Tag: clinical anxiety

The Devil’s Circus

hills from bus

I want to smash things.  I want to smash everything.  I want to destroy all the delicate beautiful things and all the arrogantly strong things.  I want to rip down the shades and tear the curtains and I want to stab pillows and throw drinks in all the faces.

Except that I don’t ever want to see another face as long as I live.  And please god, erase mine first.

I want to claw into my skin to drag out the toxic disease that makes me constantly self destruct.  I can feel it in my body like it’s got its own corrupt soul, moving around in my bones treating me like a goddamn marionette.  I want to rip it out of my body and smash it against the walls.  But I know, I still know that it’s really just me I want to smash against the wall.  I know I’m the only one in this suit of flesh and I just need to find something specific to burn.  I keep lighting my own skin on fire.

I see it all coming down before it starts.  I try to stop it and everything I do to stop it makes it worse and it happens slowly – this B movie scene I can’t rewrite – so I have to live each frame without mercy.  I give it different words and I make it wear a denim tracksuit but it’s still naked and now I am too.

The words coming out of my mouth are always the ones I definitely wasn’t going to say.

I can’t be around people.  I can’t be around myself.

So many people think all I have to do is meditate or change my habits or remind myself it doesn’t have to be this way.  That if life made me this way I can unmake myself.  Bullshit.

Go fucking unmake yourself bitches!  Tell me how that’s working out for you.

If it’s working for you then go fuck your smug self.

I was supposed to go to the city today but I infected my people with my stress, it seems, and then fucking pounded it into their skulls for good measure.  Because people like me do shit like that.  Then I felt so fucking bad I wanted to knife myself.  No matter what I do, no matter what therapy I get, no matter what meds I take, it always comes back to that inward thrust.  The desire to destroy what wants to destroy me first.  To punish myself for fucking everything up AGAIN.

I haven’t cut myself or intentionally harmed myself for 28 years but it’s always there.  Saying it out loud makes me seem more diseased than I want anyone to know.  I want people to think you can just will that shit away and OVERCOME.  Maybe some can.  I can only speak for myself.  That desire to garrote myself is my second shadow.

I don’t want you to know about it because it will make you see me differently.   It shows my illness more than any other behavior or obsessive thought I can share.  The only human deviance worse than one who wants to hurt itself is one who wants to hurt others.

But I do that too.

The spirals are fast and brutal most of the time.  I don’t have time for last rights or explanations until it’s all over and then I feel like such a loser I let myself slip down the sink drain with the black mold and the tangled hair.

I am not fit to be around people.  Or in the world.  Or in a body.

I get whiplash sometimes between the good days and the bad.  The good minutes and the stopped time.

Animals know when they’re sick.  I know I’m sick in the mind.  It angers me when people try to make excuses for my irregularity.  It’s insulting to be lied to for someone else’s sense of comfort.  So they can feel better about themselves.  If I’m sick it means there are others who are like me who are also sick.  If I admit to being sick they question whether they are obligated to admit they are too.  They fight so hard against it.  Because having my sickness is ignoble.  It’s not nice.  It’s pretty fucking ugly in the corners no outsiders can see.  It’s the devil’s circus in here.

I made my child cry.  My wonderful child who suffers from some of the same things I do.  I made him cry because I was hanging on by a thread to my plans and he had the audacity to be barely hanging onto his.  I lashed out at him for deciding, right as we set out for the city, that he was going to have a bad time.  I tried to help and inadvertently made things worse, as I do.  So I got angry.  He cried.  He was so stressed out and he’s new at this stress of the unknown.  Poor kid inherited my awful awful anxiety and I fucking lashed out at him for it.

I am having a hard time forgiving myself for that right now.  That kid of mine is pretty fucking amazing.  I have the opportunity to give him support and empathy and teach him to live in a world that doesn’t understand people like us, and what I did was make him feel like shit for being sensitive to stress and outings he’s no properly prepared for.

I already apologized to him when he came into my office where I was busy not breaking everything and said he was sorry for ruining my day.  I apologized to him for making him think my ruined day was his fault when it was really mine.

My guys have gone to a movie and are, I think, recovering from that madly awful hour.

I am not.  Not yet.  I lie in bed for a couple of hours forcing self harming thoughts from my head, listening to my cat purring on my shoulder.

I want to break things.  I want to break everything.

