3 Signs That Anxiety Is About To Kick My Ass

I’ve been writing a lot about anxiety lately. Probably because I’m goddamn anxious.

I’m nearing the second week at my new job. I was able to complete a simple project for the owner of the company today and it felt like a win. Even as I type this, my anxiety is rolling it’s eyes and saying “Really? You’re happy about THAT? That project should have literally taken 10 minutes to complete, not 3 hours. 

I’m going to stick with ‘it’s a win’. I was assigned a task. I completed it. It was accurate. It’s a fucking win.

I wish my brain could get that news to my stomach. My stomach is being a dick. It’s still not over the horrendous bug I had two weeks ago. Or maybe it is and the anxiety fairies are in their stomping around and making me feel like shit.

I don’t need to figure out what is triggering this anxiety. I fucking know. It’s not just the new job and feeling insecure about it, it’s also dealing with the social anxiety. It’s all new people, you guys. All new. They’re all quite friendly and want to talk to me. Just walking into the building causes the first bout of flop sweat. It’s no wonder I walk out of there smelling like a yak every day.

Okay, I don’t know if I smell like a yak or not. I have never actually smelled a yak.

Here are the ways I know that it’s going to take a chair and a whip to beat back the anxiety because it’s ready to roar.

Irritability. People in my family would be rolling their eyes right now, but they need to calm the fuck down. I know I tend to err on the side of irritability. I suppose ‘caution’ works better with that phrase, but who gives a fuck? I’m taking it. This isn’t my normal, adorable irritability. I like to think of my irritability as sit-com material. Sure, I’m never going to play the beleaguered mom whose husband married way out of his league. No matter what happens, she makes a nice dinner every night and manages to keep the bathrooms from smelling like a gerbil cage. I could, however, play the sassy neighbor who sails in, says something snarky and hilarious and then pours herself a drink. My irritability level has gone beyond sit-com and is poking around the edges of a David Lynch film.

I also wish horrible, horrible fates on every other driver on the road. Even if they aren’t doing anything to bother me…I wish horrible things upon them because they exist.

Super sonic insomnia. You know that song by Muse? Supermassive Black Hole? I thought they were saying super sonic vagabond. That has nothing to do with insomnia, but I think it would make a good name for a band. I’ve had insomnia for over 10 years now. It’s never good insomnia, but when my anxiety is zinging through me like foil on a filling then it’s super sonic. I have been taking Ambien and it’s been great, but I started feeling foggy during the day. Then I started reading all the scary articles about benzos. I’ve been taking ambien and I take xanax for anxiety. Not every day or anything, but still, that’s a double whammy. So now I can’t sleep and I’m worried that dementia is the monster hiding under my bed. And everyone knows that the under the bed monsters are more active at night. I miss sleep.

Batshit crazy what-ifs. I already have to keep my what iffing in check. When my anxiety hulks out, the what-ifs are insane. What if I forget to pay the electric bill? Wait? What if I can’t pay the electric bill because I lose my new job and can’t get a new one because I have benzo related dementia and then we have to live in a homeless shelter and Joey gets ostracized at school and flunks out and never fulfills his potential?

Here are the facts: My electric bill isn’t late. I have enough money to pay my electric bill. I am not in danger of losing my job. Even if I did lose my job, I am far from unemployable. Joey is fine. That doesn’t mean I’m not completely convinced that I’ve destroyed his life. I destroyed his life because of an electric bill that isn’t late and will be paid when it’s due. Trust me, I make myself dizzy with this thinking all the time.

Those aren’t the only signs, I was just hitting the holy trinity of anxiety. Of course, this is the holy trinity for today. Tomorrow could be completely different anxiety symptoms.

