Some of my friends and family do not understand anxiety “It can’t be that bad” “You don’t have anything to be afraid of” “Just calm down”
“It can be that bad” I tell them Anxiety strings barbed wire across doorways and coats people in broken glass You can’t go anywhere Anxiety is like a room in an adventure movie where water is steadily pumping onto the floor until it’s up to your chest Except there’s no magic lever or button for anxiety It just keeps going until you’ve drowned Anxiety is a boulder strapped to your back It keeps pressing and pressing Even when you’re tired and you just want to sleep, it keeps pressing Even when you fall, it keeps pressing Even when you stop struggling to move, to survive, it keeps pressing
“There’s plenty to be afraid of” I say Anxiety is a monster with giant bulging eyes and thousands of teeth and claws And the worst part is that no one else can see it following you down the hallways at school Stalking you in the bathrooms at concerts Hiding under your own bed Anxiety is like an uninvited party guest You never know when Anxiety is going to join the party It just shows up And you never have enough snacks or blankets for Anxiety It always wants more And it doesn’t leave until 4am when you’re shaking from exhaustion Anxiety doesn’t even say Thank you For taking up everything you had in you It just leaves And you know Anxiety will be back Eventually What’s scary about Anxiety is that it keeps you from doing something you really wanna do Like spending the night at your friends You really wanna go but you just don’t Because you don’t want to have to explain why your body has begun to unravel itself, time traveling back to when anxiety kept humans alive and why apparently your body thinks your friend’s sweet little French bulldog is the equivalent of a modern day saber tooth tiger Another scary thing about anxiety is the fact it’s something your brain makes up and your body BELIEVES it of all things “I’m dying” your brain says And so your body believes it Because why would a piece of your body lie to itself? Why would you lie to yourself?
“I can’t just calm down” I say to them The whole thing with Anxiety is not just the fact that the guy next to you could be a suicide bomber or that the girl across the isle could have a knife in her pocket or the fact you’ve got a test to pass or that your shoelaces aren’t symmetrical It’s that anxiety gives you anxiety What a beautiful self-destructive cycle And if I could calm down don’t you think I would? Do you think I would scratch myself raw trying to force the anxiety out of my skin? Do you think I would spend my friend’s birthday party having a panic attack in the bathroom? God why is it always bathrooms? Do you think I would spend my every waking hour anxiously figuring out how I can avoid all the things that give me anxiety? The thing about anxiety is that nothing can “get rid of it” There is no cure A million billion poems and hugs and dark closets and angry songs and therapists could not get rid of anxiety Anxiety has embedded itself into me and I don’t have enough strength to dig the scalpel into my own skin and carve it out I don’t think anyone has that kind of strength
“Anxiety is a part of me” I tell them And the thing I ask now even gives me anxiety Isn’t that ironic? But I still ask it I always ask it “Will you still accept me?
Hi guys! I have no clue what I’m doing here, but hi!