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Living With the Anxiety Dragon

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I see my anxiety like a dragon in his cave, and my brain is his treasure.

At first, like any true adventurer, my goal was to kill the dragon and reclaim my mind; I thought I’d be better off without him, left to be just myself. Not surprisingly, that didn’t go too well. At first, he was content to let me off with a warning — a flick of his tail with his eyes barely open to show just how little effort it took to defeat me. I’d walk away bruised but more or less fine. Able to try again another day. But after a while, I guess I really started to annoy him, and he’d decide I needed a real lesson on etiquette. Or rather, a fire-breathing rampage where the flames were darkness, blinding me to everything but him, as if nothing else had ever existed, and drowning out all sense of hope and happiness. It was a struggle to make it out of alive, and there were times I almost didn’t.

After years spent bouncing between trying to fight him and cowering in the corner of his den, just waiting for him to finish me off, I’ve learned to accept I live with a dragon. It’s weird and it’s messy, but for the most part, we get along; but he is a dragon after all, so there are times he gets upset and I’m not sure why or at what or how far he’s going to take it. Maybe he’ll just get grumpy and growl and we can talk it out or I can give him space until he calms down. Maybe he’ll throw a little tantrum and while it definitely affects me, the way he makes the ground shake and little bits of rock tumble from the ceiling, I can just distract myself in another part of the cave or go for a walk until he’s let it all out. But maybe — maybe he’ll completely lose his head and start a rampage, and all I can do is curl up and try not to get hurt.

We have our bad days, and we have our good days. Most days are just OK. But OK is more than OK when living with dragons.

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Thinkstock photo by Grandfailure

Originally published: May 13, 2017
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