in recent years

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on anxiety and dining room tables

Lately I have been experiencing an increased amount of anxiety.

I’m not talking like, clinical, medical, diagnosed anxiety which is somehow at a level higher than normal. I am talking about the actual feeling of anxiety that all people experience at one point or another. Granted, I’ve had panic attacks for most of my life and I should probably be diagnosed and medicated, but since I have not and am not, I am more comfortable talking about it as an emotional reaction. Even if my emotions are reacting to nothing.

So, again, for the past week I’ve been experiencing some heightened anxiety levels. I haven’t had a panic attack thus far, but my sleep patterns are more screwed up than they normally are (I keep a weird schedule during the summer, usually staying up until 3-5am and then sleeping ’til noon-ish). I have been napping during the day or evening or sleeping for two or three hours at a reasonable time (10 0r 11pm) and then getting up and staying up for many hours, then sleeping in midday. I either sleep fitfully or like the dead, no in between, and I can’t figure out how to eat in a way that doesn’t make me miserable. I’ve been crying (at stupid things! LIKE SAD CATS) and having some problems regulating my breathing and just generally not feeling well at all.

Something is clearly up.

The other day, I was lying in bed watching some… Homes of the Rich and Tasteless style show and they were showing this HUGE house in Malibu overlooking PCH and it was enormous and so… empty. And I started legitimately panicking at the thought of trying to fill up that space with my life. And how I don’t have very many friends and how a house that big would be so wasteful. And while talking to my girlfriend about it, I realized that there’s an emotional connection between being unable to physically fill a home and emotionally fill a home and blah blah blah it all makes sense, but still. I had to fend off a panic attack over some house on TV that I have no desire nor ability to ever live in. That’s the epitome of crazy, right there.

Tonight I was working my way through my Google Reader load and I had about three dozen tabs open beside it (I read through the whole set of posts, then clear through the tabs one by one, usually compiling blog/tumblr posts and emails for my girlfriend/dad/sister.) and I just started panicking intensely about all of these THINGS in front of me and I started shaking and I had to go splash my face with water and sit on the toilet to calm down.

I’ve talked about it briefly before, but I have a truly awful, unstable memory. I cannot retain more than three ideas at a time (not joking. at all.) and I have to take lots and lots of notes just to be able to function through bullshit daily tasks like internetting and blogging, let alone primary needs and work (my novel) and school. My memory plays an enormous role in my issues with anxiety. I am constantly freaking out about forgetting even simple, unimportant things and being unable to remember what I wanted to do, sometimes from one moment to the next, is… It’s embarrassing. And miserable. And depressing. And frustrating and exhausting and STRESSFUL.

I forget whether I’ve accomplished tasks. I forget what tasks I am supposed to do. My mom or dad or sister or girlfriend can ask me to do something for them, something as simple as grabbing a glass of water or checking something on the internet, and I will, in just a matter of moments (usually the ones I am using to complete a task before I can turn to theirs) forget ENTIRELY that they asked me to do something for them.

I cannot remember shit.

Compounding my memory issues and exascerbating my anxiety is multi-tasking. I am CONSTANTLY multi-tasking. I cannot remember the last time I only had one tab open in Firefox and even when it’s down to two or three, I am rapidly moving from site to site, tab to tab, trying to stay up to the minute on all of the ~social media~ feeds I follow. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, GReader, Flickr, boards, blogs. My email is always set to pop immediately upon receipt of a message. Texts are frequent, instant, constant. Phone calls, follows, mentions.

I love the internet and I love the availability and speed at which it brings even the most inane information straight to my eyeballs, but it’s making me insane. It’s making me anxious.

Since I made this bed for myself, I am trying to find more survivable ways to lie in it.

STEPS FOR MY INTERNET SURVIVAL:

1. Chill out. The information isn’t going to go away.
2. You are not at a place in your internet presence where you have deadlines. Appreciate that.
3. TAKE NOTES. You keep papers and pens around you at all times, use them. TextEdit and Word are always open, USE THEM.
4. Stop forsaking your book (YOUR REAL JOB) for the internet.
5. It is always okay to step away for awhile.

My anxiety is manageable. I learned a trick from my dad when I was just a kid that still works: NINTENDO. NES used to do magical things for him when his anxiety was unchecked and Wii does the same unbelievably simple job. MarioKart requires zero brain cells. And if I just keep remembering to CALM THE FUCK DOWN, I’ll probably make it out of my twenties alive.

ANYWAY. Now that I talked all serious-like about my anxiety, I can talk about what I really want to and that is:

The idea of buying real furniture, like the kind that doesn’t require significant assembly, but does require delivery by people in large trucks, freaks me the FUCK OUT.

The idea that, at some point in the relatively near future, people are going to expect me to go into a store and pick out some SERIOUS FURNITURE that I am going to have to live with for… years that is going to cost me a whole bunch of money and require a place in which to put it? That’s fucked up! Dining rooms?! How is that a thing? How do adults do this shit? I am only TWENTY-FIVE. Ikea and milk crates and paying for concert tickets instead of putting money into a savings account. THOSE ARE THINGS I UNDERSTAND. Adulthood and mortgages and OH GOD I AM GOING TO HAVE TO FIND A JOB.

This is some serious bullshit.

Not ready, world. YOU HEAR THAT. I AM NOT READY.