I wrote this originally around 123 days after my ex-wife called my ex and shared carefully curated and filtered information maximizing the damage of a series of selfish and Ugly choices I had tried to hide and keep a secret.
Thank goodness I failed.
I would have drafted this in early April, 2018.
The doctor thinks I have an anxiety disorder and it is killing me.
Here is a story: last fall we had a family get together with C, her sister’s family and her Dad.
It was a disaster.
I volunteered to go on a beer run but really needed to pee. I pulled onto a wooded side road, hopped out of the car, and decided to open both doors for privacy and pee into the grass. I was in a hurry.
I mean, I REALLY had to pee.
While I was unbuttoning my pants and pulling my dick out with one hand, I grabbed the car door with the other and swung it open forcibly, it bounced back, hitting me in the face, knocked me on my ass and split my cheek in a deep, bloody gash.
It took nearly two hours to stop the bleeding, find a pharmacy for bandages – and get the beer. By the time I returned everyone was mad. I sat in the corner feeling humiliated.
The entire time I sat in the corner I felt humiliated, embarrassed, rejected, and fearful I had offended everyone.
When the party broke up no one said a word to me. I spent the two-hour drive home sheepishly apologizing to C for embarrassing her and trying to explain.
She was furious. My face hurt.
Of course, she was far more caught up in how I humiliated her than in what happened. Afterwards, she never asked about the swelling or the black eye.
This is just one of the hundreds of experiences in my life where anxiety drove me out of a relationship with others. There are other stories of course.
Lots and lots of other stories and until recently, I just thought it meant there was something fundamentally wrong with me.
It took months of conversations with the doctor for me to understand I have an anxiety disorder and what it has done to my life. One of the largest issues is it gives no quarter to mistakes and bad choices.
I hate admitting it is an issue. “Anxiety is for women. Real men don’t get anxious,” my Pride tells me.
Anxiety immediately pushes me to run and hide or fight. Hence, a troll shows up on my CadConfessional blog and attacks me, I attack back. I hurt C, expect her to attack me, and like a cuttlefish with a keyboard, I shoot ink and run.
The anxiety disorder has been killing me for 123 days. Probably 50 years. Chest pains, sleeplessness, nightmares, and fear constantly hound me. The trolling certainly hasn’t helped.
I honestly didn’t know how often this was my default position in my interpersonal relationships. Chronic exhaustion, emotional pain, and loss amp it all up.
Recently, the doctor and I decided it was time to add Lexapro to help me focus and calm down. Since the beginning of this Odessy anxiety has been the enemy of patience and restraint. It drives my internal Pursuer and fuels the Drama Triangles. It is exponentially worse than at any other time in my life.
SIDEBAR: I just want to make a quick statement about the Lexapro because I’ve never taken anything like this before. After 10 days it has made me an absolute train wreck. I’ve had three constant days of intense headaches. I’m moody, irritable, humorless, and a lousy conversationalist.
However, it has also allowed me to focus and settle down. There is less anxiety. I’ll do this for 90 days and revisit it with my doctors. I’ll be in a different place emotionally by then and be able to make some more clear and honest choices.
I’ve told people my whole life I am an introvert. They’d never believe me because I can normally compartmentalize it and function. Being around people makes me anxious. I never feel safe. There are reasons for that but no one cares about the old damage right now.
I would tell people, and people will roll their eyes and mock the idea I was anything other than an extrovert. I spoke publically, organized meet-ups, networked, and was a village trustee.
The whole time I was terrified. I felt like an imposter. That is the reality of an anxiety disorder.
Afterwards, I’d go and hide. I’d walk the dog at the golf course. I’d shovel snow at midnight. I’d do for a long drive. I’d eat chocolate cake or sit behind the art tent and try not to make eye contact with people.
Regroup. Recharge. Compartmentalize. Do it again.
People scare me. I never feel safe around them. The anxiety is worse the more I care for someone. The most damage in my life has been done by the people closest to me and I’ve never let anyone as close to my heart as C.
I revealed more about my hopes, dreams, and vulnerabilities to her than anyone else. It is why she sees me…even if her pain says she doesn’t. It is one of the reasons I’m having a hard time moving forward and left my heart with her.
On any scale, I am slightly less introverted than C but we both suffer from social anxieties. How she deals with hers is different. She immerses herself in her painting and hides. I eat a cookie and write.
I realize now how badly my blog has scared her. I’ve been so driven by my own anxieties and exhaustion I didn’t think how my writing would be perceived by her anxieties.
However, almost everything I’ve written are things I wanted to work through with her and talk with her about but because our anxieites got in the way there are no conversations to be had.
I’m not rushing to fix anything or paint anyone out of my life. I’ll take my time and work through it. After talking with my Doctor and reading about Social Anxiety Disorders I realize how my infidelity, secret keeping, lies and betrayal were driven by my own anxieties.
My initial selfishness created a cascade of anxieties creating a negative feedback loop progressively making matters worse until the crashed down on C, K and our families.
Now that I know, I can focus on the solution and not the problems. I’m done clowning around with this. It cost me important friendships, my marriage to K and my partnership with C.
I’ll not do it again now that I know.
For those that are interested here is a list of social anxiety disorder symptoms. The symptoms include:
- Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
- Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
- Being very afraid that other people will judge them
- Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
- Staying away from places where there are other people
- Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
- Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
- Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around
WebMD: What Are Anxiety Disorders?
American Psychiatric Association: What Are Anxiety Disorders?