• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • November 21, 2014 in Columnists

    Stuck in the anxiety loop

    Everybody I talk to seems to wonder what’s going on with me and how I’m doing. They call me on the phone saying they were worried about me because of something I had posted on Facebook. I can’t blame them because most know my behavior in the past was littered with depression and a self-destructive nature. They know that very often I come up a little short and I come down hard. They know that even when I’m calm on the outside, I’am screaming on the inside.

    I’m that guy that we all know. I call people like me Mr. Interruptus. You know — the guy that always finishes the sentences of others by injecting their own thoughts. My problem is that usually when I finish someone else’s sentences I’m injecting the wrong words and it has nothing to do with the meaning they wish to convey. “No, shut up!” is what I’m told on a regular basis, so I’ll hold up my open hand and say, “Talk to the palm because you ain’t the bomb!”

    All my life, I’ve been told I suffer from anxiety. I might act a little weird sometimes but I just couldn’t see it. I have been prescribed anxiety medication on several occasions; I’m not sure how many times. Anyway, even though I took the meds, I never thought of myself as anxious until I read this statement: “Anxious people tend to perceive their world in a more threatening way. That is, the more anxious a person is, the more likely they are to notice threatening things around them. This is called the threat bias. Some researchers believe that the threat bias makes it harder for people to get rid of anxiety disorders because they get stuck in a loop – they feel anxious, they start noticing threatening things in their environment, and this in turn makes them even more anxious.”

    Strength is vanity and time is illusion, or at least that’s what I have always considered to be true. Like, if others saw themselves as safely fortified I would see only that we were surrounded and trapped. The enemy, be they Viet Cong or our wives, might be a problem to others but to me death or divorce solves all problems — no man, no problem or no wife, no problem. It is as simple as that. The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. I’m so smart so I could solve a lot of people’s problem but I don’t really give a shit, so I act like I’m full of doubts.

    I spend most of my time alone — I always have. I am never alone because loneliness is always with me. Loneliness makes me forget everything except the ones that made me lonely. Self-created loneliness can be just fine for me, but when someone else creates it, a nightmare it soon becomes. When I was a kid, my mother dumped me off at a large Catholic Children’s home that was jam-packed with bullies and perverts. These assholes cut the loneliness right out of me, but then here comes the impact statement: I was always one of those people that would “tend to perceive their world in a more threatening way.”

    The sun comes up every morning and sets every night. I would haul myself out of bed to follow the crowd to the large bathroom where everybody stuck their finger into a box of baking soda and proceeded to clean their teeth. I would stumble through the day knowing everything would happen today just as it happened yesterday and the day before and the day before that. No matter what I had to do or when I had to do it, there was always the long line of boys, all of which I considered a threat. The nuns racing back and forth from one end to the other trying to keep order and silence in the rank and file of young testosterone could control absolutely nothing, but they were always quick to dish out punishment and beatings.

    I can’t tell you how many times Sister Conchadda gave me an enema to purge the evil right out of me. It was the baths she gave me afterwards that kept me doing evil things to deserve punishment. When my mother finally came to pick me up some years later it was the thought of Sister Conchadda that made me lonely. That was a problem for me. For me, problem solving is hunting. It’s savage pleasure and we’re all born to it. No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it, so what the hell could I do now — stick my finger in my butt? I think not!

    Well, I don’t know exactly how you can tie these paragraphs together to make sense, but I wrote them with love and sincerity, hoping to clarify why I am so anxious all the time. Every problem has within it the seeds of its own solution. If you have no problems, then you don’t need any seeds. As for the love part, my love is a gift to everyone.

    • Donald Sanders, I love you. This is an amazing piece of writing. Your writing comes from the heart and I am glad you share with us. I will never forget the day we spent together in Winters. You are a remarkable human being. Your family is very lucky to have you in their lives and theirs in yours.

    • I loved this, Donald. It has been my favorite piece I have read of yours so far. AMAZING!

      • Denise O'C

      • November 21, 2014 at 6:07 pm
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      • Carolyn Wyler

      • November 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm
      • Reply

      You should write a book about your life. I can not believe all that you have been through. I understand getting stuck in an anxiety loop, but I can never comprehend all that you have had to endure. Hugs.

      • I did write a book but no publisher will publish it as it is. They all want me to change the names, places, and institutions. Should I do all of that, it would not be the same book.

      • Kat

      • November 22, 2014 at 6:43 am
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      My Dearest Donald, Be your own publisher. Let’s work on this.

        • Carolyn Wyler

        • November 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm
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        I agree!

    • I have read some of his book and it is well worth publishing.

      • Thomas Burton

      • November 22, 2014 at 8:50 pm
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      Don, you are a bright light in this world. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings through your writing. You bring us emotion, heart, and humor through your observations of the world around us. I’m proud to be able to call you my uncle.

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