An Analogy of What It Is Like Living With Mental Illness … For People Who Hate The DMV

I needed to renew the registration on my car recently. Here is an account of that process:


Bad news: I need an emissions test before I can renew.

Good news: There is a place 5 minutes from me that does them.

Bad news: Everyone else is trying to get theirs done as well so there is a wait.

Good news: The car passed the emissions test.

Bad news: Now you need to actually do the renewal, which you can do online, but you waited too long, and now the sticker for your license plate won’t arrive in time, and your anxiety is sure that the second your old sticker expires a cop will be waiting for you so now you have to go into an office to get it on time.

Good news: There is a Currency Exchange office right across the street from where you work that does registration renewals and never has a line.

Bad news: They don’t take credit card.

Good news: They have an ATM.

Bad news: The ATM is out of cash (seriously, why have an ATM in an office called Currency Exchange if it isn’t going to be stocked with money. I’m beginning to question the validity of this “Currency Exchange” office).

Good news: This is the city so another ATM is literally one building over because every building seems to have at least one. And the person at the Currency Exchange said she’d leave the transaction open so you don’t have to start again.

Bad news: when you get back from the other ATM there is now a line.


And I know, these all seem like relatively minor inconveniences, no reason to throw the whole day into a spiral of anxiety. But minor inconveniences that everyone deals with can trigger anxiety for those who suffer from the aptly named generalized anxiety disorder. Because what if more inconveniences pile up, and then more, and then it gets to the point you can’t handle it and everyone sees through the act you’ve been putting on. What if everyone sees you as the small, insignificant, incompetent person you see yourself as.

Except you get through the task. And then you get through the next one. And no one sees you in that small, insignificant way. It is just the tricks played by the demons in you mind. And honestly, everyone else is too busy fighting with their own demons to judge you for yours. There is no normal. Everyone has their struggles. And even if they don’t, who cares? Because the good news is you did what you needed to do. And the better news is it turns out you aren’t small and insignificant. You matter. We all matter.


Except whoever came up with the idea of DMVs and auto registrations, that person is dead to me.

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