One of the fun things about my life, much like Back to the Future, are the paradoxes I encounter daily. These paradoxes typically involve my anxiety causing all my worst fears to come true. That’s right, my own anxiety, that I adopted as a child, causes the EXACT things to happen that I want to avoid at ALL costs. I’m basically my anxiety’s foster parent and yet, it creates this strange nightmare world where paradoxes occur regularly. Such ungratefulness! No good deed goes unpunished!
Here’s a fun example of an anxiety “paradox”: when I’m trying to sleep and know I need to get sleep to maintain a well ordered life, I get anxiety about sleep and then I can’t sleep because I have anxiety about the fact that I might not be able to sleep. What?! Yes, that’s what I said too. It’s some sort of paradox in the space-time continuum. This happens regularly when I have to get up at a set time the next day. I’ll be lying in bed, thinking: I really need to get some sleep because tomorrow’s a big day! Then because I’m afraid or anxious about not getting enough sleep, I lay there WIDE AWAKE with scattered crazy thoughts!! Why in the hell would someone do that to themselves? It’s totally crazy and yet…here I am! Living proof that our minds don’t always want what’s best for us. In fact, our own minds may be our worst enemies! (Our minds HATE US!! And are actively wishing us ill will!)
So, when this fun paradox happens, I get sleep performance anxiety. I can’t perform!! It’s so embarrassing when you’re trying to sleep and you think it’s gonna happen and everything’s going right! Eyes are closed! Bed is warm! Almost to the big moment! But when you get there, you freeze up and can’t perform! Meanwhile, your loving spouse is lying next to you and has fallen asleep within seconds. BASTARD! It’s the worst when you know you only have like an hour of sleep left before your alarm…good god, the pressure! MUST SLEEP!! MUST SLEEP!! FAILING!!
This falling asleep quickly business (god what an awesome business to be in! I’d want to be CEO!) makes me begin to question what’s happening in the minds of other people. Apparently their minds do not create paradoxes whereby they themselves cause bad things to happen to themselves that they’d best like to avoid. Apparently these people have “normal” thought patterns. Huh?
I imagine their minds are like some sort of slow underhand pitch in baseball. It’s gauranteed for success. It’s slow, you’re meant to be able to deal with these thoughts reasonably well and you’ll probably get a
touchdown homerun. In fact, their minds may be like T-Ball and they are Babe Ruth. It’s all home runs baby!
For special folks, like myself, we of the
fucked up complex minds/thoughts/emotions, we’re getting fast balls thrown at us repeatedly. Most of them are not even aimed over the plate but are thrown wildly and at random. They’re winging at us at outrageous speeds and most of the balls hit the poor batter in the thigh, shoulder, helmet (thank god we’re almost always wearing helmets to avoid brain damage or else we’d be in worse shape than we are now!). In addition these pitches are NOT meant for success. You’re not even likely to make it to 1st base. You will certainly not score.
Now compare the mind of the sleeper who went to sleep quickly and the poor person staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning, unable to sleep. Aweseome, right? How much do you think the awake person resents the asleep person’s mind? Yes, that’s right, I often resent Mr. VS’s mind because it must be so EASY in there! T- Ball!!! Meanwhile, I have so many hang-ups and issues, it’s not even funny. My mind is SO HARD!!
I think what it is, is that having a non-negotiable schedule (i.e. work in general) gives me anxiety. The fact that I have to get up at a certain time and am expected to be at work with a smile on my face regardless of any sleep issues (or other issues), makes me a crazy person. I tie myself up in knots, mentally over the fact that I must get up, I am expected somewhere, I don’t have a choice. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that I’ve completely divorced money from my job and just see my job as a nuisance, meant to make me lose sleep.
I’ve come to believe that some nice money fairy (my money godmother?) deposits money (my allowance) into my bank account every 2 weeks. Maybe I forgot that I’m extraordinarily rich and my accountant puts money into my account? I don’t know! So…my job seems like some kind of penance I must pay. Like some big meanie in the sky said…WORK!!! Maybe? Why do I go there again? I can’t remember, but I can’t seem to escape either. It’s like some sort of contract with the devil. What do I get out of this arrangement again? I’ve forgotten… Hmmm….
AND it’s true what they say about sleep deprivation! If you don’t sleep well, especially for days on end, you are NOT performing at your best, emotionally, mentally, physically, etc. It’s actually really scary because you’re like a drunk person! ( Are you picturing me, drunk at work everyday? Yup. No, stop that!!)
Plus, in addition to racing thoughts that keep me awake (writing blog posts dammit!), I also can’t sleep if there are any disturbances. I’m SO SENSITIVE!! If I have a stomach ache, no sleep, back ache, no sleep, too much moonlight in the room, no sleep, too hot, no sleep, something to worry about, no sleep, cats meowing loudly outside the door, no sleep. And there’s another reason to force sleep because I know if I don’t sleep well, I’ll be an emotional wreck the next day, losing my shit, left and right, unable to handle certain people or circumstances with even a shred of grace and YET because I’m afraid of this happening, I cannot sleep WHICH MEANS IT COMES TRUE!! The next day I’m losing my shit, left and right!! LEFT AND RIGHT people!!
YEA!!! I’ve given myself a new anxiety! CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER!!! Clap for me bitches!
It seems like having anxiety is like riding a bike, you never forget how to make new anxieties! And when you hop onto a new anxiety and take it for a spin, you remember how it goes, intuitively, and you get really really good at riding that new anxiety. Blessed be the people who have never learned to ride an anxiety bike!! It’s so foreign to their minds that they wouldn’t even know where to start, they’d look at it and be like…my fears go where? How do I propel this thing? Racing thoughts? My fears come true? I thought we didn’t want that? Huh? I’m confused. Those of us already well-versed, can really pick up any new thing at any time. It’s like making new anxieties is our job and we’re very very good at what we do.
So…what can you learn from me here? What’s the fun take-away?
Control is futile.
However, knowing control is futile and using it as a mantra is not enough to stop the mind from believing that control is 100% achievable. My mind fully believes that it can force sleep by getting anxious about it, despite numerous occasions that point to the opposite. My mind just won’t RELAX GODDAMNIT!!
My mind is an evil sleep dictator, ruling over my life with an iron
fist pillow. If my mind were a government, I’d be living under Stalin. My mind believes that it can do whatever it sets its mind to, including making all my worst fears come true. And it’s RIGHT!!
My mind is an evil rock star and is so successful at what it does, it’s blowing away billionaires and CEOs except without any actual cash. See, afterall, I am #Winning #Winning #Winning! Should I take to Facebook to proclaim how amazing my life is? I think yes.