Recently, I was diagnosed (by a pretty inattentive psychiatrist) with Anxiety: Not Otherwise Specified (NOS). Which basically means I’m not anxious enough all the time to be Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and I don’t step over enough cracks to be Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
As my more attentive therapist (totally different from a psychiatrist) informed me: NOS is used as a diagnosis to indicate anxiety with depression, since its two counter parts are used to diagnose pure anxiety. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, sometimes anxiety isn’t without other symptoms like depression. So the psychiatrist – who only asked me about 10 questions (at such a rapid rate, I initially forgot that no, not both of my parents are alive) – she was attempting to diagnose both my anxiety and potential low serotonin levels that were driving obsessive thoughts. Or my psychiatrist was too busy talking on the phone with her husband and didn’t want to ask me more questions.
Technicalities and boring shop-talk aside, my anxiety disorder manifests itself in a sort of OCD fashion. While I don’t hand-wash or step over cracks, I do have compulsive and neurotic behavior. Most of it is internal and therefore invisible. Ruminating and double-, triple-, and quadruple- checking thoughts and behavior bog down my every day life. Many of the thoughts I have conflict in stark opposition to how I actually feel about any given topic, causing a really aggressive game of ping pong in my head. Whatever that game is that rich people play with the glass walls (racquetball?) that’s super dangerous and high-speed? That’s what happens. I call it The Doubt Machine. Once it gains enough momentum, I can’t stop it. I have to essentially get on the train and ride it until it’s done.
The quick and dirty version:
Against my own will, I spend almost every moment of every day checking every one of my thoughts, statements, and actions to ensure they are as perfect as they can be.
Trust me, it’s fucking exhausting.
The point of this blog is to find pattern in my thoughts and catharsis in the activity of putting a narrative laced with humor and mild cynicism to what I’ve been going through.
I hope this blog also serves as an educational tool for people who don’t understand anxiety and/or mental illness. Because people can be pretty shitty and unempathetic (“why don’t you just calm down?” “Don’t freak out so much.” “Just don’t think about it.”), and I’m tired of ducking into corners and stairwells at work so I can cry aggressively and hyperventilate for 20 minutes. In my experience, people are unforgiving when they don’t have the necessary perspective to empathize. This blog is an attempt at offering an honest, sincere perspective.
And the ultimate goal of this blog is to reach out to others with anxiety or mental illness so they recognize that they are not alone.
The undying support I have received from friends, family, my significant other, and acquaintances with anxiety disorders is what has kept me going through this.
If you are experiencing emotional difficulty, please reach out to someone. Whether it’s a mental health professional, a friend, your aunt, your pizza delivery driver, your girlfriend, or even to me in a comment, please talk to someone.
You are not alone.
I promise you.