Unraveling anxiety

“Anxiety, I have learned too many times, feels like choking on fear.”

Art by : Manjit Thapp

Quietly, the cold dread seeps in.

And my heart, like a cup in the sink, drinks, drinks, drinks….until it drops, sunken, to the bottom. The glacial dampness seizes my throat, clouds my head and I swallow around it.

I thought, I thoughtΒ I had it under wraps. I thought, a thought too much an accusation, that I was getting better now. But my heart has sunk to my feet, dragging everything in its passage. Lungs, stomach, even my veins feel weighed down, crushed under some leaden weight. Where a void emerges in my chest now, the cold dread fills it in, and colours outside the lines.

Anxiety, I have learned too many times, feels like choking on fear.

Shuddering breaths enter and leave my body and I forget the 4-7-8 that helps so well. Yet the fog in my head won’t clear, will not be shaken off. It’s not long before my eyes, too, turn cloudy. It’s never this huge explosion though, and that may be the worst part of it all. Anxiety gears up, perpetually, for something that never comes to pass. It constantly renews a state of turmoil, churns old fears anew. So, an hour later, my heart has still not settled. Racing, still. Like me, it tries to run away from problems, to leap out of my chestβ€” but it cannot run from itself, just like I cannot.

An hour later finds me pacing β€” a quiet release. Up and down, around the same streets, I am shuffling. It soothes my brain somehow and subtly releases some of the fog from behind my eyes, clears the veil of smoke obstructing my view.

Breathe. Breathe.

An hour later, like many other days, like countless other moments like these, finds me at the beach. Deliverance comes in all soft, crashing waves and the sharp, the grounding tang of salt, the sea breeze, the trees that sway in a comforting, lulling rustle.

Breathe. Breathe.

And I do.

I force myself to see beyond the fog. To become the lighthouse that guides a keeling boat to safety as the storm rages on. I breathe and draw out patterns from the sand, swishing my foot sideways, leaving behind shaky archs and footprints beneath. And the sea, crashing, reborn every few minutes, perpetually setting itself back together, plucks at the tangles in my body. With every soft crash, my heart rate slows and Anxiety unravels under the pale, warm sunlight. All the fog has vanished into the sea, whisked away by the salt spray and the smell of iodine. Anxiety comes undone a half-hour later, nothing now but a soft tiredness cloaking my bones. The boat that rocked dangerously is now safely brought to shore, swaying from the aftershock.


4 thoughts on “Unraveling anxiety”

  1. Wow! This is exceptionally poignant … wonderfully poetic description of anxiety. I’m afraid I don’t have enough words to express my appreciation of your very apt portrayal of such an ominous, mental demon! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment πŸ™‚ It’s always tricky trying to write about something this personal, that is different for each and every one of us. I am so happy that it has resonated with you πŸ™‚ I wish you all the best on your hopefully anxiety-free journey !

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, it certainly resonated with me on a deeply personal level… You see, I’m bi-polar w/clinical depression and both GAD and SAD. So once again, thank you … Oh, and I’ve also shared your wonderful article on FB. Blessings to you!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am sad to hear that,truly. At the very least, I am happy this brought you some comfort, if any. Thank you for sharing, it’s always appreciated ! I hope you have a wonderful week ahead πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

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