A Guide to Driving Yourself Crazy

I don’t know if you know what it’s like to be aware of what tomorrow is going to bring for the most part and still be terrified of it. I know what I’m going to do every day. There are no surprises and I prefer it that way. Surprises aren’t always good. A part of me prefers the monotony of my life. It’s safer. I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve become more and more of a shut-in as of late. I would rather not go anywhere and risk getting injured or worse. What a contradiction coming from someone who wishes they’d never been born in the first place. Just because I wish for non-existence doesn’t mean I want to die at the moment.

I’ve mentioned before how death never bothered me until recently. Now it’s all I can think about. It’s why I stay in the house. It’s why I don’t venture out more. I’m terrified of trying anything new. I hate going new places, unfamiliar places. I hate that I’ve gotten this way and I don’t know what to do about it.

I dread when friends ask me if I want to do something because that means I’m going to have to step out of the comfort of my own home where I feel safe. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I leave. Any number of things can go wrong and I start playing these scenarios out in my head over and over again. We could get in a wreck. We could get robbed. We could get shot by some asshole that wants to be famous by killing a few dozen people. See? Any number of things can go wrong out there.

I don’t think I can truly convey how real this fear is of mine. Any time I do manage to work up the courage (and believe me, it takes a lot for me) to go out somewhere I’m looking for the nearest exits in the event something goes horribly wrong. I have friends in other countries that I’d love to visit, but I’m afraid I never will because all I can think about is the plane crashing into the ocean and myself drowning even though someone assured me I’d be dead before I’d actually drown, but still … given my recent paranoia that something terrible is going to happen to me or a loved one, I don’t want to risk anything.

This all leads to such a boring life for me now. I dread when people want to play catch up with me. “What have you been up to as of late?”

“Me? Oh, nothing. I sit at home in constant fear, afraid to go out into the world because I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. I could get shot, stabbed, run over by a car. I also drive myself crazy because I have no control over what happens in the lives of those I care about, and I have to live with the knowledge that at any moment someone I love can be snatched away from me, but enough about me. How about you? How have you been? I hear you’re doing quite well for yourself while I’ve been having nervous breakdowns for the past three or four months. What’s it like to live a normal life and not dread what’s coming tomorrow?”

Forget It. It’s Sooze-Town.

I’ve noticed my social anxiety and depression have gotten worse as of late. I can’t listen to anyone because I’m too focused on all the shit going on in my head. I have kept it all bottled up for weeks now, and I realized that maybe I should just write everything down that’s going on so maybe I can have it all in one place as kind of a go-to if I need it when I see my psychiatrist in a few weeks.

I don’t know why it started. I was doing so well with my medication, but I started talking about things that don’t really matter with my psychiatrist in order to avoid what’s really bothering me. I do that more often than I’d like to admit. I’m prone to keeping things bottled up like I always have. I know that talking things through helps, but sometimes I can’t make myself do it. I feel like my problems are insignificant, like they don’t matter.

I find it hard to sleep at night because of all the thoughts that go racing through my head. I’m 32-years-old and I have nothing to show for it. I’m terrified of absolutely everything these days and I’ve become a shut-in basically. I can’t drive due to epilepsy, but I want to get out of the house so when the opportunity arrives to go for a drive with someone I always go, but I stay in the car. I can’t bring myself to get out and go inside anywhere. All the people make me nervous. I get nervous being surrounded by so many people and then realizing all those people making me nervous makes me even more nervous. I break out into a sweat. I start fidgeting. I pace back and forth.

I’m not getting any younger and the thought of death is always in the back of my mind. I know we’re all going to die and I used to be accepting of that fact, but as I get older and realize my time is running out I’m becoming less and less OK with it. I’ve always had a great relationship with my mom, and she has always been the one constant in my life; I fear something happening to her and never seeing her again. I don’t know how to shake these feelings. I dread the days she goes to work. I dread the times she has to fly to another state for work. I have this constant fear that something is going to happen to her and I’m not going to know how to handle it.