I think I’m going to go get more beer and some Chinese food.  How’s that for a strong shot of bathos?

127 Things That Freak Me Out

teeth 4

Things That Freak Me Out

A List

For Sharon Who Wants Me to Make This Into a Book

For the purposes of this list it is important to understand that what I mean when I say something “freaks me out” is that it causes an irrational panic, involuntary physical shudder or turn of the stomach, general distress, or in some selected cases an alarming bridge-jumping anxiety.  Most of the time you will never know I’m freaking out or diverting a panic attack.  In some cases it’s obvious why I might be anxious about something – like when people wear white saggy tube socks – and in other cases – such as standing on cliff edges – your guess is as good as mine. 

I have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, as well as misophonia.  So if you don’t have any of these things and you wonder what it’s like – this will give you a little taste of how uncomfortable a lot of ordinary things are to people like me.  On the other hand, sometimes I have a lot more fun than other people because everything is SO FUCKING WEIRD.

  1. Muscular spiders
  1. People drinking water or other cold beverages out of mugs instead of glasses
  1. Cheap poorly designed metal forks – I will admit that they offend me as much as they bother me to touch and eat with.  What excuse is there for poorly designed silverware?
  1. Returning merchandise – even if it’s faulty and clear that it should be returned and obvious that no clerk will fistfight me for trying to get my money back
  1. The sounds of people eating
  1. The sound of cotton balls being squished
  1. Vibrato singing
  1. Grown women who sound like little girls
  1. Putting clothes on in the wrong order
  1. Dull pencils
  1. People in socks without pants on
  1. Tube socks
  1. Saggy socks
  1. Baseball caps worn very high on the crown – very hard to resist the urge to blow on them to see  if they fly away
  1. Getting food from buffet situations – it’s not the germ factor, it’s something I can’t even explain to myself
  1. Group activities of almost any kind where someone calls them “group activities” – I can become ornery and dangerous when pushed to participate
  1. Spittle collecting in the corners of people’s mouths when they talk
  1. People wearing shirts but nothing else
  1. Turtlenecks – I’m convinced they will choke me to death the second I let my guard down
  1. Putting my hands in gloves
  1. When my skin gets really dry – makes me want to crawl out of it, as do many things on this list
  1. Feeling breath on my skin – so blow on it at your own risk and remember that I’m good with my fists
  1. The sound of people breathing – loud breathing in particular but sometimes it’s any sound of breathing, a very hard anxiety to live with
  1. Grown ups drinking milk – this is a sick and wrong thing.  It makes me shudder.  It brings to mind phlegmy mouths which ALL people get when drinking milk.  If you drink milk in front of my and then try to carry on a conversation I will either leave immediately or plot my revenge on you
  1. Pranks of any kind – you’ll be sorry if you play a prank on me and I die of a heart attack, though probably not as sorry as I’ll be
  1. Cutting off pieces of carcasses – in cooking applications.  I have never tried cutting pieces off of human carcasses or wild animal carcasses but I almost passed out cutting the tip of a chicken wing off
  1. The thought of people eating meat – philosophically I’m okay with it but secretly I find it really distressing
  1. Meat breath – it’s a thing people who eat meat get that I imagine only a lifelong vegetarian could smell but it causes me to back away
  1. The smell of fish – yes, even fresh fish smells like fish if you hate the smell of fish
  1. Finding half a worm on my dinner plate
  1. Using a cutting board that meat has been on
  1. Floss breaking in my teeth
  1. Visible tooth rot
  1. fuzzy teeth
  1. loose teeth – mine, yours, everyone’s – if you show me or you talk about it I will claw the walls to get away
  1. dentures
  1. getting dental x-rays
  1. cotton tubes the dentist stuffs in your mouth during root canals
  1. Squeaky noises
  1. people mindlessly humming
  1. people mindlessly whistling
  1. Repetative noises
  1. Competing noises
  1. long nails on men – especially when just a couple are long
  1. really long nails on women – it’s hard for me to stop fantasizing about what it would feel like to rip them off which makes me uncomfortable because things like that are called “assault” according to the law
  1. plastic surgery
  1. being pregnant – I still have nightmares about it
  1. other people being pregnant – for god’s sake don’t be offended, I have a very visceral panic about people being pregnant
  1. women having babies – the whole topic distresses me for a number of reasons both rational and unhinged
