Friday, July 6, 2012

performing arts aspirations

I got off work early today. It isn't exactly ideal... but then again, it was nice. (In my line of work, sometimes things get slow and they send staff home when they don't need them; it was my turn to go home.) I took my car in for an oil change and brake fluid addition (mine is the sort of car that beeps at you when it thinks you should do something for it). I worked on a craft. I read a story - actually, I still have a tiny bit left of that. I ate lunch. Turns out apple butter is as good with ham lunch meat as I hoped - maybe better. I was still hungry, so I ate cereal. Now, I can't decide if it is the milk, the cereal, or my anxiety giving me an upset stomach afterwards. I worked up the courage to smell the milk and it doesn't smell like it's going bad, but it does smell just a little bit unusual. And I have an extremely picky stomach when it comes to milk. A pity that I like milk so much.

Next week, I see my psychiatrist again. For the last time before my insurance runs out. I think I will continue to see him, but much less often after insurance is over. I'm not sure quite what I expect or hope from this visit, except that I want complete clarity and understanding of all my symptoms, and I want the perfect medication solution. Not expecting either, but hey, I can wish. Especially for clarity. My mood jumps all over and annoys me. And I can't tell how I am, I get all caught up worrying about whether or not I'm depressed or not (and how depressed). I wonder how much I can handle in life, but I don't really know. Too many unknowns. I guess I should just say, "Oh, hello, OCD, and how are you today? By the way, you are taking too much of my time again. You should lay off before I have to martial all my ERP skills and determination." The problem is, my determination for ERP feels very low, so I don't think that will move fast.

I'm actually excited to go back to the new church this Sunday. I even had a bad dream in which I planned to go to the service and then I got stuck dealing with something else. It was very disappointing.

I did not sleep well last night; I kept waking up. That could be a bad sign regarding depression. Then again it was one night. But I'm concerned, except that even my concern feels half lost in the haze clouding me in. Reading a fiction book can add to this and probably did; I can feel a little out of touch with reality.

And now, for the excitingest scary news, or scariest exciting news. No, it isn't that. Getting a new job would be scarier (and I don't have a new job right now, just to clarify). There is going to be a community theater production in my home town, and I want to audition. Simultaneously, I am freaking out. And I kind of hope that they smile, say thank you, and then forget about me, because I am worried about not being able to handle being in a theater production. I keep telling myself, lots of actresses have mental illnesses. I haven't actually worked out the factual statistics, but I'll just assume it is true. I can do this, right? But what if! (Oh, hi, is that you, OCD? Using your trademark expression?) What if they actually choose me for a part. And what if I can't do it.

Wonder what the optimistic, anxiety free view would be? "I hope I get a part. I think I'd really enjoy it. I've wanted to do something like this since I was a little kid." We can verify the history part, at least for the most part. In fact, I was influential in a certain couple of Nutcracker performances produced in my family's home, not to mention a few plays and musicals. I even composed music for at least one of them. I think it was based on some silly little book. And I sang confidently with my little siblings following along, "Book worms need fresh air... It must be stifling .. in there."

That reminds me of a time when I was out from under the rule of anxiety, when I was confident and enjoying myself and certain that I was offering something worthwhile to the "audience." I danced, too, for six or seven years. I really enjoyed dance. I was a leader in my class - and I even recognized it. I was part of the group of girls, not completely off by myself. I knew I was important, and I knew I was good, even if my technique wasn't quite as good as another girl's. My mom would tell me, "You have a gift."

Things changed around my thirteenth birthday. My vague recollection of this time was that somehow a gray fog descended over me the year I was thirteen. Twelve had held new discoveries and the world I had access to grew, including permission to hold babies standing up (my mom had us stick with holding them sitting down for a long time; watching little kids hold babies now, I understand), but thirteen brought this mysterious cloud. And my mom told me to smile more at dance class. I'm certain she didn't think that would hurt me, but I decided to take a year off dance since I really didn't feel like smiling. I'm sure there was more to it, but I took that year off, and the year became permanent when my dad lost his job. Looking back, I wish I hadn't stopped. Maybe if I was still going when my dad lost his job, my teacher would have been able to convince my mom to work out some other arrangement for payment (i.e., house cleaning or letting me help her teach the littler kids). But that is just speculation. On an emotional side, I wasn't ready to dance with a smile, and I wish I had kept dancing anyway. That would have given me one more way to express things, and maybe that would have helped. I was afraid (with my wonderful, OCD predisposed mind) that dance was only okay for happy things, that a couple of Bible verses meant that I should only dance happy. I never fully ascribed to that, at least long term, because periodically, I would still make up a dance to music at home, and those dances were not happy.

And there's a long rambling of my life minus several years. I'm still kind of sad I lost dance. I didn't loose it completely. One doesn't need a class to keep dancing, but it sure helps.

So maybe I will get a dancing part. And then maybe I will mess it up. And then, what is the worst that could happen? The favored therapy question. Hmmm, I could mess up the dance. Either the other actors would carry on, I would somehow pick up and move on, or maybe they would fire me. But at least I would have tried. Huh, that's not too terrible. So here's the scarier scenario; I don't get enough sleep, I get too stressed out, the depression and/or anxiety skyrockets, and I end up in the hospital again. How's that for my worst case scenario? We don't want to go worse than that; that's bad enough.

But if that happened, would it just be from being in a play? Or maybe would other things be involved? Maybe I'm just scared of being the one to set things in motion to land me back it the hospital. I don't want it to be my fault. I really, really don't want it to be my fault. I want to have done everything I could to have prevented any worsening of my depression and anxiety.

But maybe being in a play would be good for me.

And so, I am left with questions and fear of not-completely-rational guilt. What do you know? You'd think I had OCD and depression or something. Let me guess; the questions aren't going to be silenced today. So I'll just keep living in spite of them. I'd better go print out the audition form.


  1. Good for you--print out that audition form and fill it out, and if you really want to participate, try out! You're right--the questions aren't going to be answered today, or ever. The "what ifs" will be there no matter what. I have learned that from experience. But you "keep living in spite of them."

  2. Totally awesome, Abigail. You've got it - just keep living in spite of the unanswered questions. If it makes you feel any better - I do some acting and I have my OCD issues too. The worst thing that can happen is you mess up the part. Big deal. The best thing that can happen is that you end up having a great time! Let us know what you decide to do about the audition.

  3. Oh Abigail... I think you should try out for the play and just see how it goes. Good luck!

  4. Thank you all. I did try out :) Now I'm waiting to find out what happened.