I usually want my columns to be of as much general interest as possible, but this issue I’m targeting just those readers who are crazy. You know who you are. You’re the people who get up every morning, have breakfast, put your boots on and head out the door to start your day — yes that group. The almost certifiable, completely nuts, they-walk-among-us group of crazies. I know many of you since I am an honorary life time chairman of the board.
The point of this column is, boy, if you have some degree of stress, frustrations, anger, depression, fears — and the list could go on — talk to someone. The listener doesn’t necessarily have to be a psychologist or a counselor, although I have spent my share of time talking to them, but talk to a friend or someone you feel comfortable with and tell them what’s going on. Yes, step into the big scary unfamiliar zone of human relationships — allow yourself to be honest and vulnerable.
I had coffee with a friend last night, for example, and at some point after we got done fixing the government, I told him about an absolute meltdown I had a few nights before. I was angry and frustrated about a situation, so I was storming around at 3 a.m., couldn’t sleep. The stress and anxiety really didn’t go away until about 9 a.m. — until I got some answers and learned the problem really wasn’t a problem. I’d gone ballistic, lost most of a night’s sleep for nothing.
My friend listened intently and then laughed his head off (nice guy).
But the reality is he wasn’t laughing at me, he was laughing because he can go through the same nonsense in his life. Maybe not exactly the same, but he could relate.
And that’s my point. You think you are the only one who gets stressed, anxious, fearful, depressed, wallowing in self pity — well, honestly talk to that rock of a neighbour next door, who always has their life totally together, and I bet you’ll discover they go through exactly the same thing. They are as crazy as you are.
To be honest I don’t think I have met too many people who aren’t crazy. Everyone has that solid outward exterior showing they have all their reasonable, sane thinking in one nice neat little pile, and the fact is on the inside they are as a fragile and insecure as a 12-year-old school kid who was the last one to get picked for the ball team.
And there are some much more serious, and deeper mental health issues like full-blown depression. I know from experience that a pep talk and hug doesn’t fix that.
But I am talking more about the day-to-day crazy, insane thinking that can go on in my head. My life is good in really all aspects and yet my head can get working on problems — usually problems that don’t even exist — and if I don’t watch it, it can really snowball.
It wasn’t long ago I needed a simple tail light repaired on my truck. But on the drive to the garage I got thinking. “I bet the shop is going to be busy, there’ll be a big line-up at the service counter, and then they’ll want me to leave it for the day — well I don’t have time to wait.” That made me angry. A second later I also got thinking “it’s funny this tail light burned out, this is a used truck, maybe there’s some problem with the wiring. Not only am I going to have to wait, but then they’re going to tell me the whole wiring system on the truck is shot and that’s going to cost me $5,000 and I don’t have $,5,000.” I was gripping the steering wheel, and dealing with anger and anxiety. Over something that hadn’t even happened. Fortunately I started telling myself, “Lee, get a grip. None of this is true.” And the story ended, I got to the garage, I was the only one in line, my truck was ready in about 20 minutes, and it cost $30.
There are degrees of everything, but we all have something — control issues, lack of confidence, self esteem and self worth issues, catastrophizing — just like a Caramilk, solid on the outside and a runny mess on the inside. Find a friend and talk. If you want to compare nut-job stories my phone is on 24/7.