What’s eating at me? Anxiety.

In one word…anxiety and by now one would think it would be tired of me, yet still, it clings on like a leech without the benefit of purification. In fact, the needle-like teeth of Anxiety tear at my skin allowing the murkiness to rush in like a black hole, suffocating me through every orifice.

Writing about a beast like this is difficult, no one really wants to admit that hidden, just out of sight is a monster holding one at gunpoint. But, here I am, personifying its being.

The Beast is cunning. It knows exactly what to whisper into your ear and it knows exactly what fallacies to plant into your dreams so that you wake up with just the right amount of torment.

Sometimes it retreats, allowing you to pull together rational thoughts and feel triumphant over its grip. Freedom is sweet and empowering, yet in one foul swoop your knees will crumble beneath you and you will fall to the ground gasping for air while begging for mercy.

The Beast sets traps everywhere. They start out sparse and manageable, you skip around them cherishing every close call. Then suddenly the traps are everywhere and unavoidable. You’re caught, here comes the panic.

My symptoms always run in the same way. First I retreat. My body is present but my mind is not. My eyes start to glass over. Palms–sweaty, heart–racing. Then my throat starts to close. I suck in breaths as though I’m breathing through a broken straw.
Red face.
Shaking hands.
Wheezing chest.
Next step- the floor.

It has been 6 days since my last meeting with panic. Before that, it was 5 days. I fear today will reset the count.

Today’s episode–the nightmares. Plagues of the past infiltrating my mind when it is most vulnerable. I’m stuck acting in the same story over and over again, and while the narrative has ended in my reality, my mind will just not let it go.

Your punishment is not over” my mind hisses as it pins me to the wall.
What you have done is not over for the others and you must bear this guilt until they set you free” it laments in foul breath.
The actions of others is a direct result of what you have done to them, they can act as they please
You have no right of defence or to even utter a word of how you are feeling. Your feelings are irrelevant because the damage is your own.”
This is your jail cell. Stay there, and accept every hit because you deserve it“.

Tongue held. Words swallowed.Press play on the mantra–it’s all my fault.

The result– an empty shell version of myself. Incapable of basic function– childlike and shattered. From here I have but one way out. Help.

Help in prayer, help in affection, help from a song, help from a cigarette. Help from tears, help from physical exertion, help from the comforting protection of my bed and help from words.

Perhaps one day the Beast will be slain. Imagine that. A life, where my words fall freely from my lips without fear of revolt. My chest will rise and fall, pillowed in untangled breaths and the once sterile jail cell of my mind will be in ruin, overrun with flowers and light.

One can hope. Perhaps with age, the silver sword will be forged.


  • Rachel

    I want to like this but like isnt the right word. How do you move a boulder you built yourself? How do you feel nothing and everything all in an instant.
    Choosing yourself over others does not make their reaction and pain your cross to bear,
    Look after yourself, be kind: firstly to yourself

    xx – you arent alone in your struggle

    August 23, 2016 at 7:36 am
  • Alex

    This is, unfortunately, a misunderstood and unnecessarily “secretive” issue prevalent within our society, Tina. Your poignant writing has struck a heartfelt chord and you have my praise for opening up on such an important issue. As a carer of someone with panic disorder, know that you are not alone. Although I’ve my own battles with social anxiety and depression, it is, in fact, a completely different battle. Therefore, I won’t prattle on, but leave you with some writing Monica has shared herself, through an old blog, as comfort that you’re not alone:
    Take care x

    August 25, 2016 at 11:21 am

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