It’s me again, your regular anxious Rosie. Here are the things that are making me anxious:
Do people even like me, or are they just pretending? My colleagues laugh, but is it with me, or at me? I sing aloud as I slice bread; do they think that it’s weird? Are they pretending to like me to get close to me, because they need my help with something, or to pass off the bad jobs to me, and once they’re done with me, they’ll toss me aside for another person to play with? Is my housemate pretending to like me, when she nods at my sarcasm with a smirk plastered on her lips mirroring mine? Is she pretending when I ask her what she’s been up to, and seems genuinely happy when she answers? I wonder, does she notice. Does she take note of the scars. The odd eating habits. The isolation in my room. The declining of invitations to go out, to eat together, to ‘bond’. I worry, yes she does.
I have exams starting next week. I have taken on too much tutoring, and there’s very little time for myself. On the other hand, it’s nice to finally have money. I can’t spend it though, because what if something bad happens? If it’s not a necessity I don’t need it. I don’t deserve it. I don’t want it anymore, even though the cute cable knit sweater caught my eye, or the boho backpack, or the fresh bundles of flowers with exotic scents calling my name, or the smell of incense drifting from fair trade hippy grocers, and bath salts from the candle stores. What if I spend my money on nice things, and then something bad happens? I don’t deserve nice things. I don’t deserve self care. And besides, shopping is just another thing to be anxious over. I worry about my finances, even when they’re fine. I worry about my grades, even when they are so beyond fine I don’t need to study at all.
My final grades for second year semester one will be good, but not good enough, because nothing is good enough for a perfectionist. A perfectionist with depression must force people to believe that the sadness is strong. An intelligent perfectionist with depression must force people to see past the grades that act as a mask and ask what the purpose of studying is. My grades are inversely proportional to my mental health, but why doesn’t anyone believe that? Why can’t I be smart, and suffering? Why can’t people see beyond the facade of non-failure and see the anxiety hidden beneath high distinctions? I worry nobody will care to ask until I crumble inward into another mental breakdown.
My nose won’t stop trickling. I want it to stop. People must hate the way I sniff. It’s so loud. I can’t touch the poles on the bus because then I might get sicker. I can’t touch the buttons on the pedestrian crossing because then I might die. I can’t touch the sponges on the kitchen sink unless the water is hot and they’re soaked in soap because that sponge could kill me too. I worry that I have OCD, because I think everything could contaminate me.
The smell of soup is comforting, but I want to have a bath as it boils, and what if it boils over and catches fire and I burn down our apartment building. I want to have a bath to take my mind off the study and the sadness brewing behind my eyes like a nasty headache, but seeing the fresh scars – even though I put them there, even though I needed them at the time – will be triggering. I’m not ready to explore anything. It will make me think of sinking beneath the hot water, the scalding water, because I need my skin to blister and crinkle and buckle, and letting go of my breath as I gulp in the scented water. If I light candles while I soak, what if something catches fire? I’ve always been a cutter, but maybe I should try burning. Just a little. Just a touch. Do I really need more scars? I worry about being judged.
Do I want my next tattoo on my left arm, as I had planned, or my right, where the skin is un-puckered? Am I ready to bare my scarred arm to a stranger, as they decorate my messy flesh with permanent art? Having art on my left arm might draw attention to my scars; having it on my right might detract from them – good. If I get it on my left, I can’t show my parents. Or anybody. I worry about the efficacy of a tattoo to keep me safe.
It’s going to rain. It’s trickling down the windows where the black, possibly poisonous dust collects. I like to dry my washing in the sunshine, but there is no sunshine today. I worry about doing my washing so frequently and other people in my building seeing me go up and down the stairs.
My body hurts. My meds are being increased. My moods aren’t stabilising. My eating disorder is taking control while I’m unwell. If I lose weight while unwell that might be the spark I need to ignite a relapse which is scary but not unprecedented – and maybe even welcomed. My brain hurts from studying and suppressing emotions. My heart hurts. I feel heavy. I worry about the adjective “atypical”.
I’m going to have a bath while I boil soup and light candles and continue to be an anxious human despite it all, and my brain will continue to hurt as the same thoughts circulate through my cerebral cortex, and my sympathetic system will respond to the absent stimulus and cause fear and the familiar sensations of panic will consume me. I worry that I make things up. That it’s all in my head – but where else would you expect to find it? It’s a mental illness.
But it’s all okay. Because I have anxiety. And I’m an anxious human. And everything will be okay in the end, because if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.
Everything will be okay in the end.
It’s not okay.
So it can’t be the end.
Anxious human is done now.