Today is the point in my anxiety cycle when I get to relax.
I’m a hyper sort of person. I’ve suffered from fairly intense anxiety and depression on and off for the last ten years. It tends to take its most severe form when I’m faced with any sort of public confrontation. My husband calls it “the rabbit hole” with worried precision. I tend to call it “going tharn.” However you put it, I seize on one particular small worry and magnify it into an insurmountable obstacle.
Case in point: last week, our neighbors’ trash bins disappeared. They piled up trash. A tiny pile, a pile that was Not My Problem, but our buildings abut each other and I had to see it. Yesterday (the day before trash day), some animal got into their trash pile and scattered it. I was horrified. Not just “ew gross” horrified, but sweaty palms, can’t-sleep, control-freak horrified. When I saw a man down there later cleaning stuff up, I ran down with a trashbag to offer to help, because neighborly! Well, really because control. But at the time I said, because neighborly!
The guy turned out to just be rifling through their trash for sellables, but he managed to convince me that one of my building-mates said we’d help with the neighbor’s stuff. Cue me actually making our usually locked-up cans accessible for a few minutes. He mostly filled them. My husband let me know via Skype that I was being scammed, and if I wanted to, I could call the cops. I went tharn, took our cans back, and went upstairs to stare fixedly at a point in the middle distance. Two other apartments in our building use those cans. By midnight, one of the three had a towering (my opinion) stack of stuff. …and I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t. I could barely say hi to Bryant when he came home. It was a neat day for us; he bought me a new computer, and it’s beautiful. But I could barely think about it because I was so paralyzed by Trashgate.
Today, it’s gone. I made sure the trash guy took it all away. I put the cans back in the garage. Two weeks ago, I was paralyzed thinking of juggling parking in our little driveway/garage setup. This week, trash. Next week: TBD. But holy cats, it’d be nice to just not give a damn about little things like that. Like normal people.
A friend and I were talking about how on reality TV, people flip tables and break up marriages and have public tantrums and act like absolute fools, and they’re paid for being entertaining. Me, I jostle someone’s table in a crowded restaurant with my hip, and my adrenal gland ramps up like a race car.
By the way, we live two blocks from the Pacific, our apartment is serene and light-filled, my husband’s job goes well, my family is healthy, and the first poem I ever sent to a professional market was just purchased. And I flip out over trashcans? I’m recording this for reference in a week, when my anxiety gloms onto the next insurmountable (ridiculous) obstacle. Read this in a week, Susan. It’s all going to be okay.