Today I was confronted about my behavior by someone I thought I could trust to understand me. I have suffered from anxiety and depression for years and I’ve been hard pressed to find people willing to understand these are not conditions you can overcome just by willing them away. I am not functioning improperly because I don’t want to function properly.
There’s a dark place in my mind. It’s filled with a constant flow of anxiety, fed by fear that I know is entirely irrational. Somehow I’m unable to process this fact.
What do you do when your brain tells you two different things? Why am I unable to make a choice in what to believe, when I know what I’m believing is wrong?
So many don’t understand how much this can eat away at someone. To be fair, when you’ve never dealt with these feelings before, somebody who is dealing with them right now looks like a clingy crazy person who takes everything out of proportion. I think this is an accurate description. It is clingy. It is crazy. It is taken entirely out of proportion.
When he’s not online when I expect him to be, it’s not by choice that I lapse into a severe panic. It’s not by choice that my mind fills up with every possible reason why he’s not there.
He got hit by a car. He had an accident at work. Nobody knows how to get in touch with you so you’ll never know he’s dead. He’s dead right now. His heart stopped without any warning and nobody has found him yet.
There’s a rational side that tries to fight these thoughts all the time.
His phone’s battery died, he’ll call you when he’s home. His ride is delayed so he’ll be there in half an hour instead. He’s probably had to do some unexpected work that got drawn out. Didn’t he have PT today? He’s probably napping at lunch, nothing happened.
This is also where the problem lies. I’m painfully aware of how utterly ridiculous the first train of thought is. The second one makes so much sense and should put me at ease, right? It’s logical reasoning that’s extremely common and reassuring.
I suppose something in my head is broken, because it doesn’t matter how logical and reassuring those thoughts are. They’re wrong. When the panic sets in I’m not convinced that he’s okay until the very moment I hear that dumb notification whistle that is specifically set to his number. Up until that moment I’m stuck with the worry and grief.
This is what anxiety combined with a fear of abandonment looks like. It’s not pretty, nor nice, nor my choice. I wish I could reason with myself and not freak out every time he’s 30 minutes late. I wish he didn’t have to tell me where he is (going to be) every moment of the day. I wish I could deal better with unexpected changes in schedule.
Next time somebody calls me a clingy attention whore, I hope I can read back to this post and remember that this is real and that it hurts me in ways many can’t comprehend. I hope someone will come closer to understanding. I hope nobody else has to go through this themselves.