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I’m in my therapist’s office in Downtown Toronto, and all I can talk about is weed killer, the magical elixir of pesticides and other carcinogenic wonders that transform brown rotten grass into velvety green carpets.Everything else that’s bothering me – my confusing love life, fruitless apartment hunt, an impossible job search – it can all wait.So every time he asked, I made up excuses as to why I couldn’t bring any back. ” and then, “I’ll be too busy to find a Home Depot! My dad is the type of guy who asks for little and expects less – one Christmas I got him a giant garbage can and he was genuinely elated.I daydreamed about surprising him on Father’s Day with a Costco-sized bottle of Killex wrapped in a giant bow, a smile spreading across his face as he sprayed it over the lawn, just like the good old days. * * * According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized “by persistent, excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday things.” Anxiety wasn’t a new feeling for me.
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My entire life I’d been neurotic and a worrier – a truly terrible combination. Then, in the spring of 2012, three years after since my dad had begun to pester me about weed killer, I started to experience “real adult problems.” I graduated from journalism school and was newly unemployed; I had recently broken up with my Detroit-based boyfriend; and in a month’s time I would be homeless. My doctor prescribed me an SSRI, a type of anti-depressant that quells generalized anxiety, to deal with the debilitating symptoms that I was experiencing: stomach pains that made me feel starved but also repulsed by the idea of eating; headaches that lasted for weeks; the inability to accomplish simple tasks like going to the grocery store.
Not only was I hyperaware and critical of my surroundings at every waking moment, I also had to think through every worst-case scenario for every possible situation in excruciating analytical detail. And on the recommendation of my doctor, I started seeing a therapist.
So, I’m in my therapist’s office, sunken into a burnt-red armchair.
I tell him about my boy troubles and career worries. How my dad really needs it for the lawn, how I should just get it the next time I’m in the United States, how I don’t want to disappoint him, how it brings waves of discomfort every time I think about it.