My anxiety is a new thing. Well, it isn’t new, but my ability to look another human in the eyes, and say out loud, “I have anxiety,” certainly is. I still stumble over it, like I am trying to catch the word as it tumbles out of my mouth. But it was easier to say today than yesterday.
I have anxiety, and recently it has been rampant. Today, and on other hard days, it is like the world’s most impossible game of Brick Breaker. You know, the old-school game. In this version, there are thousands of tiny little balls bouncing all around, shooting off into different directions, colliding, breaking things. It is chaotic and a contradiction a lot of the time. But I can say it was a tough day; I can put some words to my struggle. That is power. Claiming this — no, claiming my anxiety — is a powerful thing. And when this brick breaker in my brain levels up, I remember what is more powerful than my anxiety.
When I list powerful things, I go through the senses: smelling a well-loved book, tasting a yummy chicken salad sandwich, feeling the rush of wind past your fingers, hearing an outburst of belly-shaking laughter, seeing the sun after a particularly harsh rainstorm.
These things are powerful, but something else makes them more powerful than my anxiety. It is smelling a well-loved book in a bookstore where you are helping me find the exact right book to read. It is tasting a yummy chicken salad sandwich we share in a spot we love. It is feeling the wind rush past as we drive with the windows down on any adventure. It is hearing your laughter and knowing I put it there. It is seeing the sun, the brightness in you.
You see, what is more powerful than my anxiety is me. And what reminds me I am more powerful than my anxiety, more than my anxiety, is you.
In this pesky game of Brick Breaker, you are a second paddle. There may only be the two paddles, and there are thousands of balls. We may not keep them all in the air, but it was never about that. It has always been about not facing them alone.
I have anxiety, and today, it does not have me. But I always have you, and you always have me. What power. Thank you.
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