“And sometimes it hits me out of nowhere, all of the sudden, this overwhelming sadness rushes over me. And I get discouraged and I get upset and I feel hopeless, sad, and hurt. And once again I feel numb to the world.” – Anonymous
I thought I had you under control. I thought I’d found the magic potion that made you disappear forever. I always knew you’d be lurking in the shadows just waiting for your opportunity to consume me again, but I thought I’d found the shield to defend myself against your unwanted presence…I was wrong.
I woke up Friday morning and automatically knew something felt off. I’d had this uneasy feeling before, but I thought it was just a fluke so I went about my day. The day was okay, nothing special, but I could feel your presence stalking me from a distance. I thought that by ignoring you I could make you disappear.
I continued on into the night trying to hold it together, trying to act like you weren’t there. I started to feel you drain my soul and emotions out of me a little at a time like a leach. I tried to stop it, I tried to keep your darkness from creeping in and taking over, but my efforts were futile.
I went to bed at a decent time that night, merely trying to fall asleep before you could tear me apart. In that I succeeded.
However, Saturday morning when I woke I found you to be in control. From the moment I woke up I knew I didn’t stand a chance. I tried to complete my morning routine of gratitude, meditation and prayer, but everything I did only made things worse.
I told myself I wouldn’t shed a tear, that I wouldn’t give you that satisfaction of seeing me broken. I tried with all my might to keep my emotions buried deep down, someplace that you wouldn’t find them. Yet, once again you won.
I spent half of the day crying for no reason, and I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so depressed. It’d been a long time since I’d felt these overwhelming emotions. I hated feeling so vulnerable, but I knew you were loving the sight of me in pieces. I hate you beyond words for that.
I cried nonstop for hours for no reason at all. For feeling so empty, I was full of so many tears. After a while my sadness turned to frustration, and I lost my cool. I was literally having an inner battle all because of you. You lit the match and watched the fire burn.
I was struggling to turn off my anxious mind. All I wanted was a minute of silence from the continuous irrational fight going on in my brain. It was like having an angel and devil on my shoulders that wouldn’t shut up. I just wanted peace and quiet, but you wouldn’t give me that.
I tried to continue on with my daily routine, but my frustration started boiling over and before I knew it I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move, couldn’t think (rationally) and couldn’t function. I sat there in a daze, afraid to breath. That was the worst feeling in the world, losing control to you.
An hour went by before I was able to move, but it felt like forever. When I finally stood, my body felt so heavy that I found it hard to walk. That was the weight of you and all of your misery on my shoulders. You felt like a ton of bricks.
I finally walked over to my purse and grabbed my medication. At that point I was desperate to get away from you, if only for a little while. I took my pill and a few minutes later all of your stupid, ridiculous, pointless, annoying noise went away. I finally found my moment of silence.
I knew your absence would be short lived so I took advantage of the quiet while I could. I made a few calls to my family, unsure if I’d have another opportunity once you returned. You knew I couldn’t function with you around, and you relished in that fact.
I managed to somehow fall asleep that night, and I promised myself tomorrow would be better…it had to be. I couldn’t take another day of you and your misery.
Sunday morning I woke up with a whole new mindset, determined to keep you away. I’d been invited to church by a friend, and I was so excited to have some distraction from your tightening grip.
I went to church and heard the most perfect message. The sermon seemed like it had been written just for me. I was so thankful that God heard my struggles and gave me a sign that He was listening. I started feeling hopeful, and man was it refreshing.
My friend and I went to brunch and had a great time. We talked and laughed for about an hour, and then I headed home. Little did I know you were waiting patiently for my return.
As soon as I walked in my door, your heavy cloud started to dampen my uplifted spirit. I felt you slowly dragging me back into your darkness. I resisted your pull the best that I could. I didn’t let you knock me all the way back down, but my day was definitely ruined.
I once again sat in my living room crying for some unknown reason. My willpower and strength wasn’t enough to keep you away, and I hated myself for that. How could you so easily break my soul? Why was I so defenseless against you?
I decided I’d had enough of you and that I was done letting you control me. I stopped the tears, stood up off my couch, closed my eyes and told you to go away. I had nothing left to give you, nothing left to feel. You’d drained me of everything I had.
Sunday faded into Monday which faded into Tuesday, and eventually I started feeling better. I’d somehow made you crawl back into your eerie cave, at least for now. I prayed you’d never come back out, but I knew that was unlikely.
In those few days you threw every trick in the book at me, and I fell for them all. I tried to stay strong, but you beat me down until I had nothing left. Why did you have to do this to me? Why am I plagued with your darkness?
I know you’re gone, but I also know you’ll be back. Lucky for me your attacks only happen every now and then, but I’m already dreading the next one. No one would even know of your torture if it wasn’t for my willingness to share.
So until our next unfortunate meeting I’ll continue living my life like you don’t exist. I know you’re patiently waiting for me in the shadows, but for now I’ll act like I don’t know you’re there. That’s the only way I’ll be able to live the happy life I deserve. Thanks for the reminder though, I haven’t forgotten your everlasting presence.
The thing is we all put on a smile, but you never know what that smile is hiding. We all have pain and struggles, and even those who seem happy have demons they fight. I live a beautiful, happy life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments (or even days) of weakness and vulnerability.
My point in writing this is to show everyone what anxiety looks like at its worst. I decided to snap the pictures of myself above so that people could SEE what it does to a person, even one who has a wonderful life.
Sometimes we can feel its eerie presence among us, and other times it’s sprung on us out of the blue. I feel fortunate that I only have to deal with this from time to time, but other people out there aren’t as lucky.
If you know someone who struggles with anxiety, please be supportive of them. Don’t turn your back or tell them they’re irrational, that only makes things worse. All they need from you is comfort and encouragement. They need to know they aren’t alone.
You don’t have to understand anxiety to be a good friend, we don’t expect you to. However, I hope writing this has given you a brief look into our reality. This is what we deal with, this is what we fear, and unfortunately this fear is permanent. For we always know anxiety is lurking in the shadows, just waiting to strike again.
Myka Shantell 💋