Tag Archives: anxiety

I’m Back and I Have Something to Share

new years 1“You guys, I’m gonna be so much better this year!” Is what I said on January 1st about writing a post every night after work instead of, for example, watching the entire season of House of Cards in one sitting while shoveling vegan, gluten-free chocolate macaroons into my abnormally small pie hole. I’m sure you’ve noticed how it’s now February. And cue what I am now trying out as the theme of my new year — the year of giving up before I even sta-, er… the year of coming back from behind!  Because what’s even better than starting off strong? Starting off horribly and still winning! That way, you already know what failure tastes like having been so close to it  — it’s sour and the texture is a lot like uncooked tofu sitting in its’ own white frothy liquid.

The underdog spirit gives you resiliency! That go-getter from college that just wrote a Facebook status about her seventh promotion doing a job she actually got a degree in can’t get you down. Never mind that  you just posted a picture of your dog curled into the “tiniest, tightest ball you’ve ever seen!” for the hundredth time. You have the determination of a chronic late bloomer and it’s going to get you places! And after you make it big (well past your physical prime, obviously), when those severely creative people come up to you with their pixie hair cuts, ironically puffing a cigarette and say, “I knew you could like, put it out there if you tried,”  you’ll curse them inaudibly under your breath for not inviting you to their writing circle and say, “cool cigarette.” like Ray said to Shoshanna in that episode of GirlsI can almost taste the delayed success now and it’s a lot like cake batter without the raw eggs.

worryIn all seriousness, I blame my struggles with moving successfully into the future on my tendency to dwell (others refer to this as “anxiety). That coupled with a crippling necessity to romanticize nostalgia relegates me to a consistent state of dwelling on why I can’t and don’t want to grow up. Then I get stuck on the what-if past, like what if my mom breast-fed me? Would I be better at math? Or what if my parents embraced my love for dramatic monologue instead of my ferociously competitive appetite for winning at organized sports? Would I feel more comfortable with imperfection?

So, basically, I’ve always got a foot in the door, just, you know, in the doorway behind me. For me, this is why I need to embrace the existence of the underdog. Because at some point my brain always stops me from playing the fun game of  “Who would I be if my parents enjoyed Scrabble as much as the Patriots?” and makes me realize “Oh yeah! Making life decisions outside of coordinating Miralax doses with my intake of cheese is actually a positive and rewarding experience!” I’m just hoping the feeling is gonna stick. And sure, hoping has turned into some actual trying. Like the other day at work, I let it be known that I have larger career aspirations outside of bringing La Croix back to the break room or finally getting Almond Milk stocked (although, good for me, right?)

And then, a few days later, driving to work, wishing I could go back to sleep, something amazing happened. I was distracted by an oddly inspirational sign:

goal

I got angry at first because obviously this was a personal attack against my tendency to delay goal-getting. Then I got nostalgic about my childhood which led to questioning my upbringing: If my parents didn’t buy me a television as a child would I have grown up to be an early bird? But then, in true underdog steed, I was like, “Fuck. That quote’s actually pretty deep. I should probably get some shit done today.” And then I did. 

 

“Don’t get anxious but…”

Was the preface to a story Matti told me the other day that got me thinking about how my boisterous little companion affects my everyday life. Obviously, one of the funnest things in the world is being a person with anxiety (said no one, ever). The best part about anxiety is the surprise factor, it’s so fun and unpredictable! Take for instance, bringing Tengo to Petsmart to get food:

Me: “Come on, Tengo, I’m supposed to be getting my period soon, my legs feel like I spent the last week in an uncertified trapeze training class and I’m trying awfully hard to retain my calm, assertive pack leader energy. I need to make The Dog Whisperer proud, damn it! Stop getting so excited! You’ve seen dogs before!”

If any of you know who Maria Bamford is, at the moment, I’m trying my best to to manipulate my voice into calmness. Homegirl can throw her voice like no one I’ve ever heard.

one-of-my-favorite-comedians-maria-bamford

Tengo’s tail is pinwheeling and he has his eye on the German Shepherd puppy approaching the store. As I take three deep breathes, he lunges for the dog, clearly sensing my impending menstruation and intuiting it as weakness.

“HEY! SIT!” Cesar Millan urges us to find a sound that reaches our dog like his “shhh” so mine is “HEY!” It’s more embarrassing for me then attention-grabbing for Tengo. At this point instead of projecting calm and assertive energy, I’m laser-beaming it out through my eyes. Cesar would tell me to envision the result. I’m envisioning the result. Tengo is now running in circles. I’M ENVISIONING THE DAMN RESULT. I’M ENVISIONING TENGO NOT BEING SUCH A FUCKING DOUCHE BAG.

“I SAID SITTTTTTTTTTTT!” At this point, calm is not happening, especially not for someone with anxiety that hasn’t been on medication for years and that counts being a recluse as a valid reaction to societal pressures.