I know this will pass. It always passes. This one is particularly bad, though. I don’t have any sense that it’s the holiday season. I’m in danger of crying against my will. I want to swim in Cabo Wabo, but I can’t. I can’t drink booze at all. My stomach has been so wrecked that even the smell of booze is nauseating. I’m also way more likely to blurt out ridiculous shit. Fortunately, I’ve had no more “Shit Fuck Motherfucker Cocksucker Cunt Dickbag Asshole Fuckstick” moments.

Working out helps. I don’t really want to, but I have been because I know it will help.

I’ve been watching my diet because I know it will help. Even though I really want one of those Oreo/cream cheese thingies.

Now, please excuse me, I worked out before I wrote this, so I have work out sweat on top of anxiety flop sweat. I smell like the yak’s obnoxious, lactose intolerant cousin who was already gassy and then ate a whole cheese ball. I really need a shower.

It just occurred to me that I’ve been writing about being stinky and needing to shower quite a lot. I think my old lady smell might be coming in.

Great. Something else to keep me up tonight.





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  • What exactly is it that causes that old lady smell? I wish I knew because I’m hovering closer and closer to old ladyness and I really don’t want to smell like that.

    Cubicles can be a special place in hell when you’re next door to what sounds like a Pinterest addict. I’ve had office mates who seem to think that whatever event or new pastime has taken over their life should be shared at least 100 times, and that was in an office with only 10 co-workers. I never could figure out who she thought still didn’t know she liked doing “pen & ink” and loved watching house.

    • When you find out what causes old lady smell, please tell me because, even though Wikipedia says I’m middle aged (ha h a, autocorrect tried make that muddied age, true that), I’m really an old lady. Sssshhh, don’t tell anyone. Plus tell me if I stink please.

      Although I know a bunch of ladies, 80-year-olds, who don’t stink so there’s hope for us.

      • Oh thank god…maybe we won’t stink! YAY! Although, when I got home today, Randy smelled like booze and old sweat socks. I don’t think there is any hope for him.

    • I’m so sorry Carla…and I’m not going to try to talk you out of your anxiety..I know I get annoyed when people do that. I will just say that, at least from my experience, it does end..or at least simmers down.

  • …well I’m incredibly impressed that you’re so sick you cannot drink alcohol and still working out.. that’s heroic… big pat on the pat for Michelle for being such a good girl… I haven’t got up the courage to go work out since we moved her 2 years ago… walking into gyms makes me want to cry and puke at the same time… the very thought of walking into a gym makes me cry and want to puke… And yes… I’ve gained 20 pounds in those 2 years…

    I don’t have the holiday season feeling either. No specific reason. I just think maybe this year we should all agree to reschedule Christmas for some time in July.

    • I won’t go to a gym. I loathe exercising around other humans. I have a treadmill and weights in my family room and I just work out at home.

      I just started the work out this week after slacking off around 2 months..it’s slow, but I’m getting there.

  • 1. Anxiety is a big fucking liar.
    2. See 1.
    3. Exercise is a good way to beat anxiety into submission.
    4. Never mind finishing a project for the boss–you’re a hero because you’re showing up daily in a place that gives you one of the worst feelings there is. That counts as a win too.

  • Anxiety….depression’s just as ugly half sister.(I’m really reaching on that one…) Thank you for a good laugh and realizing that I’m not the only person in the world having a rough week(ok two, not that I’m counting…). Hope you feel better soon enough to have a drink even if you cant swim in it.

  • Oh my goodness. I recognize all of those symptoms. For me the social anxiety is the worst part of any job-related task. I don’t think I could have held down my job in the days before the internet. I really don’t. If I had to have face to face or phone interactions (the worst) with all of these people I have to communicate with every day, I would last about 2 hours before I was nothing more than a small puddle of tears on the floor.

  • Is pot legal there? Seems like that would temporarily solve several problems.

    I couldn’t pay my electric bill two weeks ago. They sent me a cutoff notice. Yesterday was the last day. I paid but I was seven dollars short. I am going to assume they won’t cut me off for seven bucks. I refuse to stress over it.

