My Subconscious Is Laughing Behind My Brain


Worry has been a constant companion.

I’m a worrier. One who frets. I have worried every day for decades now. I was a worrier as a child and I have honed that skill to a shiny perfection. My worrying skills have the soft patina of worn and well loved kitten leather.

My worries and anxieties are both more sophisticated and just as ridiculous as they were when I was a kid. For instance, I have an ongoing worry that we are one major car repair from throwing our entire financial existence into a swirly vortex of suck. I’m also kind of afraid to use public restrooms because I’m convinced I will find a human head in the toilet.

My subconscious has been particularly dickish lately. Sundays have been bad. They used to be bad because I had to go back to work on Monday. Now they’re bad because I have to go back to work on Monday but I’m anxious for a different reason.

I don’t hate going to my new job. I’m just still afraid I’m going to fail. I’m positive every Sunday that the next day will be the beginning of the end of my new job. I’m going to fuck it up somehow. I’m convinced I am hanging by a thread and I haven’t been seeing it realistically. That tomorrow will be the day they have me work on a project and I fail. Then I get fired. Then we lose our house. Joey drops out of school. We’re forced to live in a cramped apartment over top a liquor store and we all get shingles.

We can’t get shingles. My new insurance is expensive. I would have had to pay triple what I was paying for not as much coverage or drop down to the cheaper option. The cheaper one has a crushingly high deductible. I went with that plan. Here’s to hoping no one gets sick or requires surgery for the next…well…forever.

Randy and I are going to Nashville next weekend. I’m attending the Bloggers at Midlife conference and am so looking forward to it. I’m going to get to meet some people that I’ve been reading forever and we’re going to get away for a couple days. What’s not to love?

Well, I’m going to have to meet a bunch of people. My social anxiety is like those Olympic speed skaters just before they take off. My social anxiety is scooting back and forth on it’s sharp blades just waiting to take off. Plus, I’m taking my first vacation day from my new job. I’m sure they will experience a plethora of computer problems all related to shit I’ve worked on. Also, the car might catch on fire and we might finally get that robot invasion.

I tried to cure the anxiety today by ordering a new skillet and pictures of the grandkids on 16 x 20 canvas but so far that isn’t working.

Perhaps making cupcakes will help.

Or going back to bed.

I’m feeling sluggish in my bones and my eyes are glazing over when I see the dishes that aren’t washed and the bathrooms that haven’t been cleaned and the projects that remain in their infancy stage. I can feel the darkness of depression tickling around the edges of my head, looking for an entrance.

I should probably find out what I did to piss off my subconscious and make amends because the laughter sounds like a scream and I’ve got way too much to do. I don’t have time to trip down the anxiety hole. And fuck depression.




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  • The conference sounds awesome… If Australia wasn’t like a$2000 airfare and half a world away if so be leaving you a message that we should meet up for an awkward cup of coffee. I’d be right there at that conference somewhere sitting with a space between me and everyone else trying to be invisible and worrying that I might spontaneously combust.

  • Michelle, I’m certain you will have a great time, and everyone (well, almost, cuz there be assholes!) will love ya, and it will be a shingles-free escape with nary a head in the bowl. So please don’t try to hold it in, cuz an exploding bladder is a major buzz-kill. Anxiety, worry, and depression are 3 evil bitches that unfortunately choose to room with some of us. My strategy: force myself to STOP thinking and just DO something- quickly. Which sounds like your strategy, come to think of it. Cupcakes never hurt. Unless you eat 4 in one go. Lesson learned.

  • You rock at your new job, you will have a fabulous time in Nashville and housework is not that relevant in the greater scheme of things.

    Anxiety/depression suck and so none of what I just said will make a difference I know, as you just have to ride the wave, but I’m hoping it passes soon.

    Big hug, I think there’s something in the air as I’ve been dancing with the demons myself this weekend.

    I could tell you why but it sounds even more pitiful written down than the reality

  • First – fuck depression.
    Second – I wish I was going to the conference
    Cause then I would want to meet you
    but then I would see you and finally get up the courage to walk over to you
    And then I would get all tongue-tied
    Then I would say something lame trying to express how much I admire you
    Then I would ask for your autograph
    Then I would replay the whole awkward incident over and over in my head for days.

