A Day in the Life of Someone With Severe Anxiety
Every morning hits me like a ton of bricks without the help of drugs or alcohol. They are unwelcoming and unrelenting, but worst of all, predictable, as they uncoil me from bed with the same whimpers of worry.
I see the day like the arcade game of Frogger, where I’m expected to navigate a river full of life-threatening obstacles such as sinking logs or ravenous crocodiles. Every aspect of my life feels like an impossible hurdle and I’m teetering over the edge waiting to witness my own demise.
Every closet in my apartment represents a hiding place for the most gruesome serial killers, every dark alleyway is an armed robber waiting for their perfect moment to press a fully-loaded gun into my temple or a freshly sharpened switchblade into my jugular.
As you can imagine, trust is yet another impossible feat. Every employer is seconds away from terminating my contract. Every person I love is moments away from jumping on a train in the middle of the night and leaving me without so much as a goodbye letter.
So long as my boyfriend responds to my anxious pleads within the hour, I’ll be able to exhale. If not, you can be certain that my mind will run through its list of brutal worst-case-scenarios.
He didn’t respond to my text, surely he was run over by an 18-wheeler. Or perhaps he’s having an affair with some Ariana Grande look-alike he met at the gym.
The whirlwind of worries never ceases.
Even sleep provides no escape. Anxiety simply creeps in, in the form of nightmares. I’m always late for something, running for my life or deemed useless and banished by my loved ones. I wake up in cold sweats asking my thrashing heart how long it will hold me captive.
I have to check under my bed for intruders at least four consecutive times before I’m able to fall asleep at night. But that’s only after first checking all the closets and other potential hiding places in my apartment, especially behind the shower curtain.
Then, and only then, can I expect to stare up at the ceiling above my bed and confront my racing thoughts. Thoughts that usually involve agonizing over the past and fretting about the future.
If not nightmares, I am blessed with a new form of anxiety that allows me to be conscious of my dreaming state. One that either dips into sleep paralysis or forces my soul and body to separate. Then I am forced to witness horrifying tragedies, ones that I have absolutely no control over.
I often scream myself awake and then just lie in bed waiting for the morning light to sift through my bedroom windows, no matter how many hours it takes.
But this is just the way my life has always been, or at least as far back as my memory will take me.
Can you relate to Valerie? Let her know in the comments below.
Follow this journey on Old Soul Searching.
Photo by Mehrpouya H on Unsplash