Dear bane of my existence, dear omnipresent excuse, dear crippling frenemy …
How do you manage to keep showing up at the worst times? No offense or anything, but that whole gig in the middle of that crowded Wal-Mart? News flash, but the frozen food aisle isn’t a cool place to freak out (no pun intended). And, just as I’m about to convince myself I have a hold on things, you remind me of how many different grocery cart paths I’m obstructing by just existing.
Oh, and how could I forget your tendency to butt into all of my conversations? When you jump in like you do, I overanalyze every movement, every facial expression, of the person I am speaking to. Friend, acquaintance, cashier at a drive-thru—every single one. You present me with all of the most intricate worst-case scenarios. What if they hate me? What if I just said something really stupid?
Don’t even get me started on text messages. With you around, a message saying “Hey” with a period at the end gets me panicking that there is a bitter undertone I’m meant to decode. With you, one simple “Hey” isn’t a greeting; it’s a matter of life and death.
Perhaps it would be easier if you were a person, to have conversations with you and hear your side of the story. But of course, you are no person; you are nothing that I can ever see. First, you came to me with the name of Social Anxiety Disorder, a companion to my attention deficit. But as time passed by, you earned another name: Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
It’s safe to say, although you still run rampant while I dream—God forbid I get an ounce of restful sleep for once—you don’t hold nearly as much influence over me as you once did. Thanks to counseling and medication, I can now self-talk my way into managing my time spent with you.
They used to speak as if, one day, we would part ways. After all of these years, I know you are a permanent part of my life, but that doesn’t mean you have to rule my life.
You’re the reason I have to remind myself to breathe, the reason why tiny tasks can send me into a non-stop frenzy until they are completed. You’re the reason I have to take pills every day, and why I can’t handle the days when I don’t. You’re the reason I have emergency Xanax when the normal dose doesn’t work.
For all these things, I used to blame myself instead of you. Doing so only encouraged you—it only made you stronger. But now I can claim the title of the stronger one. Despite the pain you’ve caused, I have accepted you as a part of me, just not all of me.
You are not me.
All in all, you have caused me a lifetime of pain and frustration. I wish I could say goodbye; we both know that’s never going to happen.
But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying.