Anxiety

Anxiety

The Most Interesting Thing About Me

jordan reid berkow strauch headshot

My 2005 head shot, which was clearly very serious business.

I know I said yesterday that I wasn't going to publish the post I wrote over on Medium here because I figured many of you have already heard bits and pieces of my "I was fired from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" story, but last night I was laying in my bed, half-reading about the Taylor Swift and Katy Perry drama but mostly thinking about why I'd published an original piece on a site other than my own - which is not something that I typically do; I like to save the best stuff for you guys - and you know what I realized? The real reason I didn't originally want to publish this post here was because the people who read here every day know me. Really, really well. And sometimes it's easier to release the stories that make me feel the most vulnerable into a world populated by strangers rather than writing them on the walls of my home. 

It is humiliating, that some (many?) people think that the most interesting thing about me is the fact that I was once almost on a TV show, and then wasn't. It is embarrassing, explaining to people why the fact that I don't act anymore is a positive thing for me, why I truly, truly wouldn't have it any other way, and watching their foreheads wrinkle in pity anyway. If you are a person who was once an actor - or a musician, or an artist, or a writer, or anything "creative" - in some ways you will always be an ex-actor/musician/writer; that will always be the way you are introduced at a party (the subtext, of course, being that of course you wish you were something other than what you are right now). And so for years, I tried to bend and twist my past into a story that wouldn't make people whisper behind my back once I'd walked away: god, could you even imagine how much that sucks for her?! 

Anxiety

Taking Care

depression and anxiety after having a baby

When there is a string of bad days, I get scared. How much time do I have before everything falls apart? Will I be alone with my daughter when the walls start to crack and crumble, when the roof splits in two, when the sky rushes in to crush me with bad weather?

There is no feeling worse than this: your own children are not safe with you.

Anxiety

High Alert

Does cognitive behavioral therapy actually work

I met with a therapist today. Not a psychiatrist - a therapist, and specifically one specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy. What CBT is, essentially: an intensive, results-geared 12-18 week course of therapy during which you learn specific techniques that you can use to better cope with your anxiety (or depression, or whatever it is that brought you in).

I sat down on the therapist's couch next to a little machine bubbling lavender-scented steam into the air and gave him my best "Look at how happy and okay I am!" smile (because, as everyone knows, the most important part of therapy is convincing your therapist you totally don't need it. ...Right?). He asked me why I was there, and even though I knew this was a pretty unhelpful way to begin the session, I told him the truth: that I didn't know.

It really was true; these days, I feel more or less...fine. Great, actually. My anxiety is under control; my insomnia has virtually disappeared. I'm stressed about various things, of course, but they feel like things I probably "should" be stressed about, like travel and mortgage payments and such. I only booked the appointment in the first place because the psychiatrist who I see about once a month to check in on my medication suggested it, and so while I paid for that day's appointment at the reception desk I also scheduled a new one with his colleague. And then all of a sudden it was a month later and there I was: sitting in a therapist's office and talking about feelings.

Anxiety

The Story Of Who I Am

Road trip in New Mexico by the river

{ New Mexico road trip with my then-boyfriend Jason | 2005 }

For about four years in my mid-twenties (roughly ages 22 to 26), I was anorexic.

Just typing out that sentence is a big deal for me, because for a long, long time it wasn't something I admitted even to myself, and certainly not to anyone else. I've always referred to it as "that time when I was super fucked-up" or "that time when I decided not to eat ever again" - jokey, hyperbolic half-truths intended to swing the conversation towards lighter subjects. I've never even said the word "anorexia" to my mother; I called her yesterday to talk to her about this post so she wouldn't be blindsided (although of course she knew anyway). But over the past few weeks, I've found myself saying out loud to one friend or another, whenever a related subject comes up, "Oh yeah, I was anorexic." And we talk about it or we don't, but it's out there either way.


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