M and Sarah, Panicking in a Tree.
My anxiety has a name. (because ¾ of a therapist’s job is making you name the strange things your body does)
His name is ‘M.’ I know what your thinking…’
Ahh yes, M must be a family name.’
Yeah, no. I have absolutely zero reasoning for this name, that’s just what I decided to call him. Anyhoo.
M and I have been involved for over a year now. M makes my body do fun things like hyperventilate, shake, sweat, get very dizzy, and convince me that I’m about to die.
I could be having a perfectly acceptable day where I get to do things like take big, full, breaths and swerve that 5th existential crisis of the week and then POW POW motherfucker! M strikes again.
Clearly, M is a boy. He’s that boy that can’t take a hint. He just shows up out of nowhere hoping that constant exposure to his face might make you love him. Sometimes he follows you around in the gym thinking you won’t notice that he seems to be on the machine RIGHT GOD DAMN NEXT TO YOU 98% of the time. Headed to the water fountain? He’s thirsty too. Are there 30 open treadmills available? You can bet your sweet booty that M will jump on the one right smack dab next to you. He might even attempt to small talk with you while you’re RUNNING. What gal doesn’t love chit-chat with a creepy man while they’re sweaty and dying? Or while at room temperature and living. Or, well, ever.
He’ll say something stupid like, “Hey Sarah, looks like you’re at the gym again.” And to myself I’ll say, “fuckfuckfuckfuck…” but to him I’ll say, or scream rather, (because headphones) “Yup, sure am!” Probably with a smile on my face, thus inviting more of this ‘chit-chat.’ Hell, I’ll probably hi-five him and ask him how his mom’s doing. Conflict ain’t my thing, friends. I think I’ve confused M with a different man. My apologies. But really though, M is just as terrifying as catching the creepy gym lurker stare at you through the mirror. Do you not know how MIRRORS work, P? I mean M. Shit. Sorry.
In all seriousness, panic disorder and any sort of anxiety disorder SUCKS BALLS. Until it happened to me, I did not know that panic attacks were a real thing. I thought it was just a phrase that super stressed out people threw around. I had no idea how scary and very real they are.
Side-note, if you are one of those people who tosses around phrases like “I’m litttteralllly about to have a panic attack RN” when you have never had an actual panic attack…motherfucker, STOP.
If you are someone who is experiencing daily anxiety or panic attacks that are disrupting your life, well, you’re mostly why I’m writing this. Partially, because humor is how I cope with things and I happen to find myself wildly funny, but mostly because I want you to know you’re not alone.
When I finally opened up to a close friend of mine about what was happening to me, she literally made the first therapy appointment for me, and going regularly has completely changed my life. I have since realized how many people have their own version of M but choose not to tell anyone about it. And I 1000% get it. Telling people stuff is HARD.
But having any sort of mental illness does not make you weak. And it bothers me that this is even a thing that we are told. But it is. I think people should be able to talk about their own experiences with mental health without feeling weak or embarrassed. So, as nauseating as it is to put myself out there like this, I’m trying to break that stupid stigma, through humor and words.
So, I have decided to introduce you to M, so you will know that you are not alone, and in hopes that you can one day introduce a few people to yours.
Whatever his name may be.