our ironclad expectations can do to us, and what tailspins it can plunge us into. I wipe my forehead- which is at this point dripping with perspiration- and realize sleep simply isn’t an option. My chain is broken and I’m properly rattled. So I walk about my complex in pitch blackness.
I admire the stars. For years at my old place, you would be lucky if you saw one. On an average night here, I selt whole belts and constellations.
I keep on the lookout for javelina or two. I think I hear an owl, though I could be wrong.
This is when the isolation hits. I could be in a city, where friends and neighbors are close by, but this kind of internal havoc is so personal, and not relevant to anyone else. The game of havoc, the chaos dance, the internal whirlwind- whatever you call it- its awful- it’s depleting and speaking for myself-it wrecks you. It thins your hair, blights your sleep and hampers your ability to think rationally. Like blood in the water to a great white, the smallest thing can call it on. A pending charge, a bounced check, a hateful glare, an unanswered message of precarious circumstances. Self-medication is an option but it seldom yields lasting results. After the buzz wears off, the hangover fades, the guilt subsides, and there it is, like a gunfighter in a spaghetti western, emerging from the haze-ready to emerge and take me on.
It knows what scares you. It knows when to strike. It knows how to tailor itself to your situation in life and strike in all colors and fashions. It knows how to break you down so that your day is one continuous overlap of panic, still, more panic, less stillness- but never totally without. I’ve had people tell me that to overcome this I simply have to relinquish my need for control. Flow like a river, float like a feather, pass through like a cloud over the Rockies. I’ve heard EVERY maddening esoteric, poetic collerary, metaphor and analogy. My counter to that- how does that fix anything?
I think I’ve established that panic is awful by this point.
I frankly don’t know what do. I’ve chanted and fasted. I’ve tee totaled and purified. I’ve meditated and stretched myself into back pain. I’ve honestly thought sometimes that I’m cursed. Even as a kid, I was always worrisome. My parents took me to Disneyland as a kid and I wanted to go home halfway because- i was worried about the dog. I was so neurotic that at Christmastime I would call stores that had an item I wanted, have them hold it, and then tell my mother where it was, what person I spoke to, and how much it was. Always here to help Santa!
Still, I was stressed. I dreaded PE as a kid because of the coach’s whistle and the antagonizing tribalistic cruelty of the other boys. Having to use a locker was a trigger. What if I forgot what my combination was? What if the bell rang? What if I wasn’t able to get my stuff? Or another class came in? Or I had to find my class in an empty hall, and then walk in late- all eyes on me. It was all too much.
I took Klonopin when I was learning phonics. I was on Prozac while watching PBS. My parents did what they could, and in all fairness, it was the early nineties- the halcyon era of doping your kids into a comatose version of normalcy.. Looking at it now, as a 38-year-old man, I can only imagine what a high-strung chemical cocktail I was to my peers and teachers. I don’t say these things to elicit any type of victim woe is me narrative. Nor do I say this to invoke some abstract line of questioning as to why we medicate. I have neither judgment nor condemnation here. Do what works for you. CBD has never been an option as I now stand. I get lightheaded, feel almost nauseous and my paranoia doesn’t need assistance. Perhaps I’m simply at the mercy of my own thoughts. I honestly hope not. My own thoughts can be terrifying.
So, what does one do?
No really, what do you do about it?
I’m treading ever closer to 40 every day and I’ve yet to figure it out. My objective in all this is not a pity party, or to feel like some sort of victim of circumstance. I can lambast my generation until I turn blue, but I will say one of the topics that I feel we have brought to light in recent years is mental health. Not feeling alienated or alone in a circumstances is a powerful prophylactic in the long run. Yet the first step is acknowledgment. I must admit, when I looked at some of my earlier writings from years back a few months ago, they are fraught with the most flowery purple prose you can fathom. I may as well be riding a white horse. Which is not a bad thing for a time, but if one is going to put themselves into the world, why hide behind a waterfall of verbal sugar water?
Well, so I write. I could journal til my thumb throbs. I could drink my wine or not. I can sit on my settee sofa and watch this small world go by and try to grasp some higher meaning, whatever it may be.
Or-none of these things.
Maybe this sounds more and more like bidding than anything, and I for one am okay with that. I don’t write these entries so I sound like some culturally perfected person on a chaise lounge reading Byron. I write them to offer myself to you- take it or leave it.
Perhaps in these writing,s you shall find some form of relatability, and maybe- if I may be so bold- absolution.
So here I am.
Dancing shoes intact.