This Is the Face of Anxiety

glasses

Now that my therapist and I are past the getting to know you stages, one of the things that we talk pretty regularly about are all of the things I’ve avoided doing for lo these many years.  These are things that normal people do on a regular basis but that I found ways around doing for a very long time, either because no one taught me how to do them, or because they scared me and so not doing them was much easier than doing them.  There’s a long list of these things and you’d be amazed at how normal I managed to make my life seem while I never drove anywhere, never went to the dentist, never pumped my own gas, never got my hair cut.  Life was going along just fine without these things.  Until it wasn’t.

The bitchy thing about anxiety is that running from it never makes it better.  There is literally one cure, and that cure is to face the thing that makes you nervous square in the face and then to do it over and over again until it becomes powerless over you.  Running from these things never ever helps, even as it makes you feel better because yeah! You’re not doing the scary thing.  Unfortunately your life becomes very small when you’re afraid of everything, and you eventually have to fight your way out or pretty soon just waking up in the morning seems like too much to deal with.  But facing and doing really hard things is a really hard thing to do and it’s work and it’s a slog and it’s just not a fast getting better process.

Did I ever tell you about the time that I didn’t go the eye doctor for eight years? Well.  The other thing about people with anxiety is that they think they are extremely good at problem solving, when in fact they are very bad at problem solving.  Instead of finding an eye doctor and figuring out how much it would cost and making an appointment for a time when I would have child care and getting over my fear of being in an enclosed room with a stranger literally in my face, I just wore the same pair of very old, very falling apart and crooked glasses for eight years, and I ordered my contacts from Canada.  What a great solution?! Right? In the US to get contacts regularly you have to have an eye check up once a year, but in Canada, they apparently don’t require that, so you can just order contacts online, pay slightly more than you would if you just bought them at Costco, and everything is great! You never have to see an eye doctor!

Can you see how this is bad problem solving? And how good problem solving would be finding an eye doctor and arranging child care and checking with my insurance and making an eye appointment?  Probably you can see that. I could not.

I thought I was SO smart, you guys, I really did.  I thought I was SUCH a good problem solver.  Turns out, no. Not so much.

However.  Eventually even I had to admit that my glasses were one minute away from falling apart completely and also my eye started to hurt whenever my contacts were in and my therapist started giving me the side eye and telling me we were going to make some appointments together during my therapy session.  So I took a deep breath and I made way too big a deal out of the whole thing and I googled like mad and I asked Erik nine thousand stupid questions about our vision insurance and I googled some more and then I made an appointment at Costco, took a Xanax, did some really questionable deep breathing, and for the love of god went to the  eye doctor and got a glasses prescription and some new contacts and also that’s when I found out that the contacts I have been wearing for the past seven years are NO LONGER MADE THEY ARE OUT OF BUSINESS AND THEY GAVE ME AN EYE INFECTION.  What a good idea to never go to the eye doctor and order sketchy contacts on the internet from another country, anxious crazy Elizabeth of the past! What a very very good idea that was.

Anyway.  Now I have new glasses and I love them and they are not about to fall apart. I have contacts that are still being produced in America! I have an eye doctor and a place to order new glasses or contacts any time I want (I can’t recommend Costco enough for this) and I do not have an eye infection.

And now I have to go finish learning how to be a grown up and call the gynecologist.  Gulp.

 

Books I Read: May 2014

38.  The Smart One

the smart one

I read this because I really really loved Girls In White Dresses.  I liked this book, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as Girls In White Dresses, and one of the characters was so incredibly annoying that she almost ruined the book for me.

39.  The Museum of Intangible Things

museum of intangible

I liked this.  It was a little weird.  Think “The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cake”, lite.  If you hated that book, I don’t think this book is for you.  But this was definitely some of the better YAF I have read in awhile and one of the better books I read this month.

40.  Young God

young god

Well this isn’t light reading, let’s put it that way.  If you liked Salvage the Bones or Winter’s Bone, it reminded me a little of that, although those were better.  I’d say this was uneven.  I am glad I read it, and I made Erik read it, which means I thought it was interesting and I wanted to talk about it with someone, but we both had some issues with it.  And it’s not for the easily upset – the main character is 13 years old and is doing a great deal of things 13 year olds should not be doing.

41.  Since You’ve Been Gone

since you've been gone

So these two girls are best friends and one of them leaves with no explanation except a letter telling the other one to do a list of stuff.  Which is all well and good except that the girl is who left behind is such an incredible dud that this boring list of boring dud type activities throws her into a complete tizzy. I mean, who wouldn’t have their world ROCKED by picking an apple IN AN APPLE ORCHARD?! I know, crazy pants.  The second problem is that the reason that the other girl left is a GIANT SUPER DUPER EXCITING MYSTERY and then turns out to be an extremely stupid reason for anyone to disappear and to never talk to their best friend again.  Not a fan of this dreck.

42.  We Were Liars

we were liars

This was no Frankie Landau-Banks, I’ll tell you that.  I mean, it was fine, but FLB was a MASTERPIECE, and this is two hundred pages of overwrought foreshadowing and super obvious melodrama.

43.  What I Thought Was True

what I thought was true

I read her first book (My Life Next Door) and was underwhelmed.  It was fine, very Sarah Dessen Lite.  But I REALLY liked this book.  Really really a lot.  Like, I’d read it again.  There was a slightly stupid plot point that you have to be able to ignore, but otherwise it really is a great summer YAF romance.  My favorite book of the month.

44.  Boy, Snow, Bird

boy snow bird

Hmmm.  This was interesting, and enjoyably weird in that flowery overwritten sultry style that I always like, but the ending was ROTTEN.  Seriously seriously bizarre and jarring and super creepily written.

45.  City of Heavenly Fire

city of heavenly fire

I mean, I read the first five, I had to read this one, but perhaps it did not need to be 752 pages long.  Everything wrapped up satisfactorily, but I still think there are better books in the series.  It was so drawn out.  Also,

 

SPOILER ALERT:

 

 

 

props to Cassandra Clare for promoting safe sex and all that but seriously? Your character brings a condom to a demon realm? Just have some unsafe sex and leave me with my illusions.  YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL ME ABOUT THE FOIL CRINKLING IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE THAT IS ACTUALLY HELL.

 

 

 

Spoiler Ended.

 

46.  All the Summer Girls

all the summer girls

I wanted to like this but in reality by two thirds of the way through this book all three of these ladies could have drowned in the ocean off the Jersey Shore and I still would have yawned because that’s how boring they were.