    So let’s just pretend I am there, and I am eloquent and it goes well.

  • I am not a worrier, I did go through a stage of worrying a few years back but have shelved that and I am back to not worrying, I don’t see the point in worrying about things that may never happen and things I cannot change. Although there are times when of course I do worry but I do try very hard not to do so and worry doesn’t keep me awake at night and worries I have a cast aside when I go to bed

      • There’s a difference between just worrying, and worrying as part of an anxiety disorder. You can’t just not worry when you struggle with depression and anxiety. There are times when I see clearly, I can dismiss concerns about things that are unlikely to happen, and easily find solutions to problems that arise. But there are times where I’m hit with an episode of anxiety, where all my fears and worries crowd my mind and form a dark tangle I can’t see past or free myself from. Distracting myself isn’t always possible. What does work is vocalizing every single one of those fears and working through them either with a therapist or a friend, or getting it all out on paper or on your computer — basically not keeping it inside.

  • As long as you find the head BEFORE you sit down, you’ll be OK. Why would I say such a thing? As recounted in the early days of Aussa’s blog; the Pig Head Story, which I convinced Briana to make into a comment there. It’s truly awful. Anyway, I hope your worries calm down and let you enjoy your day off. You certainly deserve it.

  • Worrying is a had hard habit to break. I am actually better off than I used to be because my attention span has gone to crap. I try to remember that great things are just as likely to happen as horrible ones. What if it was a purse left in the bathroom? And then you return it to the person, and they are so grateful, they give you a hundred dollars? That could happen.

  • You have your cramped apartment, I have my cardboard box. That’s the running joke between my husband and I since we worry (usually not at the same time, thank goodness) about everything too. I know how you feel! Here’s a big virtual hug for you! <3

  • It has been a sucky week. Couple of weeks. Maybe even month. I’ve been running from the dark myself for a while. Sometimes it sits next to me for a while, snuggling up, but so far I’ve managed to stay ahead of it. If it would ever get warm and sunny for more than a minute and a half, I think that would help.

    Here’s hoping you will also outrun it and there are no severed heads or shingles in your future.

  • I hope you’ll enjoy yourself here in Nashville. I know you’ll be busy and I have no clue how far outside of town the conference is. A friend of mine from Kentucky came down for a blogger’s conference “in Nashville” that was more like in the nowhere land between Nashville and Franklin, the nearest town to the south.

    But if the anxiety gets overwhelming or you just need a break visit the Parthenon. You can see a fucking amazing statue of Athena, and people are always so awestruck by it that they’re quiet, so it’s a very calming place. The same is true of the art gallery downstairs, even if the paintings aren’t as inspiring as a 42-foot statue of a Greek goddess.

    Or, if the weather’s nice you can step outside into Centennial Park and take a stroll around the duck pond. It’s what I do when my job gets to me. It’s too bad you don’t have a place like that you can go to on your lunch breaks. It might help ease your mind about your job.

  • I am a complete social whore and still got anxious about my first blogging conference. I would have to retreat to my hotel room for internal pep talks that sounded like my mother: “You are a grown woman! Get your ass out there and smile!” You will have a wonderful time because everyone loves you (hello! look at all these comments!) and when you get back, you must tell us all about it.

    One last thing: on the issue of anxiety, check out Dr. Margaret Rutherford, our fellow blogger, who posted this on the subject:

  • Okay when we get there please find me and let’s go hide somewhere because seriously I haven’t slept in two days….TWO FUCKING DAYS…and we don’t leave for 4 more!!! Not a wink, I am nauseous, I can’t think, my house is a mess and I am fucking kicking my self in the ass for ever buying the ticket then I am excited to be going then I go back to kicking my own ass…which is not easy! My husband is throwing in the white towel if he even mentions the trip I bite his head off and tell him I’ll get ready when I damn well get ready so shut the hell up…yeah it’s that bad. I would order my groceries online if I could AND we just got a new car because ours had 315,000 miles and the transmission was slipping but it belonged to us now this one technically belongs to the bank and what if it breaks down we haven’t driven it long enough to build up trust in it yet PLUS I have to drive to KY first to take my mom to my cousin’s house and then turn around and drive to Nashville then back to KY and then home. What was I thinking? Okay I’m done….

