In the throws of anxiety

Photo: Annie Spratt

I just found this thing that I wrote down in my phone notes when I was going through a really bad couple of weeks lately and I thought it was really interesting that I had chosen to capture myself in that moment and in that state so I thought I would share it here in case anyone is going through the same thing and wants to feel a bit less alone in this time of year that symbolises togetherness, but isn’t always the case for some people. Let me know if you’ve ever felt like this and what you do to make you feel better. This post is completely unedited from the first draft I wrote without really realising. 

I’m writing on the train on my phone because it has to be this and it has to be now. Words are stuck inside me and they need to get out. I feel like this most days but I usually “don’t have time” to write or I feel like it’s too much hassle when the time actually comes and then feelings and thoughts often pass me by and by the time I come to write them they’re stale and I’m not bothered.

But I feel like right now, today, at this moment, something has to give. I’m stressed. I know because I can feel it in my body. I feel tight. My chest feels tight and I’m constricted. I’m stressed about money, I’m stressed about being alone. I’m stressed because the words haven’t come out of me for so long and so they swirl around and around my head.

I’ve been waiting for a magic release. Something that’s going to pull the plug on the stress and my horrendous flu symptoms and make my body and my mind all better. And I continue to overwork myself and dehydrate myself and eat battery farmed caramel waffles for breakfast and not taste anything and not smile and still, I expect to get better as though I’m expecting a miracle.

And I dig myself into a hole and the anxiety creeps in. It comes in waves. It comes in the morning when I wake up and wonder what I’m living for. At night when I’m lying in bed alone wondering if I’ll ever feel something more than this. And in the middle of the day, when I’m getting ice from the ice machine and the anxiety turns to morbid flashbacks and my breath hitches in my throat and I shudder and try to just breathe.

And suddenly out of nowhere it’s too much and I consider if I want to get better. More often than not, I do. I find it somewhere in myself after years of searching and years of practice. And this time I didn’t. This time the muscle ripped and instead of building it up bigger and stronger with love and nutrition I let it wake me in the night with its cramps and spasms until I’m lying curled up in a ball not daring to move.

But I have to get better because no one will do it for me. No one hates me more than I do but no one will ever love me as much as I have the potential to love and respect myself.

That’s what anxiety feels like. It pumps through your whole body. It affects your organs. Your thoughts. Your soul. And it needs its medicine in whichever form you see fit. And mine, self-prescribed, starts now.

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