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When Your Anxiety Makes Everything a Land Mine

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Anxiety is unpredictable. It’s like walking through a minefield — you never know when you’re going to step on a mine and have panic explode in your head and travel its way down through your spine and into every ounce of your body. You could be sitting in a classroom taking notes and it hits you. You could be dancing at a party with your best friends and it hits you. You could be sitting at the dinner table with your family and it hits you. The mines are everywhere.

Anxiety is a silent battle. A battle with your brain as you’re running your fingers along the glossy-tiled hallway of your school, trying to stay grounded as your mind is traveling to another planet. A battle with your chest as you’re having a conversation with someone and you feel panic creeping up, starting to tighten your airways and make your voice tremble. A battle with your subconscious which tells you you’re better off staying in bed even though you have responsibilities piling up and you haven’t eaten in far too long. There are mines in the places you used to feel safest.

Anxiety is limiting. You don’t feel capable of anything anymore. And why should you? The last time you went to class you got up and left. Everyone stared at you as you packed up your stuff five minutes after class began, and walked out the door. You can’t go on that date, or go out with your friends, or apply for that job. Don’t you know that mines are planted there too?

Anxiety is isolating. It is distancing yourself from everyone. It’s easier to disappear than to explain why you’re shaking and your eyes are tearing up and you’re having a hard time speaking. You’d rather deal with it by yourself, and you don’t want to be a burden to whoever you’re with.

Anxiety is pain, both physical and mental. Your stomach aches, your chest is caving in, you’re dizzy, your heart pounds, you can barely breathe, you’re shaking, your limbs are heavy, you’re not even in your body anymore. You can be experiencing all of that and nobody will ever know. You could be crumbling on the inside, but on the outside you’re smiling, trying to pretend you’re not being consumed by complete terror. You stepped on the mine, and now you must deal with the consequences.

Anxiety is self-hatred. You sit alone in your room wondering how you got to this point. You think about how everyone is moving on with their lives, but you’re trapped. You beat yourself up every time you try something and fail. Why would you even try in the first place? You feel worthless. You start to wonder what the point of living-wait not even living-surviving is. You wonder if this is going to be forever, and how you’re going to deal with it your entire life.

Anxiety is relentless, unforgiving, debilitating. Anxiety is a war fought every day. It is turmoil in your mind. It is the creator of land mines.

Unsplash photo via Chris Barbalis

Originally published: March 19, 2018
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