The Epitome of Anxiety

You won’t like this post, so go ahead and stop reading here. It’s not for you; it’s for myself. You is the collective you, as in everyone.

 

My stomach hurts and turns and you can’t even tell that I’m constantly on the verge of puking. I can barely even choke down water. Food disgusts me and it’s unappetizing and you couldn’t convince me to want my favorites, but I force myself to eat something, so that I can pretend to function.

On the palms of my hands are scratches and little half moons from my nails. Up my wrists are more scratches. The hairband on my wrist isn’t for my hair. It’s to snap myself back to reality discreetly, when I’m losing touch again. I used to draw on my hands but I can’t do that now. It’s easy to say the table scratched me. It’s not easy to explain a mess of scribbled ink on my hand. There’s more scratches on my legs. I like to hold sharp objects.

My eyes are greener today. It’s not for any other reason than that I was crying recently. I hate crying. My medicine stops me most of the time, except when it’s all too much. When it’s a little bit of everything.

My words start to change. I become more sophisticated in speaking when I am like this. Contractions start to leave my language. I am unable to control it. My tongue becomes raw from the way I slide it across my teeth. I speak slower, more carefully but again, this is not in my control. My jaw is tight and despite the constant pain, I will disregard this and clench and grind my teeth harder and harder, just to feel something. My laugh isn’t real; even if it came naturally, I will convince myself that it didn’t.

My head feels heavy, with the achy feeling that comes from taking a drowsy medication or crying too much. It’s like this for days. There are dizzy spells where I’m not really dizzy, but almost rather out of control of my body. I can see my hands do what they are told, and my mouth say what I need to say, but I’m not making any of that happen. Thoughts come and go. They are thoughts no one should have but still they come, and sometimes I welcome some of them. Not existing would be easier than this.

My feet still know what to do. They are heavier than normal and it takes more effort, but the muscle memory of dance forces them to be where they need to be. But when I sit, my legs bounce. It’s uncontrollable and when I notice it, I always try to stop them. It’s a different kind of pain.

Sounds and sights are everywhere. They are loud in my ears and bright in my eyes. I can hear you chewing from across the room. The tap tap tap of your pencil hurts not only my ears, but my eyes too from the repetitive movement. I can’t go outside, because it’s too bright. But the artificial light is almost worse. The glow of other screens—movies and computer—invades my vision. I can hear the cars, the heater, the water dripping, the clock, the shuffling of blankets, the creak of the wood, and every other little sound. Fast movements make my eyes feel like they are being stabbed. But slow movements make a dreadful ache. The only fix is when all sounds are of my choice, my creation. The clicking of keyboard keys, gentle songs that I choose. The light of my phone is welcoming even with the pain it causes, because it means that I’m escaping. The ringing in my ears drives me crazy and the thoughts in my head are shouts. Every little thing is bothering me. It all is causing me physical and mental pain.

When my skin is touched by anyone else, it leaves an invisible rash. It physically hurts and almost burns. It leaves my skin crawling and makes me flinch sometimes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an okay touch or an undesired one; it still echoes for hours to come and if this becomes a memory, I’ll remember how uncomfortable I was. Even my clothes and blankets hurt my skin sometimes. But water does too. And lotion.

I tell you I don’t like country music. I tell you that I don’t like this person or that. I don’t like going to this place or eating that. I don’t like these animals or like to go to that person’s house. I don’t watch that movie anymore or I don’t walk down that street. Some of these truly are dislikes. The rest are triggers. They cause me many of these symptoms. They aren’t the only cause, but they certainly affect how bad they are.

It’s called sensory overload. It comes with my anxiety. Sometimes, I am having a panic attack right in front of you, and you don’t even know it. Other times, I will disappear for the same reason. Those times, I usually need some help to recover from it. But lately, no one is there. No one notices and no one asks.

People say they are looking for attention. It’s not that kind of attention. The only kind of attention I want is comfort. I want someone to tell me they are there and to help me through it. I’m not looking to be popular. I just want someone to care enough to give me a reason not to hurt.

Sometimes my thoughts are a constant loop of how I am the definition of anxiety. It’s not just that though; sometimes I am the epitome of anxiety.

Take the time, baby mine.

❤ Annee

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The Stigmatization of Failure

Life is really scary sometimes. And our society and education system are set up in a way that your only goal is not to learn, to gain an education or even to have something to do. No, the goal is to succeed. To do well. To avoid failure. The grading system of schools is a measure of worth in a way, telling you how well you do at something, supposing you try. It does take effort to do well, but you don’t have to learn to do well. You simply have to memorize things and give the teacher what they want. Students are so plagued by this sense of having to get things “right” that they don’t care if they are learning something.

I’ve heard in a few of my different Sociology classes about this Stigma of Failing. We are afraid to fail and so we sacrifice our learning for an “A” in a class in which we had the potential to learn things about life and about ourselves and more. We’re afraid to raise our hand in class unless we are certain that the answer we are giving is right. If it’s not, we feel embarrassed. Due to this stigma, many of my Sociology teachers and others have challenged me to raise my hand anyways. The worst thing that’s going to happen is you learn something new from your failure. This happens in dance classes too. My beginning social dance teacher always has encouraged me to try hard things. He says, “The worst thing that will happen is you’ll laugh.” Eternal Salvation does not depend on a 4.0 GPA.

This semester, all of my Sociology teachers have really implemented this idea. They want us to learn to fail, so that we can succeed and actually learn something. So to do this, many of my assignments that I do won’t count. That way there’s room for me to mess one up or forget to do one. There’s extra credit in my dance classes to make up for missed things and even some of the assignments in those classes will be dropped.

I ran across something a few months ago (I can’t recall where) that really struck me as interesting. It’s a challenge of sorts that I wanted to take on. So why didn’t I? I’ve been too afraid to do it as ironic as that is. It sounds really hard and very much out of my comfort zone. The thing is, that’s the point of it. What is it? It’s called Rejection Therapy. The idea is that you learn to embrace failure and learn from it. Once a day for a set number of days (30-100) you do something that will result in rejection. It might be asking for a raise with your job or a discount at the store. It might be asking someone to do something with you or asking someone to do something out of their comfort zone for you. The rules are this:

1. A rejection counts if you are out of your comfort zone
2. A rejection counts if your request is denied
3. At the time of rejection, the player, not the respondent, should be in a position of vulnerability. The player should be sensitive to the feelings of the person being asked.

Terrifying, right? To play this game, you actually have to let yourself fail. Every day. I think it’s something my teachers would definitely approve of just because I would be learning something valuable. I’m still too afraid to do it. But I guess it can’t hurt too badly to try. Maybe I’ll start at once every few days and just update this post as I am rejected and try to be rejected. I think that because I’m in the Mormon bubble it’s likely that I will fail to be rejected at least a few times because people are so nice and willing to serve. Even last night at dance I asked huge favors of people and they were all willing to help me. (Next time I’m taking them cookies). Anyways, will you help me with this challenge? Join me and help change the stigmatization of failure?