It’s never my intention to upset other people. I don’t wake up in the morning and think “Gee, who can I piss off today” or “who can I annoy?” However, there will always be a time when someone interprets my words or actions incorrectly, as generally people are incapable of reading each other’s minds. Life is just a series of events that are judged by someone else’s truth instead of your own. Sad, isn’t it?
Here’s my “cross my heart, hope to die” truth. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and sometimes it makes me look like a complete asshole. Guilty as charged. My anxiety exacerbates most of my worst qualities and makes them impossible to ignore, to my utter contempt. I loathe my anxiety. Sometimes I feel like it’s its own entity lurking beneath the surface of my skin.
In an attempt for my friends to really understand who I TRULY am, I am going to dissect some of the personality flaws that are magnified by my anxiety. Here goes nothin.’
Intolerant of Uncertainty I loathe the unknown. Not because I’m afraid of it, but because there are too many unanswered questions that my mind has to overthink about.
Worst Case Scenario Expert Too much idle time gives my brain too many opportunities to think about all of the worst possible things that could happen in every situation. It does help me prepare for anything, and improvise if needed, but it doesn’t really guide me toward a positive way of thinking.
Intense The portion of the brain that helps control our emotions is called the amygdala. It triggers our “fight or flight” response. When the brain is in a “fight or flight” pattern, it makes it impossible to think clearly about a situation. When a person has an anxiety disorder like GAD, the brain is in “fight or flight” nearly all of the time. I can’t totally relax even when I am desperate for it. I live my life at level 0 or a level 10. There’s nothing in between. I’m actively fighting my anxiety, or I’m actively avoiding it.
Passive Aggressive I’m not aggressive outwardly. I won’t pick a physical fight with you, and I certainly don’t enjoy verbal fights either. I want to AVOID fights, but sometimes my anxiety and my true self go to war. My anxiety worries about what you’ll think if I’m really honest about what I’m feeling, and my true self is sarcastic as hell. So my responses to things that upset me are often passive aggressive….although I have been accused of being passive aggressive while I was being honest. Who knows. The only option I have is to just be honest; I’ve been working on that so much lately.
Control Freak I HATE not having any control, but I don’t want to control YOU or what YOU do. I just want to have some say in those situations that have to do with ME. I can’t control your schedule, your emotions, your hair, your thoughts, or how you treat me…..but I can let you know whether or not I’m okay with it by setting boundaries for myself.
I’m not perfect. I realize that choosing to respond is better than choosing to react. That’s half of the battle. I will always deal with anxiety. Anxiety makes life different for me, but it doesn’t make me wrong when I tell you I’m not OK with something and it doesn’t make me crazy if I need to ask for help. In fact, there are some things that anxiety actually HELPS with: attention to detail, precision, multitasking, and most importantly EMPATHY.
And guess what?! I’m not your only friend with anxiety. I’m just being honest and open about it. Some people aren’t going to talk about it…..maybe they will when they’re ready. Be kind. You never know……