I think it’s important, as I approach the 25 year mark, to celebrate my achievements up to date. Today, it’s come to my attention that after 25 years of half-hearted attempts, I finally live in a state of complete panic 24 hours a day. It’s true! I have no nails, a permanent crease in my eyebrow, chronic nausea and have even been feeling my heart pounding a lot. And of course, I have anxiety dreams. Amazing anxiety dreams! This weekend I had a dream that I dropped my laundry off and when I came back to get it, the laundromat had been replaced by a condo! Seriously–do you know anyone else who can combine gentrification guilt and fear of fashion-inadequacy into ONE DREAM? I’m going to to say it: I’m fantastic.
The best part? I can teach you to be fantastic, too. You see, a mere 6 months ago, I peer edited our Mental Health Guide and I took all the quizzes. Guess what? I DIDN’T QUALIFY FOR DIAGNOSABLE ANXIETY. I was defeated and humiliated. Was I doomed to be just a regular old neurotic for the rest of my life? Talk about stagnant. But I wasn’t going to a let a little quarter-life crisis tell ME that I couldn’t change. Nope. I found ways to get more nervous. And if you follow my advice, you can get more nervous, too.
Here are few tips to get you started:
1) Worry about things that are completely preposterous. For example, last night we went to see Night Train to Munich, a wonderful, hilarious and totally engaging Rex Harrison flick from 1940s. It should have been a good time, and it was, until Rex had to do a pull up to avoid falling to his death on the Swiss Alps. While the rest of the audience was applauding, I was muttering to myself, “Upper Body Strength. Must get more. Or might die on Swiss Alps.”
2) Worry about the complete opposite preposterous thing, so you can feel confused and frustrated. The next day at the gym, as I was dutifully curling 5 pounds weights, I mused, “I think my arms are looking too buff.” I proceeded to give up on weights, and feel grumpy, while contemplating too buff-looking death on Swiss Alps.
3) Don’t let go. Missed a train? A non-anxious person might be annoyed and then move on. You need to berate yourself, and curse the world for your bad timing UNTIL the next train comes. When you finally get on, give yourself one stop to take a breather, before you start looking at your watch every 25 seconds and repeating silently to yourself, “I’m going to be late.” (Note: If you want to go for the gold, trying blurting out, I’m going to be late, a few times in addition to your internal repetition. Everyone on the train will think you’re nuts, and you can add embarrassment to your negative feelings.)
4) Overload. Never just have plans with one person. They might cancel on you. Make plans with at least three people, and also generate a list of stuff you’d need to do if you had to spend the night alone. When invariably no one cancels, feel guilty, rushed, hysterical and angry that you have to see any of them instead of tackling your personal to-do list. Let whoever you hang out with know how busy you are and how much you sacrificed to see them, ensuring that you both have an awkward evening.
5) Psych Yourself Out. “There’s no way I can make this a top 10 list. I don’t have time. And with 1.5 minutes per user according to Google Analytics, no one is reading past #3 anyway…this is too depressing. I have to stop.”