    My sales are in the toilet so we are living on my brother’s income. But his hours are shorter in the winter so that is not much money either. We had to pay half the rent this week and the rest next week. The cable bill is also overdue and if we don’t pay every penny of it, they will shut off our cable – which is also our internet. I refuse to stress over that shit either.

    There is no holiday happy in this house and I am pretty sure we are not going to be able to get any – but we have been in a lot worse straits and stressing really won’t change anything. It will just give me acid reflux and I already have more than enough of that. When it comes to acid reflux, I AM RICH.

    I may have missed it but I think that nowhere in this post did you say that you made a mistake quitting your old job. You may have missed it, but I count that as serious progress!

    Did you ever take your fan to work?

    Have you tried the basic naturals for sleep and relaxation (other than pot, I mean) – chamomile, Valerian Root, etc. I don’t know for sure but I have also read bananas are calming (I do know they are great for leg cramps) and cherries help you sleep. Oh – I used to know a woman who highly recommended one Benadryl with a glass of wine for a good night’s sleep. 🙂

    Maybe you should schedule a time to do some crying. And raging. And screaming. Give yourself a break and let your anxiety have its way with you for fifteen minutes – at a time of your choosing. It might be just the break you’re looking for.

    I find it amusing that you worry about old lady smell like I worry about chin hairs.

    • Thank you so much and I really hope you get your sales back up. Financial shit sucks ass.

      Do I think I made a mistake leaving my old job. Well..my anxiety will scream YES..I made a HUGE mistake. But the rational part of me knows that isn’t true. It’s just now my irrational brain is much louder. It will even out, though..I know it will.

      I don’t worry about chin hairs..I’ve been dealing with them for YEARS now. I’m like an ape.

      • I am not an ape but my chin has spent the last eight years trying valiantly to grow a goatee. I just don’t think it would be my style though.

  • Change is scary. Period. The fact that you are bright enough to see this, and also completely normal in bring stressed out by stressful situations, should be put in the “plus” column, I think.

    All those other people are in their happy place, because they weren’t brave enough to make a major life change during the Most Stressful Season of All. This is what internal sarcasm is for. You can hate them for being chipper. All of us support you.

    So far I have been obnoxiously Pollyanna-ish. I apologise. Anxiety sucks, insomnia sucks, stomach trouble sucks, big-time. You are doing the best you can, and that is enough for now.

    • This means so much to me…thank you!! I don’t mind a little PollyAnna every once in a while. I mean, too much PollyAnna and my head would explode..but that was just the right amount. 🙂

  • Anxiety sucks. I wish it could simply be willed away. And any completed task at your new job is definitely a win! A new job is all new things to learn and that takes time. And you know all this already. Damn that stupid unreasonable anxiety!

    • Wouldn’t it be great if we could will it away?? You know, it occurs to me that I no longer beat myself up because I can’t will it away. I’m putting that in the win column as well.

  • Sorry you’re having to go through this, it really does suck. I can honestly say that Propanolol helps me a lot when it gets that bad. I don’t take it often, only when it gets to the kind of level you’re describing and beyond, but beta blockers don’t suit everyone. I only take them in an emergency as they do tend to make my hands and feet cold at night. That is something I really don’t need as I feel the cold anyway. Might be worth a try though? My dad hasn’t had a migraine since he went on beta blockers (for something else entirely) , apparently that’s a known side effect too.

    I’m learning to let go of the ‘What ifs’, though it’s not easy when you’ve been conditioned to think that way and I try and use a few meditation tricks to make my brain quieten down when insomnia hits, though that doesn’t always work it does help me relax a bit.

