I don’t have to be having a bad day when I face the many questions anxiety throws at me. By a bad day, I mean not being able to get up or I just want to sleep. I can see myself in the invisible mirror that haunts me in my mind. People wonder why they can’t see what I go through, and well they don’t live in a mind that’s trapped and exhausted. I understand the challenge of not knowing how a person lives in an illness when I have never been through it. What I don’t understand is how a person doesn’t try to understand the effects that anxiety has on the body.
Standing in the office with my manager yesterday I realized that she had no idea that I was not even equipped to function. I know the lines, the menu, the desserts, the drinks but nothing carelessly takes away from living like anxiety. Even now as I write this, I am wondering if it’s going to make sense, is it acceptable, worth the time? Anxiety does affect my job. I can’t walk up to a table and be a relaxed server. I have to build all courage standing at the wine hutch before I go over to a table and pretend that anxiety doesn’t exist.
“Stop faking it!” I believe I heard this way too many times this past weekend. I was having a party (something someone like me rarely ever does!) and the entire time I had to pretend that there was nothing wrong. I even faked in front of my boyfriend who knows me all to well to know when something is wrong, I don’t talk. People were actually coming to my house. Is that even a normal thing? People coming to an event that I am having? That’s the anxiety talking. I want to end it, but I can’t.
In the event of this party, I had to escape for a moment and then come back with a smile and pretend that I was having a good time. Carving pumpkins is probably one of my most favorite things to do, yet I had to force myself to enjoy it. By the end, I had escaped to my kitchen to clean up while everyone was outside, and I had never felt so low. What is going on? I thought I was doing great? Where did this come from? Oh, and then volunteered to watch a friend’s kids. More pretending? Not a problem. I’m used to it.
It’s now Sunday morning.
“No one look at me. No one talk to me. Just do what you had said you would do, and leave. Go to the meeting you actually want to enjoy, but don’t enjoy it. Don’t even eat. You’ll throw up. You are weak… Failure. You look like a hot mess. These people don’t want you to serve them. Go ahead, walk over there like you’re confident. Idiot. I can’t do this. I can’t be here.” …these are the thoughts of the invisible mirror.
Sunday night, 7 p.m.
Crying making a salad, I want to go home. Why is this happening? I am so confused.
Two hours later, complete breakdown. This is what people don’t see. They don’t see the weakness or the not wanting to do anything. They don’t see the hurt. The mind is a very powerful creature that maintains both freedom and the ability to trap itself; this I find the most unsettling.
Nothing made this better, and I’m still dealing with the aftermath: exhaustion, afraid to send a text message, depression and uncertainty.
The invisible mirror images are expanding, and there’s nothing I can do.