When Anxiety Takes Over

This past weekend I took a trip to the national aquarium with a friend and her boyfriend to meet with a Deaf guy she’s friends with for a school project.

We knew we were going to to go on Saturday – we had known for a while – but we didn’t have any kind of answers about how we were going to get there until Friday night. And that was not for lack of trying on our part. My friend and her boyfriend were bugging her parents all week long, more than once a day, about details and getting answers, but they were stubborn and just wouldn’t respond. I realize that they weren’t in the same house – my friend was out of state with her boyfriend – but they all have cell phones that work. They could, more than easily, have called each other to try to figure things out. However, that would have been the logical thing to do. And, clearly, a large portion of society lacks to common sense to do something simple, like the logical thing to do. It drives me absolutely insane sometimes… Ok, most of the time…

My friend’s mom told me Saturday morning that there had been a death in the family, late in the week. In my head I was screaming, “WHAT ABOUT THE FREAKING REST OF THE WEEK BEFORE THAT?!? WERE YOU INCAPABLE OF PLANNING AHEAD??” But on the outside it looked nothing like that. I said, “I didn’t know. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

She told me that she realized that it caused some anxiety for me. (Yes, some anxiety… I’m pretty damn sure that what I was dealing with – a complete inability to focus (thank heavens I was on spring break from school), agitation with people around me, and relentless chest pain for days on end – was something more than just the result some anxiety.) Inside I was absolutely screaming, “WOMAN YOU DON’T KNOW THE FREAKING HALF OF IT!! YOU HAVE NO EFFING IDEA WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH WAITING DAY AFTER DAY TO GET ANY KIND OF ANSWERS FROM YOU!!!” But that’s not at all what it looked like on the outside. I was doing everything I could to keep a level head. And that included, literally, biting my tongue while she was talking.

Nothing I could have said was going to make her feel any kind of guilt or cause her to truly apologize for waiting so damn last minute to make decisions. At least nothing while keeping my cool. Because I knew that if I lost it, which I very easily could have in a split second, she very likely would have told me I was no longer welcome on the trip and kicked me out in the (literal) rain. And I was determined to stay calm because the last thing my mom said to me that morning was, “Deep breath. Think twice, speak once.” When I confronted my friend’s mom about not deciding anything till the night before, I never raised my voice once. I stayed calm (on the outside) the whole time.

The worst thing I can think that I said was something along the lines of, “When making plans involving someone outside of your own home, it’s discourteous to leave them waiting until the last minute.” And I’m pretty sure she took some major offense at that. Because I had called her out on something where she was more than likely in the wrong. And, of course I came in as someone younger than her who wasn’t going to stand by and bite their tongue about an opinion they had. I possibly embarrassed her because she knew I was right and she wouldn’t admit it.

I felt that it was necessary that she be made aware of how their lack of planning affects other people. It’s very possible that others could end up thinking that they’re flaky because they don’t plan things out in advance. Which, honestly, I’m on the fence about.

I mean, if it hadn’t been for the fact that this trip was for school, I would’ve backed out in a heartbeat because the anxiety over not having plans was literally painful and killing my anxiety.

I wish I could make people understand what something like this situation does to someone with anxiety. Sometimes I really wish that they were forced to experience what those with anxiety do so that they hopefully wouldn’t do things that cause anxiety to flare up so violently in others.

I know that probably sounds horrible because most of us wouldn’t wish a mental illness on anyone. But sometimes we say/think things like that in the heat of the moment when people aren’t understanding us or really listening when we are trying to explain.

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