9. Middle of the night anxiety

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Have I told you I’m planning to write a memoir?

I thought I was doing fine, really, but it’s the middle of the night and I’m sitting in the kitchen, tinnitus in full swing (I suspect it’s a good gauge of my anxiety) and thinking of all the ways I’m fucked up. To be fair, relapses were to be expected. Which means, everybody except me expected them, told me to take it easy, not to start doing stuff too quickly, that it will take some weeks to figure this out, and that I need to give myself time. Guess who was, once again, overconfident? Yup. It’s as if my friends know me.

Okay, to be absolutely honest, I can’t be that fucked up. I’m sure there’s way, way worse. As I sit here, I’m chatting with my friend Stevie, who lives in Edmonton, my kids are sleeping upstairs, the husband is taking them to school in the morning, and I just have to sit here and get better. Possibly fatter. This thought makes my anxiety worse.

But I digress: there are problems. I have problems. Like, a lost youth. Do people lose their youth? I did. Or, better said, I missed it. It passed by, waved at me, gone, poof. Didn’t even come in for a quick coffee.  

When people talk about their youth, and how they miss those days when they were, I don’t know, fit? Desirable? Having fun? Being carefree? Dating? I have no fuckin’ idea what they’re talking about. My youth was not all that great. I didn’t go out much, didn’t really travel—Tyler, you’ve done a bit on me there—suffered from debilitating phobias and depression, my friends pretty much ignored me, and as a small woman in a misogynistic country, I was put down so often that I was finally convinced I’m not worth squat as a person or as a woman. Especially as a woman. Big trauma there. (Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, it’s all going to be in my memoir. I had this idea of releasing it on my fortieth birthday. That’s roughly sixteen months from now. Holy fuck, I’m old.)

Side note #1: Interestingly, all those people putting me down couldn’t convince me I was dumb. Still, after all these years, I find myself reverting to that scared girl when Greek men I’ve never met before put me down—which they invariably will, given the chance. Shall I tell you about the time I went to the Greek consulate, at the age of 37, a grown-ass woman, and was immediately shouted at by one of those, and felt exactly like I did twenty years ago, a teenager being berated? Let’s not open that can of worms right now. As I said, I have issues.

Side note #2: Greece is misogynistic, I’m sorry to break it to you, especially all my Greek friends living abroad who long to return one day, but it is. Horrifyingly so. Holidays in the sun, frappe, souvlaki? Perfect. Wanna live there? Better be a rich white male. With a thick skin.

Side note #3: Here come all the condescending folks, telling me, “People only treat you the way you allow them to treat you.” Prime victim blaming, thanks, folks! I’ve heard it all before. Move along!

Where was I? Ah, missed youth. I was planning to make up for that now, soon, in my forties, maybe, but with the latest developments, who the fuck knows? I’ve been having some health issues as well—it’s suspicious how it all piles up, to be honest—and don’t know where I’ll be next year. I hope I’ll be here. There are books to write.

Long story short: it’s the middle of the night. They say if you have insomnia, get up and do something else for a while. Is it all right that, six days after a nervous breakdown, and while experiencing debilitating anxiety, I feel guilty for writing blog posts instead of working on my novels, or editing for clients, or doing something productive?

You know, don’t answer that.

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