A stream of consciousness of General Anxiety Disorder and ADD
by Alison Leaf
It’s 2:22 PM on Monday. I am unemployed. I just finished a 12:15 12 step group and talked to a friend on facebook. I’m working on a novel, but I haven’t been working on it all week because I just can’t focus. I found out another friend died and now my weekend plans are 2 separate zoom memorials. In a time of COVID-19, my general anxiety disorder has soared to new heights. I’ve always struggled with social anxiety and boundary setting. But now, instead of my usual fears of “Is this person my friend? Should I reach out? What if they don’t get back? Are they mad at me? Do they not like me?” the fears have been replaced with “We are supposed to be keeping our social circles small. I see photos of some of my friend’s hanging out, but maybe they are in a smaller circle. What if I am not in their circle?”
I’ve seen exactly 3 friends in person since the pandemic started and my boyfriend, so 4 people in total. I’ve seen countless others through Zoom, but staring at a screen all day leaves me feeling drained and disconnected. A usual mindfuck I have is how to start my day. I don’t need to be anywhere for work so getting out of bed can feel challenging. I have to walk * my dog, but then I should journal 3 pages right? What about yoga? A support group? Meditation? I keep adding things to self-care pile, to the extent where it can make me lose my drive to do the actual thing itself.
I sit down to write my novel. Then my ADD kicks in. I should order a selfie stick! I started an event page. Speaking of, I need to order new fairy wings. Tapestries for my room. Fairy lights. New bedding. Shit, I also probably need to do my laundry. Now my dog is barking again….
FUCK emails, I need to get back to emails. I need to ask people when they can work on a play I’m co-devising. I need to stop watching “lambas in hats” and message the organizer of LitFest on Facebook when I can potentially teach a primal scream and anger release workshop. I need to sign up for youtube red because ads. I need to budget. I need a new bike. I want to sign up for this FLB workshop. I want to fly to LA to visit my childhood friend because while I’m hiding in my basement because my roommate is throwing another rager and I don’t feel like dealing with the random coked up men in my kitchen, she’s over there posting 3AM selfies on a beach in Malibu, looking like an advertisement for peace and serenity. “Fly up, you can bring Sophia” she says. Tempting. Let me google prices…
But, what if I can’t afford the bike and FLB course then? I can’t touch the money I have set aside for my Yoga teacher training. I have ZERO income coming in and my disability does not cover my rent. Shit. I should make a dominatrix only fans! But I don’t have a male sub… memories come up on facebook of me 9 years ago, so young and wafer-thin and modelling and I remember a time when I was less distracted and less depressed. But then I research how people actually make money through OnlyFans and it involves so much time investment and do I really want to spend all day chatting to randos, even if it is in a character?
I need to find a NY Psychiatrist because my Psych in Florida won’t prescribe out-of-state anymore and that last one was a scam who saw me once over Whatsapp and then said he could only see me “in person”. Yes during COVID. So now I need to find another one who accepts Medicare because detoxing cold turkey off valium in the middle of a pandemic would be rather awful…my skin rash is back, my neck red and itchy and burning and peeling off. Crawling.
Commence intrusive thoughts ie;
My family is helping me with rent and therapy for this month, but what about next month? What about when my father dies and I need to confront my estranged half brother and sister at his funeral? What if they stop believing in me? What if I stop believing in myself?
Calm down. It will be ok. They believe in you. You believe in you. You haven’t taken your meds all day, have you?
Where I inserted the * earlier is where I paused writing this. I started cleaning my apartment. I swiffered my fucking stairs. I feel like I have gotten better with dealing with grief somehow. In the past, someone dying meant a relapse. Now I am still sober but it’s just really hard for me to focus on my meaningful project (my novel.) I am obsessed with getting the stairs clean. I used to be obsessed with the bones of my body and the fat melting away. Now it’s swiffering. I am going to be one of those “shoes off in house” people, which I hate. There was a reason I am not vegan and usually messy. I am prone to extremes. I am prone to black and white thinking. I am prone to self flagellation.
I am re-opening this blog back up because in a time of COVID-19, I have a lot to ponder about. I need a space to post unstructured, raw pieces that don’t really fit the dark polished aesthetic I am aiming for in “Searching for Tara”, things I don’t want published but do want out there, if only to wonder if other people can relate at all. Or maybe just as an open space to babble. Now the time is 11:51. Since starting this, I have a clean bathroom and stairs and 0 progress on that novel. Oh well. Did I mention I started my period today? No wonder I’m watching Lamba’s in hats. I should reward myself for cleaning at all today with these cramps. I am now going to refer to my period in third person as Carl. Ok, I’m going to finally do yoga for the first time all day now. My once at-least-an-hour a day practice has been reduced to 20 min yoga with Adrienne video’s. Why can I focus so well on my “Medical Muses” book, but can’t get through “Eastern Body, Western Mind?” What is wrong with me?
Oh NO. I still haven’t checked out that vocal fry video my friend sent ages ago. I’m scared of another thing to add to my morning routine. I keep thinking about people but then I freeze and I don’t contact them. I should buy more presents for people! But what about budgeting? I am a crappy friend. I am a crappy girlfriend. But, I was here for this person. Maybe I can be a good friend after all. No. Nobody likes me. I’m lonely. I’m anxious and scared and people are scary. I’m tired of worrying about what people think of me.
We spent last summer falling in love and this summer we are turning into the worst versions of our parents. We went from rescuing butterflies to triggering each other. I interrupt you. You snap at me, a snarling ball of reaction. Like the Dodie song lyrics “Words only get through if they’re sharp.” We mudsling. We bring up the past. And then I crack a joke or you do and we can’t help but smile and our eyes lock and you are so loving, the gentle giant who stole my heart and for that moment everything is right in the world again.
It’s really exhausting being me, sometimes. When I get “in the zone” creatively, I can write for hours, really meaningful pieces and I feel so connected and it’s like everything is distilled. I don’t care what people think. I only care about what I am creating. But on some days the grief feels too much for me to bear. I have flashbacks of my father listening to Mozart and burning CD’s and talking about books he would bind. Yelling. Cooking. Very intense flashbacks. Of my friends who died. Who would have guessed I would be spending the weekend going to Zoom memorials? What does this say? I can probably write something polished about virtual grief. But I don’t want to.
Right now I just want to do that yoga for PMS with Adrienne video and then maybe binge watch all of Llamas in hats or Gossip Girl. I have a friend coming over to groom Sophia tomorrow and then, thankfully, therapy. I hope I’m not disconnected again. I don’t want to waste the session.