Anxiety Is Like Living In The Sims

You know those mornings when you wake up with an idea that you’re convinced is going to change the world forever? For about ten minutes you think about where exactly you should start your epic plan. After those ten minutes are up, you probably snap out of it and realise your “idea” involves making cows ten times their original size to combat earthquakes.

However, unlike those mornings, this morning I woke up with a single thought in my head (which is a personal best!)
 The thought was this:

“Living with anxiety is like living as a Sim.”

I confused myself with this thought for a couple of seconds, but after thinking about it a bit more… I stand by my sleep-addled brain.

For those (maybe ten?) people on earth who have never played The Sims, this post will make little to no sense. But for the rest of humanity; enjoy my brain-thinks!

I imagine people who deal with me during my anxiety attacks play the part of the frustrated Sims player. Whereas I’m the Sim, trying to bumble my way through my manufactured life.

For instance, when your Sim needs to pee, you send them to the bathroom. All of a sudden; “CHOO WAGGA CHOO CHOO!? Neeshga…” That’s right. There’s a plate in the way of the door. It is unthinkable and unfathomable that your Sim is able to step over it and go to the bathroom. So instead they turn around and go back to playing SFX on the computer.

Angry, you cancel that action and tell them to go clean up the plate. “Nina gose!? Abba yabba…” They can’t pick up the plate, you fool! They need to pee too much to do household chores. What were you thinking, you monster!?

Before you know it, you have a Sim sleeping in a pile of their own piss, and the Grim Reaper comes along and takes that bitch to the grave. And in the end you’re so pissed off at their incompetence that you give their gravestone and resting place a lot less effort than you did for their dead dog.

As a player of Sims, it’s strange to me to sympathise with the dumbasses who would rather shit themselves than pick up a damn plate… But anxiety feels almost exactly like that.

Say I have a bunch of shopping I need to do, an essay, laundry, a script, a costume and a meeting. When I’m having a good day, this is simple enough. You do things in order and everything is fine.

But when I’m having a bad time, the thoughts and plans in my head overlap and cancel each other out and generally leave me thinking that I can’t do any of it. I need to do my essay, but I can’t concentrate because I need to do my laundry, but I can’t do my laundry because I need to shop and buy detergent, but if I go shopping I need to buy costume material too, but that’s procrastinating and I need to do my essay, but oh god when do I have time to do the script, and why is there so much laundry here, and holy shit I’ve not started my essay, etc. etc. etc.

Anxiety-brain takes simple logic and throws it out of the window, leaving me looking at a dirty plate and going “Oh, well, that’s that then! My whole life has lead up to this moment and I’ve failed. Goodbye cruel world. Please clean the piss off of me before putting me in the ground plz.”

Often with Sims, it seems like if you leave them alone they are able to muddle through life for a while pretty competently… then suddenly you check back in with them and they’ve bought twenty cats and managed to drown themselves in the pool and you’re not sure what pee is from the Sim and which is from the cats.

So then you step in and get them in order, and it works for a while with you helping them along… And then the plate debacle happens and suddenly, “I can’t possibly sleep in this room, someone three doors away is playing music…” You get the picture.

I feel like that helpless Sim when friends give me advice. If you are telling me the things that I could easily do, you will always be met by me listing five thousand reasons why I can’t do it right now. Foolish friend; you forget that I’ve been sitting here for two hours doing absolutely nothing except thinking about why I can’t do a single thing. You are playing a losing game with your “logical conclusions”.

Logic has no place in the anxiety-brain. The anxiety-brain lives in a world of chaos where any good action comes with a hundred or so bad consequences.

So, this is my Sims theory in a nutshell. I’ll accept my award for excellence now.

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Originally published at on October 17, 2015.