Anxiety is getting picked up in 5 minutes time for a NYE party and you start freaking out because it dawns on you that maybe they only invited you out of kindness or a sense of duty and they don’t really want you to come after all, and the tears are ruining your make up and you’re gonna look like shit and you have to change because what the fuck do you look like anyway you fucking mess?
It’s looking at the back of your front door, gearing yourself up to leave and the fear building up inside and you turning back to check you have your keys and your phone and your keys and your phone and your keys and your phone, and then going back to the toilet again because even though you’ve just been you might need to go again because your body is trying to let go of everything weighing you down so you can run the fuck away.
Anxiety is walking down the street and someone coming towards you and you wondering if they’re going to rape or rob you or say something truly awful like ‘Smile!’ or the confrontational ‘Hello’, or maybe they’re having a shit day too and that makes you even more sad and more anxious for the state of the world.
Anxiety is ‘Am I breathing too heavily?’ when you have your earphones in, when in public, and ‘oh my god I have to step off the pavement in a moment what if I fall?’. And the sky feels like it is falling in, and you are simultaneously spinning in the overwhelming vastness of being a tiny human in space, and the crushing, claustrophobic sense of being trapped in the knot of the walnut shell of adrenaline and fear that is your brain!
Anxiety is picking up the phone and dialling and then putting it down again, and planning your opening sentence again and again and again and then when you actually manage to get through you freeze and stumble over the words and start to zone out and it takes you a moment to focus and figure out what you are saying because you can hear yourself talk but you’re not really in control of your words or face right now.
Anxiety is replaying a face to face conversation with a friend over and over to make sure that you said it right and that it was understood and that you understood them and that you didn’t make a fool of yourself. And you overthink every word that was ever passed between you and look for hidden meaning in case you missed it. It is rereading that text in case you said something wrong, and they haven’t messaged you back yet, probably because they hate you. And that person who was nice to you was definitely only being nice out of pity for you.
Anxiety is “Everyone else has their shit together, why haven’t I?”
Anxiety is picking up on the one word that you tripped on, and it weighs on you heavy like lead, or the punchline that you messed up, the joke you told that fell flat, or when you missed your mouth with the straw, and you can feel the embarrassment of that millisecond like it lasted for hours and it is imprinted on you forever.
Anxiety is your head hitting the pillow and it all coming back to you, those times that you fucked up at work, that time you fell over in public, that time you misread that moment and awkwardly kissed your friend, that time you were picked last in P.E, that time you got drunk and angry and punched a wall and the wall won, and that time you should have apologised and you never did, all those idiotic mistakes, and even though no one else remembers them, it feels like they are branded on your forehead and you feel your whole face flush, even though the lights are off and it is dark you are lit up with the burning shame and the awfulness of it all, of you.
Anxiety is lying next to someone that you love and feeling nothing but fear despite nothing having altered that moment, but your body and brain entering into an impromptu battle with each other, and their kindness and reassurance which usually means so much, means nothing.
Anxiety is sudden and savage and makes you feel rootless and swirling, swollen in your own senses. It can last for seconds or hours and whether it speeds up or slows down, time alters around you.
Anxiety is rapid thoughts and tightened chest and sweaty palms and an invisible grip around your throat and losing your balance and dizziness and fighting tears and trying to apply reason and logic when everything around you is suddenly too loud and too bright and you’re squirming in your own skin and your head and guts and heart are silently screaming, screaming, screaming!
Anxiety is exhausting.
And there are ways to deal with it, like being mindful, and grounding techniques, and being kind to yourself and forgiving yourself and others, and focussing on the positives in your life, in your personality, but still it will spring itself upon you and you switch back to the default mode of self loathing, and ‘not this again!’ because you are the most disastrous piece of shit that ever lived, and you never deserve to rest and be at peace, let alone be happy, so fuck you.
Happy New Year to me, before during and after panic attack. Went out with my game face on and never told a soul. (until now).