I’m a Total Hypocrite.

I give, I think, very good advice.

I am not your typical “feeling” female (I know you don’t believe me). I’m going to get a bit stereotypical, but for the sake of my story, let’s say that generally, women are more emotional and men are more pragmatic.

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Hope my readership grows due to controversy!

As I meander through life, I tend to be very pragmatic about my decisions. Dude-like.

I noticed this especially when I was still dating, and going through scores of good, bad, and ugly suitors. I started to see patterns in the ways the men I dated treated me and acted, and stopped being a girl when it came to my reactions and expectations.

Perhaps this is why I had better friendships with men than women in my 20s. When I asked a dude pal for advice, he’d give me a couple of viable solutions. Boyfriend troubles? Dump him – find a new guy. Friend being silly about some gossip she heard about me? Confront her about it, or ignore it. Nervous about whether I’m getting a raise this year? Just tell them you’ll quit if you don’t get X percent.

I may not have followed the advice, but I liked it. A lot better than a friend automatically siding with me or not offering up anything helpful to add to my situation.

Because when I asked a female friend for advice? Lord. I don’t have enough space here. Boyfriend troubles? There are 1,246,339 different analyses for that one alone.

Of course, I’m being overly general. So don’t get on me about how I’m being sexist. I told you already, I’m just trying to illustrate a point.

So: When a friend comes to me for help, be that person male or female, I look for a way to solve the problem. I have never really been one to look at the problem backwards, from the solution someone wants to hear, trying to come up with every idea and plan that could help that friend get that result. I tend to work from the set of issues they’re working with, conceive the most probable cause for it all, and suggest a course of action that actually makes sense. Mind over heart.

If my girlfriend is having man issues, I’m not usually a shoulder to cry on. Yes, I’ll sympathize. But then I want to get into the nitty gritty and help her solve the damn problem. I ask questions, make suggestions. When my friend gives up a soft reason why my suggestions don’t work, I plunge deeper and find work-arounds. If I feel confident that something is hopeless, I’m not afraid to dish out tough love statements such as “look – it’s been 6 months. I think you need to dump him.” With me, it’s never “oh sweetie, I’m sure he’s just going through a phase. Just give him another chance!”
Boyfriend a jerk? Dump him.
Boss keeps passing you over for promotions? Find a new job.
Not meeting any girls in this city? Quit swiping left on everyone.
Hate your flabby arms? Let’s join a gym together.
Can’t decide between the hotty who’s kind of a jerk or the dork who treats you like gold? Whelp…

I was truly exasperated the other day when I was trying to help figure out a plan for a friend who’s going through a nasty divorce. I realized I couldn’t come up with a clear answer or solution for her. I ended up texting her, “I always feel like I need to help by coming up with a solution for my friends. It’s frustrating that I can’t.”

But overall, fuck man. Life can actually be a lot easier if you just make the decision that you know is right. Doing the thing that you know needs to be done. If you car engine is making a funny squeaking noise, you go and you fix it. Talking to your friends and crying over it and talk about how your car’s a really nice shade of red and the wheels are brand new. You don’t take it to the car wash and then revisit the squeaky noise problem with your friends again over a few bottles of wine, discussing how long you’ve had the car and how there aren’t other cars out there like it. No. You take the car to the damn shop and pay dollars and have it fixed. And if you find out that you can’t fix it, you get a new car.

Right?

I give all this great advice. Really, I do.

Sometimes I look at a text I’ve taken no time to craft, or think about words I’ve spewed out so easily, and marvel at how simple it can be.

But then I look at my own goddamn life.

Right now, it’s so simple.

Wake up. Get dressed. Go to your fucking job. Do your job. Come home. Love your man. Clean the house. Work out. Go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Have a coffee. Have wine. Go to bed.

Life isn’t hard right now.

I’m no longer dealing with a difficult work situation or people or the physchological brutality I was going through six months ago.

But do you think I can give myself a succinct tidbit of advice to follow right now?

No. Of course not.

All I want to do is talk about it. Whine about it. I don’t want to work on anything.

I don’t want to hear anyone’s advice or get any ideas. I don’t want someone to think up 10 Easy Steps to Walking Around Downtown in Your Own City Because You DO Belong! so that I can fix my issues of being seen in public.

I just want to be a GIRL about it.

I want to talk about my problems at length. I want to have a glass of wine with a friend, talk exclusively about my problems have that friend agree that my problems are hard and real and unsurmountable and the worst version of that particular problem ever. I want to be agreed with and have someone say “there, there, now” and rub my back as I complain and let myself be the victim with no options.

I want to just let it out and vent.

Vent vent vent.

Don’t give me any advice. Just be there for me and tell me I’m right.

