"Anxiety Spice" by Annie Nishida
Growing up with my parents taught me that if I wanted anything done, I’d have to do it myself because other people would just fuck it up, and I’d end up having to do it anyway. This was especially useful when I entered middle school and learned that no matter who was in my lab group, someone would always botch his or her portion of the report and bring us down a letter grade unless I did the whole thing myself.
Strangely enough, my parents’ philosophy went hand in hand with the advice my five indirect foster mothers gave me. Mom and Dad Logic, combined with my “Girl Power!” adored Spice Girls spiral notebooks, pens, and platform sneakers, led me to believe that asking for help was a sign of weakness, for I am a lady and I can get shit done because, you know, “Do It.” Thanks to the influential adults in my life, by the time I was 6 years old, I developed somewhat of a vice—I was prideful and damn proud of it.
Now, I’m not religious, but I’ve watched enough of the anime “Full Metal Alchemist” (okay, all of “Full Metal Alchemist.” Twice.) to know that pride is a sin. Is it the worst sin? Judging by the fact that Pride was perhaps the most powerful bad dude on FMA, I’d say, “yes.” But are sins even rank-able? And on what point system are they critiqued?** All I know is that pride has not treated me well throughout my life. It’s made me do things like:
fall behind in AP calculus after the first week, not ask for help, and end up getting two Ds on report cards, plus ruin my teacher’s 100 percent AP exam pass rate
miss out on some cute oxfords at H&M because my size was on the highest rack and I didn’t want to ask an employee to use the stick thing to get them down
carry 20 pounds of groceries on each arm and refuse to let my family help, only to have a bag rip and everything spill out on the floor
The thing about being a prideful bitch (I use that term with endearingly) is that you hate not being in control. Things can go wrong. Things can be made sloppily. Or in some cases, you can get stuck with a group for a lab report and the damn summary can get completely fucked by Dumb Steven who doesn’t know how to copy and paste everyone’s notes onto a Word document. Sometimes you just have to do everything yourself, you know?
But sometimes things can be too much handle by yourself. Sometimes you think you can fix what’s wrong. Sometimes the solution seems simple. Sometimes not being able to work a problem out by yourself makes you feel anxious, helpless, angry, and a little bit hungry (really, it’s exhausting!). At one point, things got to be too much for me. And that’s when I decided that, at the age of 22, it was finally time to ask someone for help.
Beginning the search for a therapist was difficult for a few reasons. I was embarrassed because I didn’t want people to think I was a crazy, medication-dependent girl who needs to pay someone to listen to her feelings. I was annoyed because every time I looked at social media I saw people bragging about their so-called “neuroticism” or “OCD” like it’s the new, hip thing to have, and I didn’t want people thinking I was one of them. But above all else, I was tired. I was tired of feeling trapped in my own head, flooded with negative feelings and energy. I was tired of worrying about how other people would perceive me if they found out I wasn’t quite as happy as my Instagram and Facebook feeds suggested. I was tired of putting my pride first, and decided to put me first.
With that in mind, I made an appointment with my now-therapist… after a long string of emails trying to figure out my mental health insurance coverage because apparently, that’s something adults do. And you know what? Therapy isn’t that bad and they don’t make you lie down on a couch that’s probably infested with lice. Plus, I got to make my own stress ball at our first meeting. Cool shit.
As pleasantly as things have turned out, though, I can’t help but dwell on one thing—this all would’ve been so much easier on me if those damn Spice Girls had written a song called “It’s Chill to Go to Therapy (Get Down Girl)”.
**For more rambling on “Full Metal Alchemist” and religion, please contact me via Pony Express or Twitter direct messaging.