It’s funny, but when I feel an anxiety attack coming on, I almost always have the same consistent word pop into my head: Shitburgers.
It’s sort of an adults-only derivative of my favorite South Park character, Butters, and his frazzled battle cry, “Hamburgers!” And yet, for all of my word-love and English major nerd eloquence (“Since when are you eloquent?” – you all), “shitburgers” seems to nicely sum up my mental state going into a full-on anxiety attack. And I like to imagine that it will stick around, acting as a kind of bat signal for my future partner. What did you say? Did you just say shitburgers? and all of a sudden, he’ll start clearing a pathway for me like he’s a goddamned aircraft marshaller.
I don’t mean to sound obtuse (Note: I am about to totally sound obtuse), but some stuff has been going on lately that has deep fried my nerves so much I half expect them to be the feature staple at the 2014 Texas State Fair.
In future posts, I might ease into what exactly that is, but I can go ahead and say it’s nothing deathly or horrible. Just something complex and difficult, but with potentially happy end results. (And no, it’s not electro-shock therapy, though that might not be a bad idea, considering.)
But ironing out the painstaking details (and I am not a details person) is for someone with a lot more patience and sobriety than I currently possess. Unfortunately, it’s in my constitution to get completely cocked up over the details/waiting-game stage and just go completely off the rails. Which I have done gloriously in the last week. I go around with an expression on my face that probably looks like I drink human souls for breakfast.
Perhaps offering my services to a timid co-worker today was a bit much. “Send that motherfucker my way,” I told her about an unruly office mate of ours. “I’m in the mood to shank someone.” Even an AA friend, after casually asking me tonight how I was, pulled away and said, “You look like you either want to eat my face or cry. Or both.”
Because I feel like I am about to break. It’s probably NO BUENO when you’re driving home from an AA meeting and fantasizing about how good a vodka cranberry would be right about then. I mean, I could almost taste it. And I drove extra-slowly past one of my old liquor stores. I stared at it with as much longing as I would a totally naked Alex Skarsgard helicoptering right in front of me. I could have been in and out in two minutes with a handle of vodka and no one would have been the wiser.
Still, while that crosses my mind, that’s all it’s doing right now. Because at the end of the day, I kept driving past that liquor store, and my idea of a fucking treat tonight was two extra fiber gummies, not a vodka cranberry. Today, I did my part: I went to a meeting, I talked to other alcoholics, and I didn’t take a drink. I don’t have to worry about or make promises regarding tomorrow. I just had to take care of today.
So, this Unnamed Future Event that’s coming up — it’s going to be rough. A lot like getting sober again, as far as the emotional investment. But then, I’m one of those pussies who thinks *everything* about life is hard. Things that normal, well-adjusted people do every day and have done for years just takes a monumental amount out of me.
I’m just muy incómodo when it comes to crying on the daily. In fact, that’s very much why I drank. And before I could drink, it was why I snarfed fattening delicious shit, and why I eventually would have done all the drugs: I detested the anxiety.
I live to be soothed. I hate chaos and conflict. I want my life to be a big ball of comfort. Even watching all those apocalyptic zombie shows and shit, I’m always all, “Who in the fuck would want to live in a world where you have no air conditioning, have to walk everywhere, and your occasional reward for not getting devoured by the undead is a commercial sized bucket of expired pudding?” (Unless I was nailing Daryl. Then I would hang tight and my will to live might possibly stay intact.)
Knowing all this mess was coming, I set up an appointment with my shrink and told her ass in no uncertain terms that I needed some medicinal help for this. That I had God, and AA, and a sponsor, and friends, and a talky therapist. But that there ain’t no shame in a good benzo to calm a bitch’s tits every now and then. She switched up a few things and is trying some new (non-addictive) add-ons that I hope will help.
The thing is, I will be okay. There are going to be a buttload of times when I’m going to feel like things are very NOT okay. But that’s the trick: to outthink this thing. If you can convince yourself that it’s not as real as it feels, and that it will pass, then you stand a much better chance of getting through it. Am I still going to sob silently in bathrooms? Yes. Will I hyperventilate while taking Mr. Teefs to the vet to get his anal glands expressed? Yes. (Safe to say: he was also unhappy.) Do some anxiety attacks hit me like a metric ton of bricks, while others slowly, sinisterly creep up over the course of a day? Yes. So — I will cry. I will be out of breath. I will feel like my chest is in an ever-tightening vice. I will get tunnel vision. I will want to hide. I will hide when I can. But I will get through it.