I've been seeing a lovely psychiatrist named Dr. K for almost six years now.  I got his name from a fellow mom at my church mom's group (aka The Breastfeeding Society) after one of the times I melted down in public.  "You know, like everyone here is on Zoloft," she said, as if she were reminding me the world was round.  NO, I didn't know that, why have you all been keeping this important truth from me all this time?  Where were you the previous 23 times I melted down in public?

I naturally assumed my diagnosis would be postpartum depression.  Because I had recently had a baby and felt pretty darn depressed.  Also, everyone knows PPD is a respectable mental illness.  No one thinks a lady with PPD is really that crazy. Hey, girl just had a baby, she's not allowed to sleep, and she has no clothes to wear.  Also, breastfeeding. Or ritual shaming if she can't hack that. Give her a break.  What kind of crazy person WOULDN'T be depressed?  After talking with me over the course of a few sessions, Dr. K explained that my depression seemed to be rooted in anxiety--as in, I was feeling overwhelmed and that was making me depressed.  Whatever theory you like, Dr. K, still sounds like PPD to me.  That's what I went with.

But then I saw a form with my actual diagnosis on it.  It said "Generalized Anxiety Disorder."  What? No PPD?  Not even a mention of the horribly dismembering journey that is childbirth? And a DISORDER??  My reaction was like that of my colleague when she got the results of a personality test we did for some team-building thingy.  She had thought she was a nice person. Maybe a little aggressive, but basically nice.  Her readout all but said, "You are a b****."  Similarly, a Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnosis is not messing around.  You are straight-up crazy and without any excuse for yourself.

The omniscient authority that is Wikipedia defines it this way:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry, that is, apprehensive expectation about events or activities. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals with GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties

As in, people with GAD worry about actual problems that are scary.  Yes, they worry too much about them, but let's be honest, death is not a fun thing, and it will happen, and that's a concern for all but the most hard-core evangelical Christians.  My fellow mom friends who are also on Zoloft for GAD mainly worry something bad is going to happen to their children. You know, like a normal worry a loving mom would have.  It’s not only understandable, it’s admirable, a clear demonstration of a mother’s fierce devotion to her children. Yes, they get a bit dysfunctional about it, but everyone understands the impulse.

So, that's not me.  I don't worry about something bad happening to my kids.  I mean, the fact that there are pedophiles and black widows and brain-eating bacteria lying around passes through my mind on occasion, and I might think to myself, Hmmm, hope nothing happens to my kids.   But then I move on to the REALLY scary things in life and have panic attacks over those things, including:

  • Grocery stores with more than two kinds of each product 
  • People asking me math questions while I am cooking dinner
  • New items of any significant size being brought into my home without my permission because WHERE IN THE TRUMP WILL I PUT IT
  • People crying while I am cooking dinner
  • Weeds
  • People informing me they are hungry while I am cooking dinner
  • OK, let’s just get to the heart of the issue. I HATE COOKING AND IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER IF EVERYONE BEHAVES.  
  • My husband leaving forks and cups out as if he will use them again but in fact will not. Or even if he will, it doesn't really matter, THEY ARE TAUNTING ME EITHER WAY  
  • Having to decide what to cook for dinner WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH FOOD IN AMERICA
  • Kids using scotch tape  
  • Stickers of any kind
  • Glitter of any kind
  • People using too much paper towel BECAUSE THEN WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD SHOES
  • Legos that are not properly contained in a designated bin BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS THEY WILL RISE UP AND FORM AN ARMY I SAW THE LEGO MOVIE
  • My husband identifying something that is broken or amiss or lost AND THEN HAVING NO PLAN FOR FIXING IT NOW
  • People asking me where something in my house is located AS IF I SHOULD KNOW
  • Those wretched bags of plastic crap children come home from birthday parties with. Is it trash, is it a toy, WHAT IS IT AND WHERE IN THE TRUMP WILL I PUT IT
  • Noticing that something over there is really, really dirty and needs cleaning while I am cleaning something over here AND THEN WHAT DO I CLEAN
  • Toys, games and crafts with many small parts, or any parts at all. ALL THINGS SHOULD BE A MONO-THING.  
  • Cleaning people coming to my house and rearranging my African knick-knacks because it may be worth living in filth as long as things are not askew
  • Recipes with steps and ingredients. Recipes.  
  • People throwing couch cushions on the floor BECAUSE THAT IS JUST BARBARIC
  • Things we no longer use or need continuing to reside in our home BECAUSE THEY MUST LEAVE IMMEDIATELY
  • Packing for a trip and getting to the airport in time BECAUSE THEY WILL EXECUTE US
  • People who don’t appreciate why you would want to leave for the airport four hours ahead of your flight because, I DON’T KNOW, MAYBE SO WE DON’T DIE
  • Kid art that you really really want to throw away but you feel like you sort of can’t and WHERE IN THE TRUMP WILL WE PUT IT
  • Receipts that people don’t immediately throw away BECAUSE YOU WILL NEVER NEED TO KNOW YOU SPEND $5.62 AT WENDY’S 
  • People demanding that I hurry to complete a task while I am trying to do it. Just fire missiles over my head while I'm doing brain surgery next time.
  • Parenting magazines that inform me of more things I could be doing for my children THAT I DON’T WANT TO DO WHICH IS ALL OF THE THINGS
  • Planning birthday parties BECAUSE CHILDREN WILL BE AT THEM
  • Bringing in the s*** load of gifts from birthday parties into the house after and wondering WHERE IN THE TRUMP WILL WE PUT IT
  • America  (And no, not whether our democracy and national security are in danger.  Just America.  It has too much stuff and details and logistics)
  • Logistics 
  • Details
  • Stuff
I in fact can't be bothered to worry about death, disease, and destruction because I am too busy worrying about dinner, WHICH IS HAPPENING TONIGHT.  Besides, I don't control death, but people are expecting me to control dinner. And I can't handle that.  

“Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” is too kind a label for what I have going on.  I think they need to call it what it is, “Ridiculous Anxiety Disorder” or RAD.  I won’t be offended.  In fact, part of my anxiety is due to my utter frustration, as I am descending into the anxiety, that I am freaking out over something really, really, really stupid.  I love how my doctor pretends my panic attacks are somewhat legitimate.  I’ll be telling him, “So then, Lawson asks for a popsicle very insistently WHILE I AM CUTTING CHARLOTTE’S NAILS.  That’s when I completely lost it and ran into my bedroom crying.”  “Right, of course you did, because it’s very stressful to have to deal with fingernails AND popsicles.  Who wouldn’t have a panic attack?”

You’re very kind, Dr. K, but you, too, are RIDICULOUS. JUST SHUT THE TRUMP UP AND GIVE ME THE DRUGS.


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