After a lot of work, I’ve managed to get my anxiety under control, and now it’s almost like it’s not there. I try new shows all the time, I no longer rewatch that one episode of It’s Always Sunny to relax, and I go to the movies as often as I can. But I tend to sit in the back rows, near the exits. Just in case. Unfortunately, getting rid of anxiety is a lot like wrestling a knife away from an excitable toddler — it’s doable, but you’re getting some scars in the process.
I first saw The Martian after I thought I had gotten better, but it still relaxed me to no end. Then there was the time I saw Trailer Park Boys Out Of The Park: Europe, a Netflix special about three Canadians winning a trip to Europe, where they have to perform ridiculous tasks in order to earn money for food. In one episode, a character is FINALLY able to afford a meal, but before he can taste it, his two asshole friends keep distracting him and taking bites from his grub. I got through it just fine, but I probably wouldn’t have been able to if I still had anxiety. I think my heart would be racing, and I’d be screaming at the screen for those assholes to let their buddy eat his food before just rage-quitting. Then I realized I got lost in thought and had to rewind the scene to catch up. So … have I really gotten better?
Honestly, I don’t know. Before my gray matter got cast in the lead role of The Brain That Cried Wolf, I really enjoyed the show Monk, but after coming down with anxiety, I just couldn’t handle it. The show is based entirely on the premise that the main character is everything-phobic but no one ever explains it to the people around him, resulting in him constantly being humiliated. I still haven’t gone back and rewatched the show. I guess I’m just afraid that I might feel anxious during it, which would mean I’m not really better. But as long as I keep away from it, I can tell myself that everything is fine, while the truth is that I might not have actually fixed my “Check Brain” light. Maybe I just put a piece of tape over it.