I have anxiety. To people who don’t know me well and haven’t seen me in panic state, it may not be obvious. I’ve learned how to pass well. I’ve learned how to hide it. Cope? That’s laughable. I still don’t know how to cope and as a result…
To the outside eye, I look lazy. I look like I just don’t do the thing. I look like I’m just putting off sending the email or making the phone call. I look like I just don’t care about my diet when I rely on easy-to-make stuff instead of making actual food. I look like, for all intents and purposes, I’m just someone who doesn’t give a crap about many things.
For the sending the email or making the call thing, I have to write a script. I have to come up with possible replies. Calls are worse because I have to try and think of what their possible response will be. I have to come up with a list of possible outcomes. Emails are nice because if my preferred time to send them is at one forty two AM and the rest of the world is asleep, there’s nothing stopping me with sending it when it’s best. But then I’m plagued with saying the wrong thing. Wondering if I made a grammar error that made me sound foolish. There are so many outcomes. And what if I typed their email wrong and instead of emailing my case worker, I email a random dude with the same name in Ecuador!?
So instead, I just don’t do it. I pretend it doesn’t exist. I act like it’s no big deal and just brush it off. To the outside eye? To the random person who just seems me in a Nora-puddle on my bed with two fuzzy cats, a large mug of tea, munching potato chips, while browsing Tumblr on my phone? I look like someone who is merely unmotivated or lazy but in reality it’s so much more than that. I have so much motivation locked up inside me. I just don’t know how to pull it out.
Likewise, I make easy foods. I have sensory issues and allergies. I make foods I like. I find comfort in my routine and what I know. I don’t tend to branch out often. This means that current, I exist on pasta, chicken nuggets, potato chips, and cheese. There’s a few other things mixed in but for the most part it’s pretty simple and I don’t want to have to make decisions when I already know what I like.
The biggest thing, however, I wish people understood about anxiety!brain Nora is that I don’t cope well with change and pressure. I like things to stay the way I know them. I like things to be the way they’ve always been. I’ve had the same Tumblr layout for basically the entire time I’ve had a Tumblr. I play the same video games over and over despite having a huge back log. I have a huge pile of books to read, but I go back to my old favorites. I have thousands upon thousands of songs but I listen to the same few dozen over and over. I like my life to be the way it’s always been.
I recently moved. It wasn’t just a move from point a to point b, but it was a move to a new state. Even though I’m literally just a few minutes away from my old state, I had to change everything. I moved away from my friends (though toward other friends – both new and old! YAY!). I started over. And it was very much needed – my physical and mental health is the best it’s been in years. But changes happen. And I struggle to keep coasting and not to just shut down.
When I’m pressured, when things have been set and I’m asked to change what I thought I had stabilized, I panic. My brain goes into overdrive. It feels like I spiral out of control. I like things to be the way I know them. I don’t like things just popped on me at random. Even surprises, the good kind, can be stressful. Which is why change is bad. Which is why I don’t like things not being what I expect. Which is why I cling to my routine. Because otherwise, I don’t know how to cope.