In order to pinpoint the beast that has a tendency to keep my snarky ass down and in my place, I wrote a little thing for a therapy session on WHAT the demon is and why it sucks. Sometimes the physical act of identifying your oppressor assists in the process of eliminating its very presence. Finding myself in a pretty good place lately, I thought I’d share, seeing as how so many people are afflicted with the same burden.
Anxiety is both a taunting restless spirit and a terrified small thing desperately seeking a shelter that will never exist. It manifests in the system as fear, but not like a “simple” fear of heights, a rattling of nerves during an instance of turbulence or loud thunder or even that fluttering of the amygdala that stimulates and excites during a viewing of some slasher flick, torture porn or supernatural horror film. This is a fear whose origins ooze forth from a bottomless well and corrupt all good things as well as the exposed natural vulnerabilities of the sufferer with its sticky, caustic nature, demanding attention and creating a hellscape mirage masquerading as an emotional hiding place.
Unencumbered trembling, sweaty hands, cold numbing sensations in the face, extremities and even genitals, the perceived inability to catch a soothing breath, the heart doing whatever the fuck it wants without any sense of rhythm or purpose and the stomach issues… nothing angers the digestive tract like the demon of anxiety. Food goes in reluctantly, possessing the taste and texture of fiberglass, and promptly evacuates the system in heaving bursts of burning poison. It’s as though the body completely rejects the wholesome comforts that are meant to keep it going, such as essential nutrients, restoring sleep, replenishing oxygen and that ability to completely collapse into a state of careless relaxation. The body, mind and soul are constantly on alert somewhere in a red zone of terror that exists on an entirely different plane of consciousness.
If the physical symptoms aren’t enough to destroy the meager remains of self-assuredness, the mental ramifications are brutal. Irrational fears are random and cooked up from unusual places otherwise regarded as non-things by most other people. A skipped heartbeat could mean certain death, a brief ringing in the ears a terrifying possibility of life-long suffering, a stressful day inciting more than one emotion means the contracting of a vicious mental ailment… one that would require a life-sentence in straight jacket and confinement behind the stark white walls of an institution where outcasts remain hidden from a society who demean them. In life, there are mountains and molehills. In the life of anxiety suffers, there are eternal sinkholes and stratospheric places that could result in body-vaporizing descents into the unknown.
The wall is very real, indeed. Those who don’t have the misfortune of dealing with the soul grappling burden of anxiety or depression will never see it. They see a weak person… somebody who gives up too easily, who frets too much, whose “lazy” nature forces them to turn their back on their dreams, their family and the very things in life that can be of little comfort. Inwardly, we stand at the plinth of the structure which blocks the path to happiness and claw at its foundations for just a slight glimpse of the peace situated on the other side.
What is happiness to us then, to be found on the other side of the wall? To be grounded levelly is to be in a state of bliss. To find that place in the valley of extremes where the shadow of the mountain can’t obscure the truth is pure joy. To float carelessly amid the placid waters of tranquility is to achieve the ultimate goal of inner peace, to still the internal quaking and to silence the voice of insecurity. It’s an ongoing battle and we are its warriors.