We are now in Petsmart — I refuse to back down, he needs to be fed and I’m not getting the puppy police called on me for leaving Tengo in the car in 150 degree heat. We make our way to the food aisle, Tengo is thankfully submissive, his tail is lowered like we practiced, and I’m confident I have shaken my negative energy off at the door. Tengo has other plans. As he sniffs some plush toys in the middle of the main aisle, he lifts his leg up and starts pissing like a drunk guy in an alley way. Everywhere. On my feet and ankles.

cesar“Are you ffffffffffffff-kidding me!” I start to beg Tengo, “Please, please stop being such an asshole. I even picked you out chicken treats, how could you do this to me?” His face is how I imagine Anthony Weiner’s to be when looking at his wife.

The worst part about all of this is the employee’s acceptance of my dog’s inability to understand  my feelings.

“Oh, it’s okay! It happens all the time! He’s just soo excited” Says Carol, from dog grooming. You’re not fooling me Carol, I can sense you only got this job after you retired and realized spending time with pups was easier than being around your husband all day.

Really Carol, is it okay? So will you come to the vintage furniture store that Tengo shit in and explain that to them, too? Actually, matter of fact, come to the park with me too and tell everyone it’s okay as I start screaming his name to come but he’s too busy humping the other dogs.

Anxiety: 1 Aly: 0

Matti and I are driving to the supermarket when we park and the plans for the night are brought up, specifically, the lack of there being any plans.

peanutsparade-18

You always get me, Charlie

Me: “I CAN’T HANDLE THIS WHY AREN’T YOU COMMUNICATING BETTER I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE LET ME OUT.” I get out of the car, walk two cars down, and walk back to the car and get inside.

Me: “I HATE THE GROCERY STORE. I DON’T WANT TO GO IN. I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY. YOU’RE JUST GONNA GET FROZEN CHEESE PIZZA AND I CAN’T HAVE ANY BUT YOU’LL GET IT ANYWAY AND I’LL EAT IT AND THEN I’LL BE DEPRESSED AND BLOATED WITH THE RUNS FOR THE NEXT WEEK.”

(Matti sits there calmly like a good fiancée who works as an intake specialist with mentally unstable people every day would.)

Me: AHHHH BUT I’M SO HUNGRY. WHY ARE YOU STILL IN HERE!? WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING TONIGHT? HAVE WE FIGURED OUT A PLACE.?GAHHHH I CAN’T HANDLE THIS PRESSURE. (Starts sobbing while thinking about how good frozen cheese pizza would be right now.)

Anxiety: 2 Aly: 0

Tune in next time to see how I dealt with unexpected car trouble! Spoiler alert: Car seats survive after being assaulted by upper leg sweat!

How do you deal with life’s little surprises?

Sleep Disturbers Anonymous

Apparently, this woman has done nothing to make her room more comfortable for sleeping

Because sleeping in a tiny white room on a what appears to be an end table is always super comfy

Hello, my name is Aly and I’m a leg and body shaker. No I’m not humping Boo Radley, my all-white stuffed dog under the blankets, I’m rocking myself to sleep, you a-holes. What’s that awful cackle-like breathing noise? No, it’s not a coyote killing a cat in the far distance — that’s also me snoring. What’s that now? The blankets keep coming off of you while you sleep? Well, no, I haven’t noticed anything — it seems I have a surplus of covers over on my side of the bed. You keep waking up in the night because the bed is moving? Well saw-reee there’s a mythical organ inside of my body that only functions at night and in the wee (no pun intended) morning hours to push on my bladder until I succumb to the toilet — and yes, of course I have to turn the bathroom light on because there could be poisonous spiders living in the toilet bowl like the ones in Olive Garden that killed those people; You’ll get used to the light, don’t worry.

But believe me, I am not the worst culprit. Sure, my chainsaw snore may relegate you to quieter quarters but it’s bearable in most instances. And don’t try to hide, I can see you, fellow disturber, rolling your eyes as if you don’t wake up in the middle of the night with an ugly cloud shaped drool stain on your pillow — just like Zac Efron in High School Musical taught us, we’re all in this together. Some drip out mouth liquids loudly, some shake through the night like they’re in a Beyoncé video. We all have one thing in common: we can’t sleep still. 

Sleep talkers: The coolest of the cats. The ones that can’t be silenced. The kind of sleep disturber I aspire to be. I happily engage in conversations with Matti all the time while he is sleeping. The other night he mentioned something about burning quinoa, so obviously, the conversations are extremely important and wildly original. It always feels like he’s being super coy, like there’s something he’s secretly hiding, which is ridiculous, because in reality he’s just sleeping and I’m trying to force his brain to spit out random, funny statements that I can write about. Sometimes it works. Then, there’s the closet-serial killer sleep talker. Like sleepkillthis guy: “the other night he was shaking his hand in bed and telling me I was going to hurt the woman in the corner–I said there was no woman there and he told me to look on the floor for her shadow.” Some advice to this wife: Lady, get the fuck out of that marriage before your husband turns into Harrison Ford in What Lies Beneath and you find yourself drugged up in a bathtub wondering how you got there.

