I’m reading “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson. You need go pick up a copy and read it right now. (Well, after you read this entry because I’m selfish.) It is so funny that I texted my sister at midnight, even though I know she’s got five kids and my text would probably wake her up from much-needed sleep, and told her that even though I was only on page three she needed to find this book at the library or I will buy it for her because she needs it in her life. Then I texted her a line that made me laugh on page five. Then again on page seven. Then we texted back and forth far too late into the night.
I’m a bit more than halfway through and I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying it. It his hilarious and a surprisingly accurate look at anxiety disorders. She describes a panic attack in excruciating detail. “I felt the panic build up, like a lion caught in my chest, clawing its way out of my throat.” I desperately want to quote the whole chapter, but it’s better in context and I suspect there’s some sort of copyright violation in reproducing the whole book. She talks about how she feels so obvious, and how embarrassing it is. She describes wanting to crawl under a table and escape. “I vainly hope they’ll assume I’m just drunk, but I know that they know. Every wild-eyed glance of mine screams, ‘MENTAL ILLNESS.’”
My anxieties manifest themselves a bit different from hers. She describes hiding in the bathroom at parties so she doesn’t have to make conversation. I am too quick to jump into conversations. One would think I like hearing myself talk, but honestly talking is just what I do when I’m nervous. I tend to start every conversation with, “Oh! And . . .” as if we were in the middle of something and I just remembered an important detail. Even if I’ve never met the person I’m talking to before. Even worse, when I hear people having a conversation that I can legitimately contribute to, I yell, “I’ve got one!”
I love public speaking but I dread phone calls. I would rather be on stage in front of several thousand people asked to give a speech I haven’t prepared for than have to call my internet provider or set up a vet appointment. I am not kidding even a little bit. I’ve managed to convince myself it’s different at work, and it is, a bit. People tend to ask the same questions: where are you located, do you have a certain book, and how does the buying process work? I have prerecorded responses for all of these. I manage not to panic at those calls.
Not that I don’t panic at work.
Night before last I had to pick my friend up at the airport at 11:30 pm. This would’ve been fine had I not been asked to come into work early the following morning. So I was at the airport at 11:30, home by 12:15, in bed by 12:30, and awake at 4:45 to be at work by 6. I’ve been so stressed about my interview (at 2 today!) that I haven’t slept properly in a week. I overcompensated by drinking three cans of Mountain Dew and a cup of coffee and by noon the air was sparkling.
And then my former roommate stopped in. I haven’t seen him in about eight years. He looks really good. Rather than reacting the way the normal, responsible adult I pretend to be would, I yelled, actually yelled, “Wow, you’re hot!” I quickly tried to recover by yelling, “I mean you look amazing!” He smiled and laughed uncomfortably. I asked what he was doing with himself these days. He’s a cake decorator now. We lived together when he was in culinary school and I lived off of his leftover class projects. I said, “I remember your Harry Potter cakes fondly.” He told me that he had a Harry Potter tattoo, and pulled up his shorts to show me. I literally squealed, jumped up and down, and clapped my hands.
I was so nervous! I don’t deal well with people I’m attracted to, especially when I haven’t seen them in years and I wasn’t expecting to see them again. Since I saw him last, he’s lost a significant amount of weight, gotten many tattoos, and had gender reassignment surgery. He wasn’t a bad looking woman but he is a gorgeous man! Gorgeous enough that I became a 14-year-old girl. An over-caffinated 14-year-old girl.
Night before last I had a panic attack in my sleep. That’s never happened to me before. I knew I was having a panic attack, but I could wake myself up and I couldn’t calm down. In my sleep I thought I was having a heart attack. I thought I was dying and there was nothing I could do about it. It was awful. That’s how I felt when I talked to my former roommate. I knew I was saying stupid things but I couldn’t make my mouth stop.
I don’t know how to proceed from here. I am too broken to be loved. At least, I feel like I’m too broken to be loved, so it’s better not to try. It’s easier to be scared and stay in one place than to interview for a new job and risk everything changing.
I need to take a deep breath, put some make-up on my stress breakouts, find an outfit that makes me look professional but not overdressed, and drive out to my interview. Wish me luck.