In Case of Emergency

So I’ve been sharing about 70% of my diary on here. If I were to ramp that up to, say, 80%, would you mind?

For starters, I’m sitting on a chair shaped like a doughnut. And I’ve been sitting here for quite some time. I’m hoping that you won’t judge me too harshly. It’s been a hell of a week.

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There’s something that I haven’t talked to you a lot about yet. Mostly because I’m a little worried that I might lose you halfway through, but also because I’m afraid you won’t be able to relate this time. I’m just going to march forward anyway, I think. With doughnut in hand. You know, for courage.

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I need courage, because believe it or not, my anxiety is harder for me to talk about than heartbreak, therapy, unemployment, disordered eating, et cetera, et cetera.

Maybe acceptance is the first step. (Isn’t that what they say?) Okay: I am an anxious person. And I mean anxious with a capital A. I have triggers, or spikes, or whatever you want to call them. I have a lot of them. Habit and Routine are my best friends, and when things change, I have a really, really hard time coping.

I don’t just get nervous or stressed out. Or lose a night’s sleep, or sweat clear through a nice shirt. I get wildly panicky. I’m talking about an anxiety so crushing that it feels like all the walls are caving in around me, and there is simply no way out. Or not one that I can see, anyway.

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I’ve gotten very good at hiding it. At least when I feel like it would be a very, very bad idea to curl up in the fetal position and cover my ears with my hands. Take yesterday, for instance — that would have been a comically bad time. Yesterday, when I sat in an almost office in Brooklyn, with my stomach churning and my head nodding automatically: Yes, I can deliver on X, Y, and Z. Yes, I am your strongest candidate. Yes, I would just jump at the chance to be on board. Yes, I would absolutely love to dive right in.

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I shook her hand and hoped that mine wasn’t too clammy. I summoned up a parting smile and made sure I strode confidently towards the door.

I think I played the part of a bright young professional beautifully. But maybe not — maybe she felt the onslaught of my complete and utter terror, and my escalating self-doubt, and she just hired me anyway. This kind of anxiety — sometimes I’m surprised not to see it radiating out from underneath my skin.

This post isn’t going to have a tidy little ending, because I’m still so wound up I can hardly see straight. I’m so afraid that history is going to repeat itself. That I will start this job, and become so scared of failing that I will work myself into the ground. And I will slowly stop writing, cooking, exercising, and connecting with the people who matter most to me, simply because I don’t have any energy left. I can already feel myself gearing up for it — for this race that I will never win. It’s the race to be a good employee, a good blogger, a good athlete, a good cook, a good daughter, and a good friend. All full-time.

This kind of anxiety — it comes with a stomach pain so crippling that I can’t sleep. But Anxiety Stomach can multitask. It can be in knots while it swells like a balloon. And even though I’ll be beyond beach ball bloated, I will have this wild compulsion to eat — because if everything else is about to go haywire, at least I won’t go hungry.

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And this kind of anxiety — it comes with something else too. You can rattle them around. The thought of using them makes me BEYOND anxious, but I have them. A doctor thought I should have them. In case of emergency.

My body thinks RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE qualifies. It feels like there is an absolute disaster going on. Every alarm bell I have is shrieking.

What my body would really like to do is go back to breakfast. To before everything changed.

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But since that’s out, I’m thinking we should make a sandwich for dinner and put potato chips in it. Like we did when we were little and completely convinced of our brilliance. We can call it coping.

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Housekeeping note: All-Purpose and Semi-Sweet is now on Facebook! Sans hyphens though…because Facebook said so. You can also follow along on Instagram and Pinterest. Come hang out! (Especially if you’re nice and laid back. I really need you in my life.)

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2 thoughts on “In Case of Emergency

  1. Make your race a relay race of all your needs, not a race against each other, it is all take and give…and take three deep breaths …..we all are anxious, we just have different ways of dealing with it….be kind to yourself Hannah , may this new chapter be filled with days that are filled with hope and laughter too !

    • I like the relay race analogy a lot, Tina. And I’ve said this before, but: you are so nice, and I so appreciate your steady support. I might not be able to post every day anymore, but I hope to still find you on here sometimes! Xx

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