I am in the middle of a relapse. A sticky, ugly, anxious mood that refuses to quit. And the worst of it is— my timing couldn’t be more off. I’m starting rehearsals for one of my shows next week. (My theatre consulting goes from simple advice and designs all the way up to director. This year is director.) Which means that the relapse happened right as I was casting more than 60 children and young adults into a Singing-in-the-Rain-esque musical I wrote based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
My memorial day weekend:
-Two trips to the Emergency Room
-An all expenses (not) paid overnight stay in the hospital, complete with IV drip and hourly blood letting
-A major diet relapse, including the cheese puffs I have just stolen from my toddler
sigh… Happy Memorial Day!
I’ve been trying not to say anything about “gluten.”
I know, I know, gluten is a real word and so there is no need for the air quotes. But you know what I mean. That person. That person who espouses the evil of one ingredient or another, then borders on a zealot in their need to change what every one else eats.
Telling people with anxiety disorders that make them sensitive to “toughen up” is some serious bullshit. I can honestly say that this repeated bit of advice is what stopped me from getting help for more than twenty years.
“Toughen up” implies that you can get better through grit alone. Like you just need another run in with sandpaper and you’ll be able to live in this world with no problems. (And the bitch of it is that sensitive people will tell you this most. Sure, you get the occasional blithe asshole. But mostly it’s sensitive people just trying to help.)
So—here’s your PSA of the day, PSA stands for Please Stop (giving this) Advice:
Do not tell sensitive or anxious people to “toughen up,” or to “get a thicker skin” or even point out they’re, “just too sensitive.”
No, seriously, no more of this shit. It’s not helpful.
What is helpful? … I don’t know. Everyone is different. But I can tell you that “sensitive” is often just a wash to ignore more complex legit issues, like depression, anxiety, and other disorders. So maybe next time someone is “just too sensitive.” Ask them, “are you ok?”
They might still punch you. I don’t know your life. Or your argument. But hey, you did your part to stop the cycle.
Like I said, I spend most days psyching myself up to do the dishes. Some more than others. This is gonna take a while.
I do not eat grains anymore.
This is another one of those mental health things. For me, grains = more anxiety. (I have an anxiety disorder so strong that for most of my life I couldn’t even call people on the phone. And if people called me first I would refuse to answer or automatically chuck the ringing phone across the room. And that was when we still had landlines. The phone would just come right back. It’s not logical, folks.) Anyway, people are often skeptical of this grains, anxiety connection. I know that when my father and sister first told me about their own results (not over the phone) I was kind of like, “Oh, wow… that’s cool.”
You don’t intentionally dismiss their experience but you do. Not because you doubt them but because you don’t want to stop. If what they’re saying is bunk, then I can keep on eating multiple sandwiches and whole bags of chips a day. (They were the “healthy” chips, so it was totally ok.) In my head I was like, that’s so awesome that they feel good but that won’t work for me.
Everything I’ve said about fat, but way funnier…
I have been talking a lot about my Avoidant Personality Disorder. Which has made me feel like an ambassador of some kind. But then I started thinking about my diagnosis, which was less than facebook official, and became suddenly wary. (Which ticked my anxiety into high gear ironically—feelings of inadequacy, “I’m a fraud,” blah, blah, blah) I don’t want to go into how I was diagnosed and subsequently medicated (boy, that sounds nefarious) but technically, well, I’ve already mentioned it once before on this very blog so you probably already know… Cutting to the chase, I got my anxiety disorder diagnosed by my general doctor and not a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist seems more legit, right? That’s what I thought too. So after a confusing series of emails to my doctor, the poor nurse may have thought I was some kind of nut (nothing’s wrong I just need legitimacy. No, I don’t want to hurt myself or others to get it. She wasn’t wrong about the nut part, but that’s not the point) I get an appointment with a counselor. They must deal with worse because she gave me a referral to the same counselor I saw when I first started my meds with very little hubbub. A counselor is like a psychiatrist, right? I think to myself. Either way I don’t want to be too much trouble, so I take it.