Earlier today, feeling fine, I posted a long essay about my anxiety last year over our wayward, unreliable scales, and my need for accurate information about my weight.
Now, while it’s not that I regret posting it, I am feeling deeply stirred up about it. That whole experience, the intensity of my neediness, my self-hatred over the effect it was having on Michelle, was dreadful. When I think about what a shit I was, how I often I felt the urgent need to apologise, because I knew Michelle was fed up. She was doing her very best to humour me and help me, and was utterly wonderful, despite a very demanding job. Writing about that time reminded me, even made me re-experience to some extent, that same sense of need and shame, how horrible it was, and one of the most horrifying things was knowing it was affecting those people closest to me.
Anxiety about anxiety. Thoughts about thoughts. Feelings about feelings. The thing about my sort of mental illness is it’s like when you’re at the optometrist, and you’re sitting there with this thing against your fave that makes you look a bit like a suburban Aztec Sun God, only in a t-shirt and tracky pants, and the optometrist is slotting different lenses into the Sun God mask device, and you say, “better” and “worse” until he gives you a lens with which you can see clearly. The illness is like all those wrong lenses. It distorts everything you perceive, and you sometimes don’t understand how much its affecting what you see–but sometimes you’re only too aware, too hyper-conscious, that you’re looking through a very wrong lens, but you can’t help it. It’s your whole brain that’s wrong.
You know it’s wrong, and that people around you are upset, but there’s nothing you can do. You’ve got the wrong lenses in. You’re waiting for your doctor to find you the good lenses, so you can see the same reality as everyone else.