The other night, Derrick and I were on a crowded bus headed to the Tube which would take us to dinner with friends. (Isn't city life glamorous?)
I'd been having a two-fold mental situation all day. I was paranoid and feeling anxious, but at the same time I knew that my anxieties were false because I'd completely made up the very thing I was so worried about. Like completely. As in it didn't exist and I'd pulled it out of some weird, dark, mental magic hat.
I asked D if he ever made anything up then thought about it so much, convinced himself of it so thoroughly, that it felt true. Hand to god, he said sometimes he imagines a zombie invasion so real that he feels like he's on the cusp of a major disaster.
(Insert quippy comment about the differences between men and women here.)
The thing is, as unfound as D's worries seemed (sorry), I had no room to talk – mine were just as off the wall. For whatever reason that Friday, I came up with a completely false idea about the way I'm viewed in the eyes of others. I, for who knows what reason, decided that people probably thought my blog sucked, hated my Instagram, were sick of me. And the reason this completely made up worry bothered me so much was that I really, really enjoy blogging and the community I've built and would be so sad if that were to suddenly disappear.
But still – that doesn't merit a false panic or an abusive internal monologue. Right?
Like I would imagine most of you, I've been doing this weird, false anxiety thing for a while. Around age 10, I remember convincing myself one day that a friend didn't like me anymore because maybe she thought I was snobby, so I spent a lot of time and mental energy making sure that I was as down to earth as a third grader can be.
And remember The Rosie O'Donnell Show? Around the same time-ish, I convinced myself that Rosie had become this super mean, fake lady overnight, and I kind of hated her for a couple of weeks. Then I got over that.
So, what is that? Why is that? Why do we do that to others, and to ourselves? (Also, please tell me that other people do, in fact, do this.)
This isn't even my normal inner voice we're talking about here. The normal inner voice is constantly making up worries and things to panic about, and is particularly active at 4am on weekdays and around 6:30am on Saturdays. That's just my normal inner gal, reminding me about life insurance and incomplete paperwork and people I should be pitching stories to.
But this inner voice? This is my Birdman – the one who tells me I'm not good enough; the one who tells me that people don't like me. And it's crap, it's totally fake. But it's still there.
Luckily my inner Birdman passes with time. Come Saturday, my self worth rose again and I was back to my regular early morning mental Olympics of overthinking about whether to buy eco-friendly laundry detergent vs. regular, and other things.
Now the only thing we have to worry about is a zombie invasion.