Joe Schmoe has flaws, just like the rest of us. He has a hard time understanding people’s experiences / reactions that are different than his own. I’ve tried for years to get him to understand that my general anxiety disorder is different than times he has felt anxious because of work. He tried to understand, but his reactions to when I felt pretty much paralyzed because of my anxiety showed he didn’t get it. This summer, I explained what happens when the anxiety hits. That I want to hide under the covers. I can’t stop thinking about it. I lose sleep. It interferes with things I enjoy. One Christmas was ruined because I was worried students’ parents would be mad that I got them Christmas presents. That the anxiety is usually caused or triggered by mundane things. Things that I intellectually know are not big deals. Things that I know what to do or say, but am really freaked out/scared/worried about doing. That I have to imagine putting those worries in a box, locking it, putting on the top shelf and locking the door and then giving the keys to someone I trust. And I have to remind myself of that vision often.
I explained this because of my anxiety over dealing with my homeowners insurance with the flood, arguing over warranties, trying to get my account right with the internet company that didn’t put my account on vacation as asked, and trying to negotiate a better deal for my satellite tv. That those things all at once, had me wanting to run for the covers. No amount of “listening to him” do it would help for future circumstances because I already knew the basic things to say. That didn’t make the anxiety go away. It didn’t make my belief that such representatives tend to listen to men better than women go away. It didn’t make my worries about money and being screwed over disappear. He worked on the things I was stressed about, but I still didn’t think he got it completely.
With my dish washer problem, I was getting pretty frustrated. I e-mailed my Joe Schmoe about some Labor Day ads on appliances I saw in the paper and asked his advice about which way to go. Before I could open the e-mail which said I should go into Lowe’s, see if they had any open boxed dish washers, and negotiate an even lower price, he called to offer to call the store himself and negotiate because he knew how much it upset me. I was grateful, and he agreed, but there were no such dish washers. He gave me the best advice he could and I went into the store to pick a model myself.
I called him afterwards to tell him what I picked. He told me he was proud of me. Just now he texted me to tell me he just told my grandma how proud of me he was — because of the dish washer.
Now. I don’t need him to go overboard about being proud of me doing simple things that I should be doing. But I think he’s starting to get it.