Then there’s the fear of something happening to me. I know when I’m dead it will all be over for me and I won’t know any different, but it’s just the thought of being dead and thinking about those I left behind and the impact it will have on them. My dad committed suicide fifteen years ago. My grandfather died three years ago. My mom’s boyfriend died almost two years ago. What’s my mom going to do if something happens to me?

It’s stupid, but I think about what happens after I’m dead. I think of things I’m going to miss out on when that happens, trivial things. I won’t be able to see my family or friends anymore. I won’t be able to read another book. I won’t be able to watch the shows that I enjoy. No more walks with my dog. No more sitting outside and enjoying the weather, watching the cars go by. Life goes on long after we’re gone. I want to leave something behind so that I can be remembered. I just don’t know what. I want to be remembered. I have this fear of being forgotten.

It’s like that one scene in “BoJack Horseman” where he says, “Is that life? You’re there, you do your thing, and then people forget.” That’s what I fear the most. I want my life to mean something. I don’t want to be forgotten. What do I have to do to make some sort of impact? I don’t want to just be another name on a tombstone. I see all those tombstones in the cemetery – names of people I never knew. I wonder if other people remember them. How many people go and visit those graves? After a while when the initial shock wears off that your loved one has passed, you visit the grave less and less. I guess I just have a fear of being forgotten. I want my life to have meaning and purpose, but I don’t know how to make that happen.

You know that you tried to hide it Shouldn’t you have said what you meant? Oh…

I found out a dear friend of mine – one of my best friends since high school – tried to kill himself not too long ago. It was because of his wife. He discovered she was cheating on him. They hadn’t even been married a year (eight months.) Her reasoning? She told him that his depression and anxiety caused her to cheat. He gave me the whole story. I don’t know his wife. I’ve never met her in my life. I didn’t go to the wedding or anything for reasons I won’t get into. Eric (not his real name) has always been honest with me as far as I know. I know Eric has his issues. I have mine as well. I know Eric has always struggled with depression and anxiety just as I have. I’ve got something he has never really had though: a support system. I wish he had one so that he didn’t think he had to end his own life.

I’m thankful that he failed at killing himself, but I also feel like shit because I’m not exactly sure how to help, either. We’ve always both just joked about our mental illness. I remember one of the best jokes I ever heard — this is just his and my fucked up sense of humor — being when I hadn’t seen Eric in a while, me asking him how he’d been doing, and I asked what he’d been up to. He replied, “I go to work every day, come home and make myself some dinner; sometimes I’ll play a video game for a few hours; and occasionally I’ll stare at the noose I have hanging in my closet and say to myself, “Maybe tomorrow.” I laughed to the point where I could barely breathe.

This recent turn of events in Eric’s life got me thinking about honesty as well. People always claim they want honesty in their relationship, but do they really? Does a woman or man who has put on a few pounds really want their significant other to tell them? If someone in a relationship isn’t looking their best one day then do they want their significant other to tell them they look like shit (in a nicer way than that, of course)? If your spouse is cheating, do you really want to know?

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that people extol honesty until you’re honest with them. You can tell them all day long how you were honest with someone and they will tell you how you did the right thing, but as soon as they ask a question about themselves and demand an honest answer and you give it to them then you can consider that particular relationship or friendship finished. A husband or wife doesn’t want to know that their partner is being unfaithful. If they ask and their partner says, “No. I’m not cheating on you,” it’s better for both parties because no one gets hurt. However, if you’re caught then you might as well fess up because you know there’s no getting out of it.

I’ve never agreed with someone in a relationship cheating on their partner and just coming outright and telling their partner when their partner didn’t ask. I don’t agree with cheating, either; I want to make that perfectly clear. If your partner doesn’t ask then keep your mouth shut. If your partner asks then should you lie? I guess it depends on whether or not you’re a good liar.

Dr. Brad Blanton’s “radical honesty” isn’t going to win you any friends. Being honest with friends is going to make you lose them one day. My advice? Just stick to lying in order to save face. Read up on it if you have to in order to learn how to do it better.

Or you can just not be a piece of shit who feels the need to do shitty things to people.