Anxiety

At the Mercy of Anxiety

📷: Tyler @tylerdatdogphotography

She’s here again. The Creep. She found the weakness. She set up shop. She’s spouting her war propaganda.

You’re no good. You’ll never amount to anything. You fuck everything up. Look at you. You’re disgusting. You’re pitiful. You’re worthless.

The Creep brought her friends today – Her elephant is sitting on my chest, making it difficult to catch my breath. While the elephant is trying to suffocate me, there’s a snake around my heart. Squeezing. Tugging. Tearing at my soul. The lump in my throat makes it impossible to speak, for if I open my mouth, I am signaling the release of the floodgates.

Breathe, I tell myself. Just breathe.

“No shit,” I scoff aloud. “Just fucking breathe.”

The tears well up in the corners of my eyes, threatening to stream down my face. I fight them back with a deep breath.

In for one, two, three, four. Hold for one, two, three, four. Release for one, two, three, four, five, six.

Repeat.

What is this all for? Why am I on the brink of a panic attack?

The rational part of my brain – what little remains free from the grip of anxiety – reminds me that this is merely a result of the stories I tell myself. Those wild fictional stories that are grounded in little reality and a whole mess of mind games. These stories could be the latest Hollywood blockbuster. They have me waving a white flag, begging for mercy, pleading for a reprieve.

I am a hostage to the most brutal terrorists who have found every weakness and are exploiting my mind, body, and soul. They use sleep deprivation, torturous snippets of conversations on loop, and hold me down until I am drowning in despair.

Just let go, The Creep says. I will catch you. Trust me, she continues. I am trying to protect you.

She convinces me that she is my only friend, that she is only trying to protect me from hurt, pain, humiliation. The Creep makes me believe that reaching out to my support system is a fruitless endeavor.

Don’t burden them with your problems, she says. Only I can understand. Only I can help you.

And I believe her. Because I am tired of the story, so they certainly are over it. No one could possibly begin to understand – I am a rock, the one who has it all together. If anyone knew the truth – if they knew that I spend a majority of my days sobbing in bed, they wouldn’t believe it. And they certainly wouldn’t know how to help me.

It’s you and me, she says. Stop fighting me. I’m just trying to protect you, she says again.

“But there’s Tyler,” I say in response – a futile attempt at countering her claims.

He’s tired of pulling you out of your rabbit hole. He can’t help you anymore. He’s tired of your shit, The Creep says.

“Maybe you’re right,” I acquiesce.

So instead, I sit in it. I gasp for air. I relinquish control of my tears. I succumb to the pressure. The levy breaks and I am left in a puddle on the cold, hard bathroom floor. Wailing. Sobbing. Begging for a release.

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