themighty logo

My Anxiety Is Like Fire


The feeling of anxiety pumping through your veins is unlike any other sensation. The sudden ability to awaken the entire body, to hyper focus attention and to make split second decisions saves lives every day. Yet, this same mechanism creates a feeling of instability and near desperation that debilitates to the point of non-functioning.

Imagine your body so full of energy you cannot expel it.

Imagine your body so full of nervous tension, the slightest sound feels like nails on a chalkboard.

 You need comfort, but you are afraid to move.

What if, somehow, this feeling gets worse? What if this feeling never stops? 

You cannot escape. Your body is underneath an object just heavy enough that you cannot move it, but you keep trying. Your energy depletes while your veins are on fire.

Your body rejects your thoughts and insists it must fight a battle it will never win. This continues until your body becomes exhausted to the point where rest is your only option.

The tension releases into negative thoughts of inadequacy. Your thoughts cycle to questions of what motivated these feelings, to what part of you deserves blame. There are moments when anxiety feels like distant embers, a slow burn that does not affect everyday life. Occasionally you feel a slight burn, but you heal quickly. Yet, there is always a risk that the right conditions could ignite another devastating flame.

I use the metaphor of fire to describe the unique role of anxiety as a saver of life and taker of stability. It provides a lifeline but poses a terrifying threat. It is a loved and hated part of me.

Importantly, the described manifestations feel uncontrollable. While ignited often by the environment, anxiety arrives spontaneously too. A recognition of its erratic nature scares and comforts me. I continue to learn about its role in my life.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via -M-I-S-H-A-