Editor’s Note: Anxiety conditions are a serious psychological condition (one I’ve also discussed) and this article represents a stream-of-consciousness account from Ariel Gordon of the mental experience itself.
I get anxious, I know. I get panicky and freak-out and withdraw into my own little disassociated, safe world. I don’t feel safe, though. Any moment my hyperventilation will overwhelm my heart and I’ll fall apart and die. Not only will I be dead, but I’ll humiliate myself in front of others.
“What is wrong with her? She looks crazy. Why can’t she control herself?”
That’s what they’ll say. Not even to laugh at me, not even for a joke, but as a serious concern for their safety and an attack at my lack of self-control.
No matter how much green tea I drink or how many times I “Om,” people and places and things tear away all my defenses. It’s like trying to protect myself from a bullet using a paper plate. All my swords and tact and wisdom fall to the floor as anxiety flashes and lingers. Sometimes for thirty minutes, sometimes for two hours… sometimes longer.
The ground is no longer below me, my hands of no use. I am myself alone in a blurry vortex that spins and whirls and abuses me. As I reach out, grasping for a cliff or a hand to cling onto, my eyes widen and my eyes tighten as I realize that I am now a ghost. Unable to be seen or heard. The tears bursting in my stomach are flooding me while the room of people clamor with no knowledge of my torturous experience.
This is a futile war wherein nothing is accomplished. I am the only casualty each and every time.
Sometimes I wish the war would take me for good. That I wouldn’t receive a bonus life, an opportunity to try again. Just left on the ground. My tired, weak arms gripped unto one another, my fingers loosening each second as life leaves my corpse. My unshorn, mistakenly born legs caved inward in an attempt to contain my rigorously-working heart, at least until it builds up the strength to flee into the world in order to breathe again.
Just one more, I beg. I anxiously await that final touch which will turn the lights off and allow me to ease into surrender.
Then the time passes. Painfully so. The closet door is opened, the nails removed from my flesh, and I am victorious. I have faced demons and death. I have nearly submitted to Lucifer himself, right as I dropped to my knees and offered him my wrists and my throat. Saved by no one but a ghost who lingered within me.