  1. overpopulation
  1. people who love having babies – I can’t even talk about this it weirds me out so much and presents the big unsolvable mystery of how I came to have one on purpose
  1. people who love spending all their time with kids – WHY? I can’t even talk about this
  1. People chewing with their mouths open
  1. crunching noises
  1. slurping noises
  1. squelching noises
  1. the feel of the shower water on my boobs – fuck you for being normal!  It hurts but it also gives me the same sensation that a snagged nail does
  1. dishes washed with dishcloths
  1. using someone else’s towel
  1. Taking off a pair of socks and then putting them back on – I have a lot of socks so I never have to do this even if I fail to get my laundry done at the appropriate time.  I don’t like to give you too much power over me or anything, but let’s just say that if you ever need to torture me for information, this is the thing to start with for guaranteed results
  1. Using pillows others have slept on
  1. snagged nail
  1. people I don’t know standing too close
  1. mullets – I have used exposure therapy to work on this and have used CBT to learn to “appreciate” them in the wild
  1. pants that are too tight – and no this isn’t because I’m a prude or an old lady
  1. Crossing bridges
  1. standing on bridges – because some day I’m just going to jump off of one the compulsion is so strong and creepy
  1. cliff edges in any situation – (see #67)
  1. taking plane rides
  1. being underground in close spaces
  1. windows that can’t be opened
  1. disco pants
  1. competition of any kind – I can’t handle competitive behaviors or games or sports or – you know – LIFE – anxiety is a real sonofabitch
  1. the sound of football games
  1. wind chimes – makes a black hole of nothing open up inside me when I hear them
  1. being aware of the moment you slip from consciousness to unconsciousness
  1. vomiting
  1. all things relating to vomit including the thought of vomit – emetaphobia is what it’s called
  1. Escalators – convinced I will be caught and killed by one some day and have never told anyone that before
  1. any unidentifiable rash, ache, pain, or medical mystery
  1. people who are super gentle and calm and quiet and never ever swear – I get the irrepressible urge to BREAK THEM which is a terribly stressful compulsion
  1. religion
  1. people yelling – PTSD
  1. hospitals
  1. being touched unexpectedly – come up behind me and surprise me with a hug at your own risk
  1. doctor exams
  1. any carpet that is tacked down to the floor
  1. wearing slippers
  1. the smell, taste, and texture of cold butter
  1. watching people put cold butter on bread and eat it
  1. wearing socks to bed – other people wearing them to bed also freaks me out
  1. wearing anything to bed that you’ve been wearing all day – particularly if such garments were worn outside
  1. dizziness
  1. nausea
  1. mayonnaise
  1. pulling – (oil as toothpaste and please let’s never talk about this again)
  1. the word giggle – makes me feel violent
  1. the word chuckle – see above note
  1. clowns of ANY kind – are there truly people out there who love clowns besides people who ARE clowns?
  1. balloons
  1. games of ANY kind
  1. magic tricks/shows
  1. Las Vegas
  1. potato bugs
  1. ticks
  1. anything that burrows under your skin
  1. stickiness on hands
  1. [redacted] – you can’t handle knowing about this one
  1. super saggy pants
  1. grown men wearing baseball caps backwards
  1. camel toes
  1. moose nuts
  1. kids with colds
  1. people spitting phlegm on the ground
  1. old sponges (more than one week old is pretty old)
  1. collections of teeth lying around – my child saves all the teeth he loses (see image at top of page) and I will suddenly see them and I can’t describe how it makes me feel which is why I can’t account for why it gave me so much pleasure to photograph them even though the whole time I was having the FEELINGS
  1. tongues –  all of them.  Let’s not talk about them ever again.
  1. gristle  – biting down on it, which I had the misfortune of doing when a relative who shall remain nameless forced me to try a hamburger (knowing I was a vegetarian kid) over 30 years ago and I’m still haunted by that experience
  1. Styrofoam squeaking – makes me want to kill people
  1. threads or fibers you can’t shake or get off of you no matter what you do – panic inducing
  1. flannel sheets
  1. sitting with my back to the door of a public place
  1. parties
  1. tasting condiments by themselves – don’t ever ask me to taste a spoonful dressing or dip please
  1. washing stemware and glasses in general
  1. sinks full of dirty water
  1. carolers – one of my most well-known anxieties

*Milk as an ingredient in baking or in black tea is fine.  Milk for babies is pretty much the thing mammals DO.  So those milk applications don’t bother me.