I have anxiety disorder. According to my therapist, it was an inevitable diagnosis, as I unknowingly spent my entire life as the poster child for it. I have a big imagination; I think too much, I worry too much, blah, blah, blah.
I’m not disagreeing with her, but in an eager attempt to not blame myself for my feelings, I’ve begun to wonder if I really should blame the media. Totally serious. Can you open a magazine or turn on the television without the constant bombardment of fear-driven ads and news?
I promise, I used to only be vivacious, high-strung, uptight, peculiar, neurotic, and creative. But because I do not live in a shack deep in the forest, I, like all of you, have been bombarded with media. And alright, maybe I’ve always been a bit of a basket-case, prone to melancholy…
Read about MRSA, soldiers without breakfast, overcoming ovarian cancer, famine, survivors of rape, deadly domestic violence, missing children, plagues, home invasion, war, pedophiles, tainted water, terrorism, corruption in the government, GMO’s, drought, nuclear threat.
Save the whales, save the bees, save the seals, save the rhinos, save the big cats. Give all your money to the ASPCA while we play this sad song and show you cute animals that need to be rescued.
Your health is at risk. You must consume only whole grains. No! Wheat is the devil! No wheat! Only plants, nuts and fish. But no, not fish! Go vegan! Don’t eat anything with a face, because animal products will kill you.
Take vitamins, and additional supplements. Never eat processed food, and avoid sweets like the plague. Soda will give you the diabetus. And for fuck’s sake, do not think that high fructose corn syrup won’t chase you down like a dietary bounty hunter.
Use margarine so you don’t get fat! No, not margarine, because it’s made of plastic poisoned oil! Use butter because it’s real food! But cows have faces? But no cows are killed to provide the milk that makes the butter? But do they eat grass? Do they live happy lives? Aren’t they chockablock fulla hormones and antibiotics?
Don’t eat eggs, because they’re unborn chickens, and chickens have faces! No, no, it’s okay to eat egg whites, because eggs are filled with Omega-3’s, but don’t eat the egg yolks!
Eat all the unusual fruits from the rainforest! No! Not from the rainforest, unless you live in the rainforest. Everything you eat should be grown locally!
All day and night, with the fish oil and the Glucerna and the fiber and the preservatives and the fillers and the happy cows!
Smoking will kill you.
Exercise every day or you’ll get cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease — even IF you eat like the nutrition nazis! Try weights and spinning and Zumba and Bickram yoga, and run a marathon!
(In fine print, you will read that long walks are just as good, but we can’t sell you any products for that, so you know, if you HAVE to walk, go ahead.)
The sun will kill you. But wait! We are all vitamin-D deficient?
Wear this ribbon and buy these things to show you’re fighting for the cure. Cancer centers, Autism Speaks, bad cholesterol, good cholesterol, your A1C’s, disposable catheters, get this diabetes kit, too heavy periods, St. Jude’s hospital.
Flash to ads for medications and then the lawsuits for medications. Liver disease, please. Ads for rheumatoid arthritis clearly state you should not take this medication if you have an auto-immune disorder. What do they mean? An auto-immune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis?
The Flu will kill you.
When they’re not worryin you about your innards, they start in on your appearance. Are your eyelashes long and thick enough? Do you have enough hair on your head? Is the hair shiny enough? Can you tie it in a knot? Do the highlights look natural enough? Do you have hair you don’t want? Is your scalp healthy?
Do you have too many wrinkles? Do you get too much sun? Do you use enough sunscreen? Is it the right sunscreen? Buy this self-tanner!
Do you have bags under your eyes? Do you look tired? Do you have dark circles? Do you have uneven skin tone?
Are your nails healthy? How about your nail beds? Toenails have fungus?
Skin soft enough? Skin shiny enough? Skin luminescent like fireflies? Are you seeing age spots or freckles? Are you washing your face right? Are you sure it’s really clean?
Pubic hair groomed well enough? Here’s a dye and bedazzle beading kit for your bikini area! Genitals smell good enough? No itching? Toilet paper thick enough? Not too soft? No lint on your bottom?
Do you have white enough teeth? Are they straight enough? Do you floss daily?
Then, once you’re too scared to eat, and loaded up on big pharma, they ask you if you’ve done enough to save the earth? Reduce your carbon footprint. Recycle, compost, and install solar panels. Don’t you feel guilty about water bottles, disposable diapers, and cars that run on fossil fuels? Are you doing enough to help the polar bears? Plastic is the devil!
Plastic will kill you.
I know it’s everywhere, but try not to think about it.
Save the planet by using fewer paper products and plastic products, but buy our no-touch soap dispenser and our disposable towels, so that you can stop washing towels like you live in the dark ages!
Detergent will kill you.
Then they go into safety. Are there germs all over your house? Do you accidentally wipe your counters with raw chicken? Is your house full of carbon monoxide and lead paint? What about radon? Are you sure your house has never been a meth lab? Have you checked for black mold?
Is your car safe enough? Does it have sixteen airbags? Are your kids always wearin helmets, pads and seat belts?
Oh my Gawd, are you still smoking inside? Do you have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers an exit plan, and window ladders? Do you have an alarm system? Do you have a panic button? Shouldn’t you install video cameras throughout the house?
Is your phone giving a location? Is your wi-fi network secure?
Do you have enough money? Are you saving enough for retirement? Is your bank charging you too much? Is your investment portfolio diversified enough?
And your children. God knows you fail them every day by offering baby carrots and ranch dressing. May as well shove em out into the sunlight and hand them some water in a BPA plastic bottle, laced with detergent and lead. Join the PTA! Coach a sport! Carpool! Mommies, don’t you know you’re supposed to dance around the kitchen while you whip up faux egg white omelets and wheatgrass shots? Don’t you know you’re supposed to laugh when they spill red kool-aid on the white shirt we said was essential this season? Are you still smoking? Don’t you love your children? Don’t you want to live longer for them?
And then onto your pets, just in case you managed to keep your children alive to adulthood. Are you letting fleas bite them? What about mosquitoes and ticks? Are they eating too much grain? I know your dog eats cat poo coated in sawdust and drinks from the toilet, but shouldn’t you buy him organic food you refrigerate, and consequently must be bought more often? I think those milk bones were made in China. Do you let him stick his head out the window of the car? Why don’t you use a harness? Do you want him to die in a car accident? Don’t you love your pet?
After all this come the ads for what might be wrong with you.
They ask you, “Are you depressed? Do you have anxiety?”