Anxiety Is a Prison in My Mind
Anxiety Inmate Profile:
I am a prisoner in my own mind. My inmate number is 300.02. I was arrested in 2007 by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders due to trauma. My felonies are worry, fear, irritability, lack of concentration and sleep irregularities. Headaches and insomnia are my misdemeanors. When you visit me, I’ll be wearing teal (anxiety awareness), smiling on the outside, but internally suffering from acid reflux, dizziness and secretly assessing for any signs of danger.
The Anxiety Prison:
When I’m arrested, sometimes my anxiety jail visits are for hours. Other times, it’s days or weeks. Just expect when you visit, I may not be myself. My mind may be overcrowded with obsessive or racing thoughts. When you attempt to visit, I may not want company at all and deny seeing you. I know it’s all in my mind, but it’s hard to rationalize when I’m feeling stressed, depressed or just not like myself.
My correctional officers (friends and family) protect me when I’m feeling down. They keep me safe, call or text, validate my irrational thoughts and testify for my love, character and loyalty. However, when I’m arrested, I must remain silent. Anything I say or do in my fight, flight or freeze moment, will definitely be used against me in a court of law (work, relationships and leisure activities).
You know, I do receive counsel from my lawyer (mental health professional). My lawyer maintains my mental stability through active listening, empathy and reassurance. My lawyer prepares me for the trial by giving me coping mechanisms. The trial is survival. It is daunting because it is a task I must work through daily.
There are days when I do not listen to my lawyer nor correctional officers. This is not because I do not want to but because I am mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. I have to live up to so many professional and personal expectations. I cannot always see my lawyer. She is really busy and has a huge fee! She assigned a probation officer (medication and alternative therapies) to help me cope and just simply to maintain.
To my visitors, I have a criminal record and I serve time in my own mental prison. Although I’ve been both acquitted and found guilty, I can postulate I will commit another felony or misdemeanor. No worries. I am digging and creating a secret tunnel out of this mental prison. My tunnel includes self-forgiveness, advocacy, awareness, education, therapy and saying “No.” Dear visitors, I am hoping the next time you visit, I am no longer in prison but on the road to rehabilitation and recovery.