The first time I heard I had a good poker face was in Grade 11 human geography class. The tables were situated in a horse shoe around the instructor, so she could see each of us clearly. I was starring at her as she talked, as there was nothing on the projector and taking notes wasn’t necessary at the moment. Her eyes caught mine and she stopped mid-sentences. “Meaghan, I can’t tell if you’re angry and hating this or if you’re just really into what I’m saying.” Everyone looked at me and I was so glad the lights were dimmed because I could feel my cheeks burning.
I use this poker face to my advantage when being hilarious, playing tricks on my friends and trying to convince my partner that I spent the day at the casino with my mum.
I didn’t realize that I’m a master at using it to hide my anxiety until a friend told me over tea this past summer that she didn’t know when I was anxious because I hid it so well. Behind anger.
Shedding that anger, I still hide it well, apparently.
I started a new med last weekend right before driving to Calgary with my mum for a week visit with her and my pops. The first few days were fine, and then suddenly I tripped balls. I felt high, but without the fun stuff. I was hyper-aware of my surroundings, jumpy and antsy. My head felt bloated, yet light.
I couldn’t wait to get away from my parents because I couldn’t imagine what I looked like to them. Relieved when they went to bed at 9:30, I started researching the drug and my reactions. Mostly, I was worried about my mania. After a panicked call to my partner in which I told him I was pretty sure the drug had kickstarted bipolar disorder (as I’d read it could do) or an extreme mania that I’d never sleep through, I calmed down.
Obviously, I didn’t take the drug the next day, but instead called my dear doc to let her know.
Later in the day, I told my mum about the conversation I’d had with my partner the night before and laughing at my paranoia. “I didn’t know it was that bad,” she said. “You were acting normal to me.”
Since starting to be public about what’s going on with me, so many people have told me about their own anxiety disorders. These were all people who I never would have guessed had issues. Some mentioned highly anxious moments we’d shared together, although I didn’t notice they had the same internal panic as I did at that time.
It’s a good reminder that you never know what someone else is going through, even when they’re standing right in front of you. I could start to have a panic attack in front of you, and you might not even realize that’s why I run out of the room without an explanation.
This week on Rambling’s of an Anxious Mess, I’m getting super real and talking about how shitty I’m starting to feel about myself for having mental health issues.
I’m fucked. I’m crazy. I’m insane. All things I’ve told myself in the last week, and I hate it. But, what I’ve learned from the above experiences is, I can sure hide it well from you.