She is a vicious little SOB. Anxiety that is. Unwavering in her pursuit to knock you down and make you feel small. She feasts on your insecurities and takes great joy in breaking you until the web of rushing concepts that used to be your brain is exhausted, irrational and dismayed. At its core, anxiety is fear, or at least I think she is. A fear of something we may not even be able to identify. A fear of not being good enough, a fear of not loving yourself, or not being worthy of others' love. A fear that you're squandering away this one special life that you have been given because your mind is preventing you from any productive action. You're immobilized. A numbing feeling sets in, as if you're broken but not necessarily sure how to remedy said brokenness.
You want to find the right reassurance, the perfect string of consoling words, a helping hand or some sense of tangible progress. You all too quickly forget that these things are already within you. Still, it's difficult to make peace with the disarray, to dance in the storm, to have patience. The perspective you have, in abundance. "This doesn't feel right. These feelings are not representative of my true sentiments. This isn't how I want to be spending my time." The tears well up in your eyes and you silently count your breaths, willing the sobs to stay away. There are brave souls fighting terminal conditions, children starving, men and women fighting overseas, you say. These are true burdens, to try to remind yourself of perspective. These circumstances warrant tears, and yet the brave endure. Worsening feelings of guilt set in because the absolute logic is no match for your buzzing frenzy of a brain.
What is wrong with me? I am stronger than this. At times, counting helps; other times it's futile. Someone you love with the best of intentions tells you to "suck it up" or to be tougher. Grow a thicker skin they say. Shake it off. Rationally, you understand, this is not necessary behavior. Emotionally, it is unyielding. The logic falls to the wayside and the feelings of helplessness rush in to fill the voids where your confidence and reasoning should reside. "I'll get you my pretty", she says. Anxiety that is.
The right combination of reasoning, exercise, eating well, rest, and distraction eventually send her back to reside in her miserable place. She is dormant at least for now, until she decides to feast again on your vulnerabilities. To blow them out of proportion, to grab hold of your mind. To tug you lower. And when she comes next, I will be a little more prepared, unwavering in my pursuit.