Logical Me

It’s no secret here on this blog or for anyone who knows me that I struggle with anxiety. For a long time I was afraid to tell people what  I was anxiously thinking about and then admitting that I had an anxiety disorder once I’d been diagnosed. Anxiety sounds like a crappy excuse for worrying about everything, which is why I kept everything buried deep down (which is not mentally healthy). The worst thing a person can say to me (or anyone who has anxiety) is: “Why are you so anxious about this? There’s nothing to worry about. Calm down.” In my mind, I usually respond with “Gee thanks, I’m cured” (thought sarcastically), “What the hell? Shut up!” (irritably thought), or “I’m trying! Do you think I want to be this way? Be anxious all the time? Do you think I enjoy this?” (thought hysterically).

The last part is true – I don’t want to be like this. I wish I could be calm about everyday events that cause me anxiety (such as: Will I have a place to park? Do my friends still like me? Does my boyfriend still like me? Does my family still like me? Will there be lots of traffic where I’m going? Am I living my life correctly?). I wish I could be different – even (dare I write it?) normal?

But I’m not. And I’m super embarrassed about it. However, I am trying to learn some more coping processes.

People with anxiety deal with things differently. I like talking to people about what I’m anxious about because I need to hear people I care about and who cares about me tell me that everything is going to be alright as they go over the plan I have made about a situation. Plans make me comfortable because I know how to react to a future situation.

I also don’t mind if they ever tell me that I’m overthinking things because sometimes I need to hear that I am since I don’t notice it. Overthinking is normal to me. Recently I’ve been trying a new mental trick when I get anxious: I tell my worries/fears to myself but pretend I’m actually listening to someone else tell me about them. My anxiety becomes slightly detached from me and I’m able to answer myself in a logical way. I call this other self Logical Me. I came up with this idea when my mom once suggested thinking about a friend telling me what they were anxious about and what I would say in regards to that. After all, you always give better advice to other people than yourself.

Let me give you an example of how this all works:

Me: My boyfriend never answered my text today. I don’t think he wants to be with me anymore.

Logical Me: Why do you say that?

M: Because he never answered my text.

LM: Okay. Was the text important?

M: No. Not really. It was about what I ate for lunch. I just ate candy for lunch and thought it was silly.

LM: Does he need to answer? Did you ask him a question?

M: No, I was just telling him.

LM: Then he got the text, read it, probably grinned and shook his head, and went back to work. He didn’t need to answer. What you ate for lunch isn’t that important.

M: ….It’d be nice if he did…

LM: I know. But you know how he is with texting. And you know how busy he has been at work. He always answers when it’s important or when you ask him a question. He doesn’t need to answer everything you send him. And it doesn’t mean that he likes you any less.

M: Yes. Yes! You’re right!

As you can see, this is a great plan. What would I say if my friend said this? I would say this. Boom. Anxiety lessened.

This works most of the time, but I’ve noticed that once a month (on that special week for all women) I am insanely emotional anxious. By then, Logical Me isn’t as convincing. For example:

LM: Okay. Was the text important?

M: No. Not really. It was about what I ate for lunch. I just ate candy for lunch and thought it was silly.

LM: Does he need to answer? Did you ask him a question?

M: No, I was just telling him.

LM: Then he got the text, read it, probably grinned and shook his head, and went back to work. He didn’t need to answer. What you ate for lunch isn’t that important.

M: ….It’d be nice if he did…

LM: I know. But you know how he is with texting. And you know how busy he has been at work. He always answers when it’s important or when you ask him a question. He doesn’t need to answer everything you send him. And it doesn’t mean that he likes you any less.

M: What if he’s dead?

LM: ….what?

M: What if he’s dead? Oh my God, he’s dead! That’s why he hasn’t answered my text!

LM: N-No. He’s busy at work so-

M: He’d answer it if he was alive!

LM: No he wouldn’t. It’s about candy! It isn’t important!

M:….or maybe he doesn’t like me anymore…

LM:….what?

M: I’m not pretty. He doesn’t like me anymore.

LM: You are pretty.

M: I’m fat and ugly!

LM: No you aren’t.

M: I just ate a bunch of candy!

LM: That doesn’t make you fat.

M: And I’m crazy! I freak out about everything!

LM: You sound crazy right now.

M: See?! Even I think I’m crazy!

LM: God Dammit, that’s not what I meant! Stop jumping from death to this crap!

M: *panic begins*

And as you can see here, that all escalated quickly. And my worries make no sense, which makes it even worse. Anxiety disorders are hard – I mean, even I don’t know how to handle myself half the time.

But I’ve been making progress during the times when I know I will be susceptible to these anxiety attacks. Knowing when it may happen helps a lot more than not, and the unknown future is what causes me even more anxiety.

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