I rarely talk about my anxiety because I am still partly in denial of my own mental illness, and I admit that it’s unhealthy. I try to function as well as I can because I don’t want my anxiety to stop me from doing anything I regularly participate in.
Someone asked me how I could work as a server while still being an introvert. My answer: coffee, chocolate, sugar, and at the end of the day, alcohol. Sometimes, I only have one of the four. On long, busy days, I take a bit of all four. It enables me to deal shitty people, but also lets me bring out my perky, friendly side when dealing with strangers.
The worst thing about busy days is that feeling of being weeded. When I have ten things to do, like get a water for table 11, ask 12 if they want dessert, check if 21 if they’re ready to order… and realize I forgot 22’s wine and it’s been sitting at the bar for ten minutes. Then also realizing that I forgot to send in the entree order for one table I have outside of my section. I play it cool and come up with some nonsense excuse, or own up to my boo-boo depending on how I think the guests would respond.None of the tables complain. I flip the tables. The cycle begins again. My manager sometimes asks me how I could stay calm and smile, after I’ve vented for like five minutes.
I’ve been screaming in my head. He laughs, but I’m never joking. I have to always smile, and use my work voice. If I don’t, I won’t make any money. But at the end of the day, I’m drained and all I want to do is bury myself under my blanket, and listen to Adele or Lana del Rey or The XX. That is how I stay sane… or as sane as I can. Sometimes, when my mother’s awake when I get back from work, I tell her about my day and I complain about the shitty tippers or the rude people. It’s free therapy, and she still loves me no matter how much I cuss in front of her.
I look forward to days I have off because that’s an entire day I can spend fully recharging. It’s a day I can probably let go and allow my crying spells out because it’s alright to cry at home. Not at work. Not when I’ve worked hard on making my eye make-up look good. Only at home.
I guess getting socially drained at work is the reason I’m so anti-social everywhere else. Sometimes my mantra is “if I’m not getting paid to do it, I won’t bother.” Of course, I am still a decent human being. I’ll still be nice out in society because my parents instilled good manners in me. I may forget them occasionally, but 90% of the time, I’m the generic decent person. I’ll hold the door and say sorry like a normal Canadian.
Because if I don’t, I overthink about the bad thing I may have done. And that circles back to my anxiety.