Updated: Apr 22
When I was growing up in the 1980’s I don’t recall there being a lot of talk around anxiety. I don’t have many talents but one that does seem to pop up when it need it is my memory, and I don’t recall there being a lot of dicussion around the concept of anxiety. It is probably safe to say that at that time, getting treated for anxiety made you a wack job.
Which begs the question, how many poor fuckers were walking around in complete mental terror until Prozac started showing up on commercials? Let me be clear though, I am 100% not talking about those who fake the anxiety and use it as an excuse to get what they want or more importantly, what they want out of. I’m talking about the real hardcore anxiety havers. The ones who never bring it up because the are ashamed to say that they are a little nutty.
Instead of seeking help we try to deal with it internally, or at least that is what I did for a several years. I believe my first bout of anxiety started when I was 17 and for the next 25 years was a lot of sleepless nights. At the height of my oddness (and still sometimes now), my anxiety would take the stupidest of issues and turn them into full blown 48 Hour Mystery episodes.
Here’s one of many episodes my anxiety was able to create. I was with my wife at Dunkin’ Donuts in the early afternoon. I believe it was the Fall of 2018 and it was on a Saturday. We were initially going to get coffee and when we got there (to the drive through) I decided to get a frozen smoothie which isn’t a common occurrence. I’m not sure why but that’s what I opted for and as we were paying at the window, the personal hell I was living, was about to ignite.
The employee passed me my wife’s drink first and then it was time for mine. Mind you, it was a large cup (great big fucking cup) and it was filled to the top. As I grabbed it, it started to spill on my hand and aswe started to pull off, well, that’s when captain crazy decided to take over. It wasn’t long (maybe two seconds) that I proceeded to get pissed off about the smoothie spilling on my favorite hand, and so I had to take a stand.
I rolled down my window and slammed that cup as hard as I could on to the pavement in the parking lot. The car that was behind me in line would or could have seen me do it (more on that later), and off we peeled from the scene of the crime. Red ice was everywhere and I had clearly had better days.
During this tantrum I was having, my wife (now used to it) after 13 years of marriage probably said something like “don’t worry will just get a new one or you can have mine” but was actually probably thinking, “I wish I had a fucking straight jacket that I could put on him”. This innocent yet albeit ridiculous scene is the first part to this common type of behavior at the time.
When we got home, we were both working in the yard, cleaning up stuff and getting ready for Iowa winters. We were probably home an hour when the anxiety started to kick back in at level 10. Honestly, before I knew it, I was turning the smoothie incident into a whole new law-breaking mess. I had convinced myself that it wasn’t going to be long before the FBI would be knocking on my door and requesting a search warrant for red ice.
Really, this statement doesn’t even begin to do justice to the utter madness that I was conjuring up between the ears. I was seriously thinking that the person behind us in the drive through or the sniper that Dunking Donuts had on their roof were on to me. Like I was a serial smoothie dumper who was probably the next in line for America’s Most Wanted.
For the bulk of a day, I sucked all the energy out of myself (and my wife) because of the my ability to handle the anxiety I was having. The funny thing (or embarrassing thing) is that this ridiculous story with the Dunkin’ Donut Smoothie is one of hundreds that I have participated in over the years. What I know now after being on anxiety medication for almost two years is that I actually had a talent that was poking fun at my own anxiety.
What I mean is, I am a person that has to be very creative all the time or I kind of get a little antsy. When I was having anxiety issues, my creativity, my ability to make up weird stories or come up with exotic scenarios were simply flaming the anxiety fire I had raging at the time. It is a perfect storm where to ends of the spectrum cross. Since the medication? Well, I have launched a two podcasts, created self-help courses created five websites, built a fitness platform, wrote almost hundreds of blogs and worry about less.
My point with all of this is that I was and am not, clearly alone. There are millions of people who are battling anxiety (if not severe anxiety) on a day to day basis. I was lucky enough to have a doctor ask me if I would think about going on some type of medication and almost immediately things turned around for me. Why live in a constant paranoia state about what will happen tomorrow when you can enjoy today?
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