My Anxiety Elephant


Every day I wake up and try to keep my mornings as routine as possible. Brush my teeth, have my coffee and go to work. Come home, have dinner, watch mindless television until it is time to (hopefully) go to bed. Anxiety keeps me up, nervous about the fact I may not get enough sleep to make it through my following day. This is a normal day.

My anxiety elephant sits on my chest and follows me throughout my day. Sometimes he is heavier than normal, but he is always there. I try to ignore him or talk him into lessening his weight on me, but it doesn’t seem to be a choice of mine. If it’s really bad I turn to my prescription medication.

Nights are the scariest. As soon as the sun sets I feel that elephant pushing and squeezing in between by ribs on my heart and throughout my chest. Like a wild and restless beast. This is when I begin to feel overwhelming sadness. I’m irritated, and I’m frustrated with myself and with the only people around me, my parents — the ones who have been my biggest supporters. I snap and I’m mean, or I cry and I scream out of frustration, confusion and such heavy sadness.

The elephant wins another night.

Once I have stopped crying and am able to regulate my breath, the elephant sits softer or maybe I am too tired to bear his full weight or to even notice. I reflect on the attack of emotion I had: Was it anxiety? Was it panic? Was it just sadness? Do people just cry and scream on a regular basis? I feel strange, out of body. Who was that? And what was that? I’m embarrassed people were witness to that, even if it was just family. I say things I don’t mean and am always asking to go home… although I’m already home.

My elephant sits with me tonight again.

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Thinkstock photo by Brian A Jackson

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