I don’t know why, but lately, I’ve been feeling like a second class citizen and I don’t like it. I’ve been dismissed, as if I were invisible, and treated as less than important. The dismissed part was by a store employee, who walked by me, asking another patron if he needed help. I was completely ignored. I felt like a fat, starting to age, schlumpy housewife, that is invisible. The fact of the matter is, if that employee had taken even 30 seconds to engage me, he would have found out that I am a fat, very intelligent, personable, capable, person, who would have appreciated his customer service (after all, that was his job description). My afterthought was, “He’ll never work for me.”
As for being treated as less than important, that was from a friend who has an anxiety disorder that is not being treated. (She tried a few supplements several years ago, with limited success). She doesn’t realize how much it is affecting her life, because she’s lived with it for her whole life and doesn’t truly know what it is to live without pervasive anxiety. When she makes tentative plans with me (and 99% of the time they are tentative), and then calls several times during the lead-up to our proposed, possible get-together, it gets exhausting. Often, the plans are the kind where, if she happens to be in my area anyway, she’ll test the waters to see if I’m going to be home. If I am, she may or may not stop in for a visit. But, she tells me to not change my plans for her. WTF? So, visiting with me is like an afterthought that has no priority in her life- this is what it feels like to me at the time. She can’t just commit to a date and time to come over, sit, drink tea and gab. (There have been a very few rare exceptions).
Then, she will complain to me that we never get together anymore. When we did get together on a more regular basis, years ago, when our kids were toddlers, making it happen was a lot of work exerted mostly by me. And the entire time we were together, her behavior, fueled by anxiety was exhausting to be around; constantly jumping up to micro-manage her children. When I left her house, instead of feeling like the visit had been rejuvenating in any way, or a great time of sharing and venting, while the kids ran off excess energy, I was worn out.
One time, she called me on the spur of the moment to invite me to walk with her at a local mall. She kept me on the phone for the entire time it took her to drive there, not giving me a chance to hang up or leave my house. By the time she got there, she realized that by the time I could get there (1/2 hr. later), it would be too late; and she called it off. Talk about being pissed off. I was.
When I met another gal, whose younger son was in my son’s preschool class, I started to get together with this new friend. We would make an arrangement to get together, and then keep to our plans. No calling several times before hand. No hesitation on the committment. And when we got together, we had an enjoyable time- as it should be. Because I felt that I had done the lion’s share of initiating and accommodating in order to make visits happen with the anxious one, I decided to let her call me and do the work for a change. For months we neither saw each other, nor spoke with each other.
So, I ask myself, why is it that she can’t commit to a visit? Why does she leave me feeling like an afterthought? What is she so afraid of all the time, where she lives in a cage of anxiety? Why does she not seek treatment? I think that part of the answer to why she doesn’t seek treatment is that she doesn’t feel she’s important enough or worth it. There is not much extra money in their household; but they do have health insurance. My wish for her is for her to be able to experience life without being afraid of everything, all the time. To be free from constant anxiety, obsessions and compulsions. I would like her to be able to get a good night’s sleep, without having nightmares about hundreds of ways her girls could be kidnapped and murdered. I wish she felt that she is worth seeking treatment and counselling. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening.