Monday, March 03, 2008


I feel like I've already talked to everybody who reads this blog about this, but I've felt a need to write about it so that I can stop forgetting who I've told, at least. I saw an ad in the weekly a few months ago about a study through a local university about something called "generalized anxiety disorder" and Tabitha and I both thought the description sounded remarkably like me. Basically, you worry all the time about a lot of different things, big and little, and it impacts your ability to be happy and get stuff done and relate to people. After doing a bunch of interviews and filling out countless "how do you feel when..." worksheets, I've been admitted into the study, which earns me four free months of therapy. Which is awesome. I had a primary diagnosis of the lowest admissible level of GAD, with a secondary diagnosis of the lowest level of social anxiety.
All of this has led to a lot of thought on my part, naturally. It's kind of a weird feeling for me to actually be diagnosed with these things; on one hand, it's not exactly a surprise, but on the other it's odd to have a professional opinion that something is amiss. I think there's a certain amount of cultural cachet involved in saying the equivalent of "I'm all stressed out all the time!" but it's an entirely different thing to have somebody agree with you. The interviews were totally bizarre too, because I felt like I was competing to be the most anxious person possible. Normally in a competition-type setting, you'd be trying to do your best, show off your talents or whatnot, but this essentially felt like a contest to be the most fucked up (or at least admissibly fucked up). So I feel like I won something, but it's kind of a bittersweet victory.
I had my first session last week. We mapped my stress cycle, or at least one of the ways it works for me. But isn't it true that once you know something you know it forever, and it influences what you do and don't notice? I feel like maybe the more things we talk about, maybe the more I'll see the same things happening everywhere regardless of whether they are happening or (more alarmingly) what else might be happening too. Brains are so funny. But there you have it, and hopefully it will help me. I have a deal with my therapist: if I don't like who I am after this is over, I can just go back to the way I am now. But can I really?

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