She makes mental illness really funny! That came out wrong but my instructions for this post were to “keep writing no matter what.” I already want to put this draft in the trash, which technically would be cheating but no one could prove it. Anyway, I’m anxious as fuck. Not about this post, well sort of but also just in general. You may not know that about me because I traditionally don’t discuss my anxiety with anyone unless I’m paying them or need to explain some bizarre behavior. Not that anxiety is anything to be ashamed of, but I’m southern and we prefer to talk about cheerful things and serve lemonade when we’re on the cusp of a nervous breakdown. Which is why Jenny Lawson’s book is fantastic. She’s anxious as fuck too, but she talks about it openly!
Maybe you caught on to this fact already but guess what. My brain chemistry ain’t right. I take medication every day to help it be almost right. Some in the morning, some at night, and some when I want to peel off my own skin and feed it to a cat. Not my own cats because that would be gross, but just some random stray cat that looks as twisted as I feel on the inside at that moment – like a creepy cat that’s limping and drooling and will probably die within the hour.
Anxiety during the day is manageable for me – I know when I need to hide and I have medication if hiding isn’t an option. Nighttime anxiety is a totally different bag of suck. I’m supposed to be still, which I hate, and thoughts are louder in the dark. The anxiety is usually brought on by absolutely NOTHING – a phenomenon I find intellectually intolerable, which makes it even worse. It’s like a snake eating its own tail, but that snake is inside a giant ass crack that you can see out of but can’t climb out of. That was potentially too much but it’s fucked up and claustrophobic and dark and that was my point.
My heart races, it’s hard for me to catch my breath, my stomach feels like it’s vibrating, and sometimes even the don’t-feed-your-face-to-a-cat medicine doesn’t help. That’s when I do what smart people do to reduce anxiety: I watch Forensic Files or Snapped marathons with the covers pulled up to my chin. I also wear cotton gloves so I don’t rip the skin off my fingers and bleed to death in my own bed while witnessing the horrifying TRUE stories of people brutally murdering each other when no one is looking. This insures that I won’t sleep at all, which clearly is the goal. NOT AT ALL. So it’s a great time to initiate sex because most people are turned on by cotton gloves and murder when they’re completely exhausted and wish you’d turn off the TV and go to sleep for the love of God and all that’s holy. Sometimes when I’m inclined to take better care of myself, I read instead. Either way there’s an 80% chance I’ll still be fighting for air and watching the clock at 4am or cleaning out a closet, and a 10% chance I’ll see the sun come up without having slept at all.
It’s a total party. Someone order a pinata – we’ll fill it with tequila and tranquilizers.
Here’s why I’m telling you all this mortifyingly honest shit. Because if any of you or someone you know have even a tiny touch of something similar and you think you’re a freak or they’re a freak or you’re both freaks, you’re not. Well you might be, but not because of the stuff I’m talking about here.
On the outside my world looks pretty great, and it IS great by most people’s standards, even my own. I live in America, have a great career, a healthy child, a wonderful fiancee who politely accepts that I’m crazy, we’re buying a new house, amazing friends, I’m on speaking terms with every member of my family, I even drive a fucking silver Volvo convertible for fuckssake. Thusly, when I’m tripping balls for no identifiable reason, or can’t get out of bed because insomnia is trying to kill me, or I’m feeling like I want to run away and never look back, I feel like a fantastic dumbass for not shitting rainbow glitter out of my ass all day. But seriously that’s what makes anxiety so frustrating. I KNOW I have every reason to feel at ease in the world but a lot of times I don’t. That’s when my imaginary ridiculous cheerleader in a stupid skirt that’s way too short shows up and tries to will me into being bright and excited about EVERYthing.
“Let’s count all our blessings and get on the happy train OKAY?!?! G! R! A! T! E! F! U! L! What’s that spell?!!”
It spells fuck you…Oh did I get that wrong? I’m sorry.
Let’s try again.
Then the tiny cheerleader looks sad, and the shitty P.E. coach comes out. That’s when things get ugly.
“What in the green donkey dick fuck is wrong with you, MORON? You have nothing to feel down about. NUH-THING. Let me just recap the stupid. So, your grand plan is to run away and abandon your family so you can live alone in some shitty apartment that you’ll be evicted from because you have no money, and a common cold will kill you because you have no insurance and no one will even know because you disappeared and you’ll decay in a ditch and end up on an episode of Forensic Files that will be the most pathetic episode in the history of ever because there’s NO MURDER, so you’ll be ashamed AND dead? Brilliant. I have a better idea. How about you knock this shit off immediately and sort yourself out because we have shit to do today, mkay? For real. Get up. Pronto.”
And I do get up, but it sure would be less shitty if I were a little nicer to myself about it, you know?
That’s part of what Furiously Happy is all about: learning to be kind to yourself when your brain is kind of being a dickhole.
There is a ton of other useful information in there, too, like how many vaginas kangaroos have, turds you can see from an airplane, and how to host more cat raccoon rodeos. Totally helpful ice-breakers at the next corporate happy hour.
I’m suddenly feeling weird and uncomfortable like I’m standing here naked, but not in a sexy way. More like I just wandered up to your house with no clothes on and rang the doorbell and then didn’t have a good reason so the police are on their way.
I’m gonna go now before it gets so awkward we can’t be friends anymore.
Takeaway: buy the book. If it doesn’t apply to you, congratufuckinglations – you won this round of life. If it does apply to you you’ll feel right at home. Either way you’ll laugh your ass off because Jenny Lawson might be crazy (her word, not mine) but she’s one of the funniest and bravest people on the planet.