Anxiety Is a Director, and I Have the Leading Roll

Another take? “Do I really have to do this again?” I ask.

“Yes, but this time, his blood is draining from his head into the ditch while it’s raining. Then, you get the call from the officer that your husband has died! Now action!” she barks.

So I do my job. I go there in my mind. I imagine my husband splayed out on the highway, blood draining from his bearded face. My stomach knots and my throat tightens. I nearly break and cry actual tears.

Suddenly my husband walks in the door, and the real act begins.

“Hi Honey. How was your day?” I ask all perky and happy.

I show no trace of the agony I have just been through. For now, he is home safe, and the director has to shut her mouth and wait her turn, for now. She will be back soon though. She is very prolific, a creative genius really. I am so amazed at the amount of troubling and terrifying ideas she comes up with, and the range of emotion she elicits in me is inspiring.

With just a word or picture or smell, I am there, completely engulfed in it. Not to be immodest, but I am really good at my job. I have the passion and range to give her just what she wants. It’s a powerful partnership that is inspiring, motivating, controlling, but her endless ideas and my big imagination have spun out of control. I mean, she has four to five of my family members dying every day, and often, one of them is me! Do you know how exhausting a death scene is, especially when you have to hide it from everyone?

Some people have caught on and they try to be helpful. They say:

“Kick her to the curb!”

“Just ignore her.”

“Have you tried writing her a letter about how you feel?”

They mean well, but they clearly do not understand the complexity of our relationship. I have gone years without working with her, and then one day, she shows up at my door, persistently begging me to come back and telling me I’m the only one who can handle the job. It’s a lie, of course, but her flattery puts a wedge in the door. Eventually, I give.

Then, she creeps back in like a bad ex-boyfriend, and I am left crying, sick and exhausted. So I think I’m going to renegotiate my contract. Sure, she won’t like it, but I deserve some creative control! I’m going to ask her to collaborate. Let me come up with some ideas for once.

Maybe not a “Happily Ever After” ending, but not an “Everyone Must Die” ending either. How about a “Happy for Now” ending? Just maybe, we could play out the tragic scenes with me overcoming, instead of being overcome. Yeah, I like that. Oh that’s her knocking again. I’m going to do it! I’m going to tell her. Wish me luck!

“Hello Anxiety, we have to talk.”

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anxiety

Woman looking at sunset

Dear Anxiety: Today I Take Back My Own Mind

Dear anxiety, Today I let you go. You do not rule me. You are a part of me, and your existence I cannot deny, but you do not have the final say. I will breathe through the panic, through the pounding in my chest, the dizziness and the sound of blood pumping in my ears. [...]
Illustration of woman using gold paints on white background

I'm Not Scared to Talk About My Anxiety Anymore

I have a friend who visits me sometimes. He often just drops in unannounced. Sometimes he stays way longer than he is welcome. He doesn’t bring anything except fear and worry. When he’s around, I feel like I’m just treading water. I ask him politely to leave, but he hangs around, waiting to drag me down. [...]
oman covering with hands her ears

A Conversation With My Anxiety

Emily: Hey, how are you? You’ve been kind of M.I.A lately. Anxiety: I don’t want to talk about me. I want to talk about you. I heard you got a D in one of your classes and barely scraped C’s for the rest. Not doing so hot in the scholarly world, are we? What a [...]
Woman legs in different shoes

How My Anxiety Makes Me a Walking Contradiction

I like to refer to myself as a walking contradiction. I hate waiting in line and little children, but I go to Disneyland any chance I get. I love getting new clothes, but I hate going to the mall. I need to make my bed every morning to feel neat, but there are clothes and [...]