Paralyzing Anxiety

I think I used up all of my happy for the week.

Over the last three weeks, I’ve flown six times – back & forth to Dallas twice, and Charlotte on Monday. Monday was fabulous: I got to try on dresses, evening gowns, etc. so it made me happy to my core.I’m one of those people who’s determined to be on the red carpet someday, so I’m happy to try on anything made of satin, organza, georgette, etc.

Yesterday, getting out of bed barely happened. It’s not like I was consciously sad–that’s not really what depression is. I sat in bed and felt heavy, like it would take too much energy to move, to leave the house, to eat anything. I woke up to several text messages, “Hey, are you at work? How do you do XYZ?” “Hey, have you have a chance to look over this project?” “Hey, can you contact this colleague?”

Hey, have you heard of It’s My Day Off?

I ignored all but the “How do you do XYZ?” because I knew the answer off the top of my head and didn’t have to sign into a computer. I spend the rest of the day knowing I should be doing other things, and laying in bed instead. Responsibility is paralyzing sometimes, especially when it’s responsibility I didn’t ask for.

We have a colleague who is celebrating a huge milestone with the company. He’s been out for a year due to cancer, and I only worked with him for a year before that. Nicest guy, sweetest guy, and I really looked forward to seeing him. Then somehow I got involved with putting together the gift from the department. I hate doing stuff like that. It sounds so selfish and so petty, but I genuinely hate putting together fluff stuff if I’m doing it alone. You want to stand there and do it with me? I’m good. Not by myself.

I froze. I froze for four weeks, which forced someone else to put it together. She didn’t ask for it either, but she did it anyway. His celebration was supposed to be on Monday. He cancelled, and I found out yesterday he would be coming in today instead. Now, our colleague is at work, having this celebration he so deserves, and I’m at home because I’m ashamed that I didn’t do my part.

Depression and anxiety do things like that. They take willpower and common sense and crush them. There are days when I really feel like I’m not cut out for this at all–the working, the writing, the being around people, the having friends.

And then there are days where I not only feel like I can take on the world, I do. You know when people say, “This is so frustrating! We can’t get anyone to pay attention to this issue. At this point, I’m just going to tell the CEO.” If you’ve worked in a corporate environment, you’ve met that person at least once. That person is normally blowing smoke.

Unless that person’s me, in which case, watch out. On Thursday, I stood up before our CEO & 1000+ management-level employees and asked a question about a computer program that is being used improperly. The abuse of this program has been a pet peeve of not only mine, but my entire department and the customers we serve. So many people have said, “I’m going to ask Doug Parker.” Well, I did, and there were witnesses.

How does it make sense that I can do that, but I can’t put together a Happy Anniversary poster on my own? And how is it that I am so ashamed of the fact that I failed at putting this together that I can’t even go to the celebration? This is how all of high school was for me–this cycle of freezing and failing and shame. I failed classes, failed as the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, failed at so many things, and felt so much shame at all of them.

But I can stand up and face the CEO of a multi-billion dollar operation to ask a question that literally hundreds of other people are afraid to ask.

Maybe that’s what used up the rest of my positive energy. Either way, I’m going to be quite proud if I manage to leave the house today.


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