Is there anything worse than when your anxiety decides to rear its ugly head when you’re in a place or situation you can’t escape? Like when you’re at work or when you’re out to dinner for a family member on a holiday. You do your best to stay cool calm and collected but on the inside you’re feeling like your insides are running a marathon. You’re sweating. Trembling. Nauseous. Dizzy. You’re brain is thinking of all the absolute worst scenarios (i.e. Death, throwing up, passing out, etc). You feel as though you have absolutely no control over your mind or body and all you want to do is run away from everything and everyone.
I feel like this every single day at one point (on a good day) or multiple times a day. It’s absolutely exhausting. Annoying. Depressing. Since I can’t sleep, I’ve been reflecting on what has become my normal. I’ve become accustomed to having these episodes at work and maintaining my happy face so no one knows what is going on. When all I want to do is run in my boss’s office and say “I’m having bad anxiety today I have to go” (and not have her look at me like a freak – in a perfect world) I put my head down and grin and bare it as is work through these attacks.
I get my hair done every 8 or so weeks. It takes about 2.5 hours and trust me when I say it is one of the slowest 2.5 hours in life. I have horrible anxiety there every single time. The only thing that keeps Me going back is the fact that a. I don’t want to look like a hot mess and b. I tell myself that I’ve survived before. Last week I almost didn’t survive. I ended up leaving the salon with wet hair because I thought I was going to pass out. My hair stylist looked at me like I had 6 heads when I said “it’s ok you don’t have to dry it” and slowly stood up from her chair. That told me a few things. Not only does she have no idea I have anxiety but in the 8 years she’s been doing my hair she has never once noticed the struggle I’ve had while sitting in her chair for 2.5 hours. I must be a great actress, because I’ve had some bad attacks. She was really worried about me because she has never seen me do that. I paid, got into my car and sobbed. Why am I so ashamed to have generalized anxiety disorder? Because of the stigma. Because for once I’d love to be able to genuinely enjoy myself somewhere. I just want to be “normal” and not tortured with this.
I ended up texting her later on that night to apologize for my sudden departure from her chair. I ended up telling her that it was a long day at work and I thought my blood sugar was getting a little low. I was hungry, but why didn’t I tell her the truth? I’m ashamed, that’s why. I don’t want her to be scared to do my hair in the future. If I can go back…I have PTSD from that debacle.
I’ve read a few articles this week from celebrities like Kristen Bell and Chris Evans speaking out about their struggles with anxiety and depression. Funny how common these mental illnesses are but no one talks about it and we’ve all become so good at hiding it. I don’t think a celebrity speaking out will end the stigma but it’s a step in the right direction.
This weekend is Mother’s Day, which means packed restaurants and public places. A dream for someone with GAD. Not. I have 3 Moms, my real Mom lives out of state, my step Mom and my Mother in law. Luckily that means I only have to make it through 2 family visits, which are bound to be painful for me. Not necessarily because of who they are but because my disorder has decided to perminantly take over my body and mind this week, leaving me with no energy, exhausted and with a short fuse.
Time to put on my happy face….😄