I want to be the hypocrite I know I’m being.

It’s easier.

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Anxiety.

I am 33.

That means I’ve officially been struggling with this bullshit for 18 years. I am also an expert. My brain’s neurons or whatever have been hard at work becoming professional worriers for years.

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Nerve cells. Or possibly a magnified photo of a dust mite.

Not technically (#dontsueme). Some might say I have no business giving advice to anyone. But I have definitely been marinating in this ugly swamp for almost two decades, so I think I’ve earned my right to talk about it publicly. This is my therapy.

Let me begin with a little housekeeping:

  1. This site is based entirely on personal experience, observations, and Dr. Google.
  2. I will swear sometimes.
  3. I started this thing so that I can get my thoughts out there. I hope it can bring me some kind of therapeutic relief that is not medically-induced.
  4. I will likely eventually offend someone (assuming people actually read this thing), but not on purpose. If you let me know about it politely, we can chat about it.
  5. I hope I can help you, too, even if only by letting you know you’re not alone.

I hope I’ve gotten the general point across that I am not perfect (uh, hence this blog’s subject matter…), I aim to help, and if you don’t like it, I would like it a lot if you’d be nice about it. Because I have social anxiety disorder. And if you email me really mean things, I will probably cry and have a panic attack. Because I have panic disorder. Then I might pull down the site because I am terrified that the $60 I spent on it was a huge mistake, that the one email means everyone who’s read this hated it too, and I will be in much more dire straits than I currently am. Because I have generalized anxiety disorder (“GAD”) and everything freaks me out without true justification.┬áThen I’ll get depressed about it, because I also have that.

If you were counting, that’s four disorders that I have. Those are all psychiatrist-diagnosed beauties right there. I also believe I have attention deficit disorder, dermatillomania, and mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. But those are self-diagnoses that I’ve never really asked my doctors about in detail. Because the drugs they’ve prescribed me cover pretty much all of those, anyway.

That’s another thing. I am medicated for my anxieties. I am on a high dose of a┬áselective┬áserotonin reuptake inhibitor (“SSRI” – a type of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant) as well as another medication that I take for acute flare-ups. For me, these medications mean the difference between participating and not participating in typical adult life. The hard stuff. Like, say, grocery shopping in public.

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So much product, so much emotional hysteria.

I wish I could say that I wasn’t always this way. But I bet anxiety was skipping around in the back of my head since the day I was born, just waiting for an excuse to jump out and become the main character of my life. That happened when I was about 15. We’ll get to that later.

Over the years, though, I have successfully ventured out of the house, formed relationships, and even cultivated a relatively successful career. I’ve learned how to navigate the minefield. But it’s still there. And when a little bump in the road arises, it feels like Mt. Everest. Or K2. Whatever is more unsurmountable.

Among the various therapies I’ve tried over the years (medication, a psychologist, self-help books, hiding, etc.), two things have stood out as being more helpful than anything else: communication and writing.

Communication is amazing. I’ve met many people in real life who completely get anxiety and depression, because they suffer from it too. I was never comfortable telling people I have anxiety until I met someone, whom I respected a great deal, who told me they were all screwed up too.

Since that day, I’ll casually drop “I have anxiety” into conversations (usually those laced with a bit of wine) if I have a feeling that that person needs an outlet. Surprisingly, nine times out of ten, my anxiety-radar is dead on. I find that people drop subtle hints that they have those irrational, horrible feelings about everyday instances that they don’t know how to deal with. Sometimes they confirm that they also have disorders, and sometimes they just acknowledge the irrationality of it all. You don’t need to be diagnosed to know something is a little off. But believe me when I say that the outpouring of BFF-ness that follows the revelation is something that makes me feel like anxiety is a special club I don’t mind being a part of.

That’s a lie, I fucking hate it. A lot.

The underlying message I’m trying to convey is that talking to other people who are going through the same things is without a doubt one of the most precious weapons I have in my anxiety armoury.

The second thing I rely on is writing. I’ve kept various journals over the years, written emails that I never sent, and have found a lot of value in text message conversations in which I let it all out. Assigning words, however simple, to what I’m going through is a big part of healing from any particular disruptively emotional event I might be going through. It helps me justify and characterize everything. It helps me pinpoint what the hell is actually going on. And, once it’s on paper, it’s not glued to me anymore. The beast is released.

This page is meant to combine the two. I’ll start with the writing, and hopefully I will attract some other humans who are looking for relief, guidance, support, or just validation. If this site can bridge the gap between myself and the thousands of others who are lugging around anxiety, depression, or anything else, then I think it can do a lot of good.┬áIt is very simple math.

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Excerpt from my brain: working backwards, please find the equation for normal.

Alright. 966 words is enough for one night.

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