I know other people who are like me.
After a few mornings spent laughing out loud on a bus full of strangers, there was no reason to believe a little lunchtime reading would not bring the same.
Except it did not, not with one particular chapter of the book I am reading.
“I know other people who are like me. They take the same drugs as me. They try all the therapies. They are brilliant and amazing and forever broken.” - Jenny Lawson, (aka The Bloggess), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.
I knew that anxiety would be touched upon in the book. I knew because I had seen The Bloggess take leave inside the women’s restroom when the going got rough at one of the BlogHer conferences I attended.
I knew, and I kept reading.
I ended up crying alone in the women’s restroom at work.
Because I felt less alone, a little less broken, knowing that someone else who seemingly has it all together lives with this thing called generalized anxiety disorder.
Because there are very few people who understand it, even fewer who will talk about it or write about it. I understood it from a very young age. I started talking and writing about it a few years ago. I even disclosed it to my latest supervisor a few weeks ago, after a panic attack occurred unrelated to work but in the presence of a co-worker. (I know, right? I choose to disclose anxiety over diabetes, WTF?)
“It is exhausting being me. Pretending to be normal is draining and requires amazing amounts of energy and Xanax.” – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.
Substitute Ativan for the Xanax, and I could have written this.
Just because I seem highly functioning in the workplace or a social event does not mean that it is not taking all the strength I do have (and some Ativan) to stay presentable, to be focused, to not panic.
And just because I may have held it together in public does not mean that I keep it together as soon as I am alone again. The aftermath of a panic attack that did not happen can be just as devastatingly exhausting as having one.
So here’s the thing.
Jenny Lawson will be at a book signing Monday night in Denver.
I want to go, really I do, but I think she, of all people, would understand if I cannot attend.