    After last week’s horror of an industry party I may never force myself to go out alone again, I share you’re deep discomfort in meeting new people and being social in those circumstances.
    ‘shudders at the memory of it’

      • Yep, it took a lot of counselling to get me to stop doing the what if thing as much, I do it less though.
        As for the party….ugh, forced myself to travel across to the other side of town after I convinced myself it would be good for me to get out, even though I knew I wouldn’t know anyone. It was an agency party for their film extra clients and as there are so many of us they were hosting three on different nights so the chances of me seeing anyone I’d ever met was even slimmer.
        It started at 7pm and with the promise of a couple of free drinks I bullied myself into going. After fighting my way across town at rush hour, which really does my anxiety no good, I arrived only a little later than I hoped at 7:25. It was upstairs in a cocktail bar type place I would never dream of going to, was bag checked at the door like a teenager and then finally made it up one of those metal spiral staircases, which I really hate, to find that this was being held in a too dark room with a DJ in the corner playing wholly inappropriate music for the age group, at a volume that made it difficult to talk to anyone. As the whole point of these things is networking it kind of defeated the purpose. The tab on the bar had run out in about 20 minutes flat apparently so I didn’t even get one freebie and it was £7 a drink, served in plastic glasses. It was worse than being at a school disco, found somewhere to sit, spoke to one or two people, stayed long enough to be polite, found the organiser to say hi and bye and left a lot poorer and wishing I hadn’t bothered. Was glad to get home!

  • Most of the people at my office work in a cubicle farm and they wear noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs. Some just wear them over one ear. I have my own office but I am very noise sensitive so I have an old network hub plugged in and it gives me a white noise sound from the fan inside. You could set up any kind of small fan and say you find it warm or that you just like the soothing sound to your neighbours. That way your not offending anybody on your first week. The fan won’t eliminate the noise but it will cut the edge off.

  • Your reference to Muse made me realize I hadn’t seen the official video for that song so I went looking for it. Have you seen it? http://youtu.be/Qr_qDnDPyA4 I think it’s very much the sort of thing you dream about after you’ve eaten some bad cheese…very bad cheese. The portly dude in the bird unitard (is that what they’re called even when it covers your head?) is like a cross between Tim Burton’s Oogie Boogie and the gimp from Pulp Fiction. And (I know I know you’re not supposed to start a sentence with “and” oopsy daisy) the lead singer of the band looks a bit like he might have old lady smell…but that’s just my opinion.
    I agree with Eleanor’s comment by the way. Change is scary but as long as you don’t let that fear keep you from doing what you want to do, though it might seem it, you’re on the right path.

    • Haha. I have seen the video and it’s bizarre. You should google Die Antwood and watch the ‘I fink you freaky’ song. Holy hell…

      And I start sentences with ‘and’ all the fucking time.

  • As you likely already know, working out is my MAIN and fast becoming my ONLY ‘go-to’ for combating emotional shit. Stress, big one… helps every time. Anxiety, yup. Worry, fear, depression. It even helps sadness caused by a loss, I’ve learned lately. Not long term, but in the moment anyway.

    Glad to hear you’re working your stress and anxiety out too, babe! Weird how sweating and beating on ourselves physically can make us feel so much better emotionally, eh? 🙂

    Love ya lots.

    • Thanks, Jackie! Yes..it does help. It helps a lot. I also have this huge flight of stairs to get to my office..and the bathroom is downstairs…so I’m climbing them a lot. My goal is to get up them without being even a tiny bit winded by the end of the month.

  • …that’s awesome (about the stairs)!! It’ll happen. That’s how I started with the stairwells in my building. Check my mail in the lobby? Take the stairs home (16 flights). Forgot something in the car? Stairs. Need the entertainment weekly in the foyer? Stairs home. Whatever my reason, barring carrying a ton of groceries or something like that, I’d take the stairs to get back to my apartment if I had to go downstairs for anything. Winded me at first, but almost in no time it was easy as hell.


  • Were we separated at birth?

    I want one of those cream cheese things now, only it would give me the squirts.

    I have worked from home for ten years and I would probably be fired instantly if I had to work with other humans.

