Heart palpitations? Check. Hands shaky? Check.
Overwhelming feelings of OMG-I-AM-FREAKING? Double check-a-roonie.
Over the years my anxiety disorder has manifested itself in a variety of ways, but the most common is screaming-crying-fits that sometimes involve throwing things. Once the heart palpitations were so bad I ended up in a cardiovascular unit for 23 hours of sheer torture. Now when those happen, I keep it to myself.
Anyway, screaming-crying-fits-while-hurling-objects are considered unprofessional in a work environment. Apparently. I have a lot of stress at work because it’s a job. This does not make me at all unique. Most people belong to the My Job Sucks Club and, as someone on Twitter wisely pointed out to me, the club has many chapters and usually meets in bars.
So, to sum up, I have anxiety at work and I cannot cry, scream or toss things and if I let the jitters get to the point where my heart beats visibly out of my chest they haul my ass to a hospital. And going to a bar for a meeting of my anxiety-riddled peers is not a real option during the workday.
So I eat.
Food is how I self-medicate. But I may have refilled that prescription a few too many times because, I am led to believe, it has resulted in me being a wee bit chubby. Factor in the fact that food just fucking tastes good and you have a recipe for a nervous fat girl.
I was getting a handle on my emotions with real medication and I was developing new coping skills that do not involve saturated fats and sugar. I was doing fairly well. Then I just stopped. Can’t tell you why because that’s just not how it works. I just did.
Today is a bad day. My head is spinny-whirly-twirly. My blood feels lumpy as it lumbers through my veins. My mouth feels like the fluff that my dogs rip out of their stuffed animals.
An unknown caller rang my cell phone and I wanted to hide under my desk like I was being attacked by terrorists. Because when you have anxiety, NO UNKNOWN CALLER BEARS GOOD NEWS! ALL CALLS ARE BAD! BAD!
At noon I realized I had not eaten anything except a single cup of Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream (very tasty BTW) since the ham and cheese sandwich I ate for lunch yesterday. So all I have consumed for 24 hours is sugar and caffeine. If I am not mistaken those two chemicals, especially in absence of any other nutrients, can enhance even the most mild case of the jitters.
I took the streets of my Small City looking for food, specifically a cupcake. Because, I am sure, more sugar will solve ALL my problems.
But before I plunged into a handheld, buttercream-topped pastry, I thought I should probably eat some other food. Nothing healthy, mind you, because I am a nervous fat girl and I don’t need…no…I DON’T DESERVE the nutritious food that thin, normal people eat so they can be thin and normal. No. Not me.
I went to the Small City Market and attacked a plate of salty, deep-fried Chinese takeout like it was going to attack me first. SHOCK AND AWE, people, SHOCK AND AWE!
After I inhaled approximately 1,500 calories of Asian-inspired fat and carbs and my belly was so full it was yelling “WHY???”, I left the market and headed to the cupcake store. And I stood there. And I stood there. Until someone said, “Excuse me, you weirdo,” I just stood there.
I remained by the door, out of the way of all the thin, normal people, for a while. Then I walked away. Without a cupcake.
I walked back to my office, cool fall breeze blowing through my hair, and remembered that tomorrow is my birthday.
I can have a cupcake tomorrow with all the calories I saved by not having one today.
And that makes the equation balance. FAT GIRL MATH, people! They don’t teach you this shit in college. You learn it in the chocolate-covered, anxiety-ridden streets!