Sleep shakers: Who falls asleep while remaining completely still? Well, a lot of people. But if you don’t then you’re a sleep shaker so welcome to our exclusively shaky club. I like to think of us as being prematurely independent and adult-like, because as kids, we rocked ourselves to sleep — we learned to adapt. By the time I was born, my mom was 40 and had already done the family thing with another guy prior to my dad, so there was definitely no way I was getting the rocking chair, baby swaddle treatment. (Ugh, life as a middle class white girl was just so hard.) We disturb in a cute way, by rocking our bodies back and forth like we’re trying to catch the ultimate sleep wave. Okay, I guess it can also be associated with Restless Leg Syndrome which isn’t so much cute as it is bountifully annoying, or that’s the vibe I get whenever Anna sternly slaps her hand on my leg while we’re watching a movie on the couch, giving me the I-don’t-love-you-enough-to-not-cut-off-your-leg-if-you-don’t-stop look.

sorry-doing-strange-things-apology-ecard-someecardsSleep Walkers: Man, you freaks are crazy! How do you not chain yourselves to your bed in fear of accidentally throwing yourself over your balcony? Seriously, I can barely walk down the stairs while conscious without tripping let alone while my brain hasn’t made the connection I’m still sleeping. Sometimes, walking isn’t enough though, you have to make a sandwich or prod your partner awake until he or she is conscious enough to start fooling around. I like the idea of you guys because you’re multi-taskers — I sometimes get confused when making a sandwich and listening to music at the same time, but ya’ll are sleeping and laying down smooth sexy moves. Good for you guys. (Just please don’t assault anyone.)

Mysterious sleep sound makers: You’re trying to fall asleep when all of the sudden you hear the sound of someone eating a seemingly delicious ice cream cone. But no, there is no ice cream in sight. You think, okay, someone may be receiving some oral pleasure — if you will — by way of mouth; Because there’s a smacking sort of noise, a loud puckering, smushing together of the lips — is someone gargling mouth wash? No. And there’s definitely not another person in that bed so again, no to the oral pleasure. But the thought of it being that intimately distinct sounding act sticks with you until it’s all you can think about. Oh my god, this sound is disgusting and detestable! Stop smacking your lips together, god damn it! Why is your tongue moving around so much? Sleep, tongue, sleep! God, how is that pillow not dripping wet by now? And the only way you can get to sleep is by jamming those uncomfortably awkward Apple earbuds into your ear socket until you’re sure you feel your ear drums bleeding but anything is better than the sound of that disgusting mystery smacking coming from the guy in the bed next to you.*

sleepapnea

Darth Vader Sleepers: If we are ever attacked by aliens you fuckers would be all set — I can’t imagine any foreign being approaching a sleeping person with a sleep apnea mask and not thinking that sleeping monster can and will kill me.

Sleep Eaters and Sexers: I feel like these disturbers are sort of looking for the same thing, although I can’t for the life of me come up with which one I think is worse. You’re screaming at me “fucking a stranger is worse! It’s definitely worse!” and I’m thinking, ‘if I ate while I was sleeping I’d have to go grocery shopping twice as much and I’d look like more like my Uncle Mark than I am comfortable with.’ But mostly, these people are guilty of a couple things: suppressing their inner desires, buying too many cookies, and not finding a way to outsmart their sleeping selves. Designate a car key keeper to ensure you don’t have to enter couple’s therapy because your partner can’t stop screwing strangers while asleep. Win-win!

Snorers: Okay, this audibly difficult. Growing up, I lived in a house where I would be in the living room watching television, and even with the volume on full blast, every night the chorus of snores would play on high — the more violent, brash snore of my father sleeping in the basement and the choking, power tool snore of my mother from the bedroom upstairs, all combined with the screechy developing snore of my brother in his room. There were many times I found myself running to my mother’s room, in fear she was legitimately dying, only to shake her and have her wake to a short, punctual yet grating snore that sounded more like somebody trying to get the spanish “R” sound correctly. Don’t you love when a chronic snorer wakes themselves up? Oh my god, the pure joy of seeing that startled reaction in person is ultimate perfection.

Are you a sleep disturber? Is there one next to you in bed? What do YOU think the worst kind of sleep disturber is? Did I miss any?

*Disclaimer: Yes, this situation happened. Sorry, Charlie, for hating your sleep noises so much but I swear you’ll be invited to the wedding. Also, London was so fun!

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