    I am awake every night worrying about my son.

  • I am late to your post today and everyone else gave you such good advice and comments that all I want to say is “Yes, that, me too.”
    It will pass, and anxiety does lie (so does depression), but I know from experience that horrible stomach thing that anxiety likes to pack in is fucking horrible. And it is hard to explain, and yes, it makes your irritable.
    I could suggest the rolo/oreo thing could make you feel better, but somehow I doubt it.
    Keep going to the gym, despite the old lady smell, it will help.

  • I have smelled yak: I have tasted yak butter; I have been surrounded by yak incense and barely lived to tell about it. You are on target with using it as the reference for all that is stinky and putrid. I now have to break that to the Tibetan monks who thrive on all that is yakkish. Ewwwwww

    Anyway, as a fitness pro, I can attest to the truth, so help me yak, that cardio WILL abate some of your anxiety and sit-com irritability. Even 10 minutes at a moderate pace will reap huge mood and hormone benefits. Moderate does not mean mall mosey pace, in case you wondered……

  • Insomnia can make you nuts. I bet a lot of people have insomnia and won’t admit it. Even my dog has insomnia, especially when she’s on phenobarbital. It makes her walk in circles and bang her head against the wall. A real head banger…Nobody gets any sleep.

  • fucking anxiety, man.

    Though I think somebody made those Oreo things at my fiancé’s Christmas party yesterday, because he brought me a bunch of candies, sweet man that he is, and there was some maliciously good Oreo bullshit going on in there.

    Shower! Listen to loud music! Endure.

  • All I can say is that I understand where you are coming from. I’ve been so distracted and overwhelmed the last month, I haven’t even read my favorite blogs (let alone commented) and I’ve only posted twice on mine — I just can’t give a shit about my blog (and my rapidly dwindling stats) right now. I just need to worry about getting through the days without keeling over from lack of sleep (I empathize with you on that issue as well).

    I just responded to your comment over at my place — and I’m really serious – a dozen cookies need a new home 🙂

    • You are probably the greatest person on the planet. I’m emailing you right now.

      I understand distracted and overwhelmed. Man o man…here’s hoping we both get some peace next year.

  • I am spending more and more time at home rather than going out because I just can’t deal with people – any people – in shopping centres and stores – they drive me nuts. I need to get away. A doesn’t really understand it but he does accept it when I say “I can’t do this anymore I have to go” – thankfully we don’t have a lot of shopping left to do. With a bit of luck I can hibernate for the two weeks we are shut over Christmas !!!
    Sending heaps of hugs to you and wishes that your anxiety tomorrow is less than it was today until it is no more !!
    Have the best day that you can xox

    • Randy is exactly the same! I don’t LIKE being in crowds, but I can do it. He can sometimes or to a point but when he says he has to go, then he has to get out.

      You have a good day, too! Thank you!

  • Those are my three signs, too. The irritability is the worst one. I hate that I snap at people or are short with them when it has nothing to do with them, it’s all my anxiety

  • Hm. This strikes a chord or two or three. EVERYWHERE I look, my friends and family members are going through some major shit. It’s a cacophony of joy-strangling misery, and it spreads like aerosolized anthrax. The weather in my area isn’t helping. We went from hot and humid and rainy as fuck to humid, chilly and rainy as fuck.
    Good on you for not eating your stress, but exercising it. Think how much worse off you’d be if you caved to your Oreo craving AND turned into a couch barnacle.
    As for insomnia, I could write a book, lady. Landed on me in peri-menopause and hung around for 12 years. Weight gain and all manner of nasty side effects. Made it hard to keep up that 90-min RT commute.
    Whoever asked about the status of marijuana in your state is on the right track – at least for the insomnia. Not sure about the anxiety. Everyone’s different.
    Stay the course. Breathe deep. Listen or watch something beautiful or funny. You’re right. This too shall pass. Sigh. Until next time.

By Michelle


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