  • I hear you. We’re in the process of selling our house, and I’ve been waking up terrified at thoughts such as, “I need to move the cats’ litter box to the basement. But what if the cats can’t find it there? What if they pee on the hardwood floors and totally destroy them? What if we can’t sell our house because the cats can’t find their fucking litter box? Stupid cats. Why do we even have cats?”

    I’ve also developed an eye twitch. And I see dirt everywhere, even where it isn’t.

    So if I could afford to, I’d be right there beside you at BAM. We wouldn’t have to talk. We could do parallel play, like toddlers. I promise I wouldn’t hit you over the head with my plastic dump truck.

  • well, you could always lie and give your sub-conscious a false address…

    (no, that did not make sense. but it may have, I tend to assume that just because it comes out of my brain, does not entitle me to assume understanding. I might be testing myself. Now that I see this, I guess it does kinda make sense to try to lie to your sub-conscious)

  • I live in Nashville and you definitely do not have to stress about this city! Great place! Hope you have a wonderful time!

  • Yup, that’s how I feel about dishes, and cleaning, and laundry and and and….

    (and I don’t have a blog conference to look forward to! That’s awesome!)

    What kind of skillet? Is it cast iron?

    Yes, make cupcakes. Eat one for me.

  • oh my gosh…I needed a good laugh…not at your angst of course…but your writing style…love it! All totally relatable for sure! I worry about my worrying! Great post!

  • I’m betting you’ll be just fine at the conference and that your job will still be there when you get back. That said, I get it. If I was going to a conference I would be the same way. I hate social stuff. HATE IT! I like my little world. And I get the worrying. I worry about everything. My husband tells me he never worries because I do enough for both of us.
    I wish I was going to Nashville. I’d love to meet you! Have fun and can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • I feel the same way about my job. Every time there is the slightest problem, I get the feeling that I am going to get canned. Even though, my boss and I get along GREAT and he has told me many times not to worry unless he approaches me and closes the door to his office (which he did once just to fuck with me… DICK). I don’t think I have anxiety about a lot of things, but my job is one of them and I am always walking on eggshells here. I do it to myself but I’m constantly thinking I’m not smart/experienced enough for this job and I’ll fuck everything up. It’s exhausting.

  • Fuck. This sounds like me at work. Every. Single. DAY! I just tweeted my desk and it ain’t pretty…

    I’m kinda sure YOU’RE fine, though. Although I’m sure hearing that you’re fine doesn’t make you feel any finer…

  • Oh I’m so excited you get to go to that conference!

    I don’t normally have a lot of anxiety, except at 4 am. I don’t know what it is about that time of day, but everything even slightly off kilter is a monster at 4 am.

    I’m sure you’re a rockstar at your new job. Because you care.

    But make the cupcakes anyway.

  • New skillets work well as a weapon in case you ever do find a human head in a toilet and the killer is still lurking around. If I could have afforded it, I would have been at the Bloggers at Midlife conference. I actually looked into it and everything, but just couldn’t make it work. If I could have been there, we could have been all socially anxious together!

  • I wish I could work up the courage to write all my shit down but things tend to take a left turn between my brain and my mouth/hands! Hence my blog with tumbleweeds rolling across it.
    Fuck anxiety and depression, they both suck big time and I totally identify with everything you said (sounds so much like me), you say it in such a brilliant way and so eloquently.
    If I could get to Nashville I’d be the one already hiding behind the plant!

  • You are right your subconscious mind is programmed for worry. However there are ways to re-program your subconscious mind to be optimistic. I am not saying it is easy but it is doable.
    You have a good sense of humour with your statement “my subconscious is laughing behind my brain”
    All the best to you and may you turn your worries and anxiety into peace and joy.

By Michelle


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