Let’s talk about Anxiety.
First of all, as successfully evolved humans, we all have some. That’s why we’re alive and the unsuccessful models that preceded us are not. When a strange silence fell over the forest, our ancestors tensed and slid into the shadows just in case; we are the descendants of those who, when confronted with a new thing, let someone else try it first in case it was just a fancy new way to die horribly.
What we call anxiety is just our poor highly-evolved brains trying desperately to keep us alive in a world that’s not actually trying to kill us anymore.
I did a thing and my anxiety, I know, was making it waaaay harder than it needed to be to do the thing. Because that’s her job in my life—to hover nearby and wring her hands and alternate between whispering what-if’s and shrieking all the reasons I can’t and shouldn’t.
Oh, yeah. I refer to it as a whole ‘nother entity in my brain. Which makes sense when you think about it—it doesn’t belong there anymore, and the actual best advice I’ve gotten for coping (from an actual therapist) was to talk to it. It’s basically like having an unreasonable roommate with an ironclad lease; you can’t evict the cunt because Laws, you can’t move because it’s actually your parents’ condo but they agreed to do an under-the-table rent-to-own agreement with you where all your rent goes to pay the mortgage that’s technically in their name but then you’ll own the condo in 15 years which will be just such a great start for you and your by-then spouse—assuming you’ve got rid of this craptastical roommate by then, of course—and you’re not going to walk away from all that and ask your parents to sell the place just to get away from literally the worst human ever so you contemplate burning it down and absconding with the insurance money but did you remember to get renter’s insurance?
Anyway, it’s sort of like that.
And I’m aware that my Anxiety was making the thing—asking for something I wanted at work—a bigger deal than it should have been. I mean, asking for what I want is already difficult for me because of personal baggage but this was an uphill battle.
ME: I’m supposed to go talk to Trisha about it. Apparently she’s the only one who can make it happen. (slumps)
FRIEND: (shrugs) So go talk to her.
ANXIETY: OH MY GOD DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS TERRIBLE ADVICE!
ME: (blank stare)
FRIEND: What’s the worst she can say?
ANXIETY: SHE CAN FIRE YOU! TELL YOU SHE HATES EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU AND YOU’LL NEVER WORK AT ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!
FRIEND: I mean… she could say no.
ANXIETY: (quietly) Oh my god… I mean… I thought it, but I wasn’t gonna say it. If she thinks it, then that’s obviously the most likely outcome. That’s it. You’re not going.
ME: She could say No, and also you’re fired because I hate you.
ANXIETY: WHICH IS WHY YOU’RE NOT GOING!
FRIEND: (nods) That’s true. She’s really random like that. But that won’t happen!
ANXIETY: WHO IS THIS IDIOT AND WHY ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH HER?!
ME: (shakes head) I’ll think about it.
FRIEND: Well, do it quick. It’s not gonna get any easier. (leaves)
ANXIETY: (blows raspberries)
ME: I should just do it.
ANXIETY: But you won’t.
ME: I should just go talk to her.
ANXIETY: YOU COULD DIE.
ME: Okay, if I did go talk to her… what would I say?
ANXIETY: IT’S LIKE YOU’RE NOT EVEN LISTENING TO ME!
ME: (rehearsing silently) Trisha, hey! Listen, I had this idea—
ANXIETY: SHE WILL LITERALLY BITE YOUR HEAD OFF AND FLOSS WITH YOUR OPTIC NERVES!
ME: No, really, it’s not that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing but I want to—
ANXIETY: BLOOD! BLOOD EVERYWHERE! BABIES WILL DIE BECAUSE OF THIS!
ME: … wait, what?
ANXIETY: I don’t know, but you weren’t listening!
ME: Okay, just… threatening babies seemed over-the-top.
ANXIETY: Well, pay attention!
ME: Fine. I’m listening.
ME: Go on.
ANXIETY: THIS IS YOUR WORST IDEA EVER AND YOU’RE GOING TO RUIN EVERYTHING.
ME: Shit. You really think so?
ANXIETY: … Fuck if I know, girl. I’m… you know what? Seriously? You exhaust me. You really do. I’m gonna go take a nap over there—you do you.
ANXIETY: (slumps off, muttering)
ME: I’m gonna do it. What’s the worst she can say, right?
I don’t really have a point here—no funny moment with my husband or outrageous story of public embarrassment. I just got to thinking that yeah, Anxiety makes things harder sometimes but also, I think sometimes I make a lot of extra work for her as well. And eventually she gets so exhausted from trying to paint her word-pictures of her worst-case-scenario world that she just has to go have a lie-down, freeing me up to live my badass life.
Or at the very least talk to people.
 Brief history lesson: the silence was bad, the noises were very bad, and the new thing was absolutely terrible. Basically everything was awful and deadly back then and it’s a freakin’ miracle anyone survived.
 I mean, it totally is but in fresh, modern ways. So, you know… still do that thing where you hold your keys between your fingers when you walk to your car and lock your doors even during the day and all that… but maybe cut your poor brain a little slack when it can’t tell the difference between a scary shadow in a dark alley and the Tuesday/Thursday Progress Recap and Goal Review meeting with Dave and Sheryl, the only two people in your company who don’t actually know what you do for a living.
 Short of medication, that is… and apparently mine “isn’t severe enough to warrant medication.” Which makes me want to hug the crap out of everyone with “worse” anxiety because holy shitcrackers.
 Jesus, it’s a wonder I can walk upright with all I’m toting around.