My Friend, Anxiety
I can’t get out of bed.
I’m thinking of something to email my professors about missing class because I want to try and make them understand what I am going through - but I don’t have the flu or a broken bone. I don’t know how to explain to them that the night before was unbearable and that today, I simply cannot get out of bed. It would be easy if I had the flu; a “visible” show of what’s wrong with me so that the instructor could respond with a “hope you get better soon!” and be glad I wouldn’t be infecting the whole class with my presence. An email describing the way I had to run out of my train holding back tears, clutching my chest while feeling like my lungs would collapse the night before, is not a valid excuse.
I can’t speak.
On somedays, I cannot bring myself to say anything in class. It’s not like I’m not paying attention, and it’s not like I don’t understand, but my legs won’t stop shaking and the thought of raising my hand is not even an option.
I can’t stop speaking.
On somedays, I have confidence that exceeds everything else in life. I start the day off smiling and laughing and eagerly contributing to class discussion and then unexpectedly, the triggers that surround my everyday existence presents itself in somebody’s actions, words, or even an object. All of a sudden, my anxiety manifests itself in the worst way imaginable. I cannot stop shaking, but also, I cannot stop speaking. I am scared, I am shaking, but I cannot control what leaves my mouth. I have no control, I have no control, I have no control, my anxiety has taken the wheel.
I can’t let people think I’m crazy.
The fact that I have to take time for myself, makes me feel like I am an unstable human being that nobody can rely on. Too unpredictable to be competent, and I’m the crazy girl that walks out in the middle of class in tears without any real reason; too fragile to face the same life that everybody else is forced to live through. Some think I’m faking it, crazy or lazy, I don’t know which is better. People think that it is easy for my notions of self-blame and hatred to fill my body and to take up chunks of space in my mind. I try not to let it be that way, but I don't always win.
I can’t forgive.
I tell myself to get over it, that it’s all in my head. That the people around me are leading the same everyday lives without a hitch, while my mind cannot stop screaming. It’s all in my head, it’s all in my head, it’s all in my head, this is what I tell myself on days when I have to coop up in the corner of the corridor by the service elevator knowing nobody will find me - while I tell myself to breathe and to try to remember how to exist.
I can’t understand.
Who am I to use my mental state as an excuse to get out of class when there are people with real “sicknesses” that don’t get any excuse at all? I am a fake, I am a fraud. Somedays, I am at TWO HUNDRED PERCENT WHERE NOTHING OR NOBODY CAN HOLD ME BACK! My “problem” is so… casual. And frankly, it disgusts me how my anxiety often allows me to pretend that it doesn’t exist in front of others, when many do not have the same privilege.
Sometimes I thrive, and sometimes I fall so deep down that it takes me a few days to climb back up again. But I've come to understand that that's okay too.