I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I looked at him in the mirror of our tiny bathroom while he fixed his hair. “You are so handsome,” I sighed. He smiled goofily. I looked down. “Sometimes I wonder what you’re doing with a train wreck like me.”
He turned around, bent down, looked me in the eye, and kissed me. “You are a train wreck,” he said, and went back to combing his hair.
I always had issues with anxiety growing up, but it was mainly due to a lack of self-confidence for not being one of the pretty girls. The condition I face now, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, didn’t rear its ugly head until I left my ex.
I remember it clearly. My dad, older brother, and I were stopped at a Cracker Barrel on our way back to my old apartment to grab the rest of my stuff. The restaurant was crowded, as it was a Saturday morning. We sat at our table, and even though I was hungry, the thought of putting any food in my mouth made me want to vomit. I felt my stomach churn, and I barely ate a few French fries before feigning like I wasn’t hungry, letting my dad and brother finish their meals in silence. I kept my head down, because any time I looked up my vision clouded and I felt like fainting. I’m surprised I didn’t knock anyone over on our way out, because all I kept thinking was “I need air. I need air.”
A few days later, my parents and I went to a TGIFriday’s for dinner. It was a typical dinner. My dad ordered a girly drink, I ordered a beer, and we laughed and talked until our food came. Then, again, I took one bite of food and felt like vomiting. I ran to the bathroom, which was thankfully only a few feet behind our table. Nothing. I went back to the table and tried to eat again. And, again, I felt the bile rise and ran to the bathroom. My parents looked at me funny, asked if I was ok, and I came up with some excuse and didn’t eat the rest of my meal.
And it kept happening. I got back into dating, but every time we went to a restaurant or bar, I felt sick and didn’t eat anything. And it wasn’t just restaurants, either. Crowded movie theaters, malls, ComicCon—everywhere I went, I felt sick to my stomach. Even eating dinner with my boyfriend’s parents made me more nervous than anything.
After many conversations with my boyfriend about this problem, he suggested I go see my doctor, who gladly put me on an anti-anxiety medication called Citalopram hydrobromide. (Ironically, this is the same medication Ian Curtis was on before he died.) While the medication makes my stomach stop churning, it doesn’t stop my brain from worrying.
The other day, I made a list of my anxious behaviors: Biting and chewing on my lips, shaking my legs, rubbing the sides of my fingers, sniffling, checking doors to make sure they’re closed/locked (also leaving doors open out of a fear of getting locked out), needing to make sure things aren’t going to fall (moving objects away from the edges of tables and shelves, which makes grocery shopping a nightmare sometimes), rolling my shoulders, popping my jaw, etc.
Then, I made a list of my fears: falling down stairs, things breaking, thinking of the worst case scenario for every situation, making a fool of myself in public.
The last three fears I wrote down on my pink sheet of legal pad paper were the following: I’m afraid no one is ever going to truly love me. Losing my boyfriend due to my anxiety. Not being good enough for anyone.
And that’s the crux of my life, the reason for my anxieties, why I’m so afraid of being out in public or letting people in, why I feel like a fake when I try anything. I’m afraid that I’ll never be good enough for anyone.
But the reality is, I AM good enough for someone. After all that I’ve put him through, the tears and panic attacks, the escaping from restaurants or movie theaters or hang outs with friends, he’s still there.
So maybe it’s not that I needed to be good enough for someone. Maybe it’s that, finally, I found someone who’s good enough for me.