Unraveling anxiety

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

manjittthapp
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 thought 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 chest— but it cannot run from itself, just like I cannot.

An hour later finds me pacing — 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.

 

These Unromantic Addictions

“Since when did I need to have all my senses occupied, confounded all at once? Since when have I been fighting the silence of my own soul? “

forests
Source: Rainonawindopane

I wonder who I was before I had a smartphone? It might seem silly but…how did I take my meals before, if not before a phone screen? (Probably in front of the TV, my mind supplies). But why do I need a distraction from food? Food is delicious. An all-consuming kind of experience all on its own. And yet why?

Since when did I need to have all my senses occupied, confounded all at once? Since when have I been fighting the silence of my own soul? The kind that is without distraction. A silence of the eyes, the mouth, the ears, the mind. I feel as though all these voices from outside have shut the one from within, drowning it out in noise, its message lost in the static. No, truly, it has become hard to do nothing. It has become hard to just be. Scrolling down newsfeeds, giving likes, that is the new nothing.

But lately, I have been longing for a deep breath the way a smoker craves the scent and feel of nicotine in their throat. I have been yearning to do nothing. To air out my mind the way you air out a dress that has been stuffed in the back of a closet for too long. The insides of my brains have turned musty. So now, I have this wild desire to have my brain cells caressed by the breeze, to let the coolness of a zephyr tickle my thoughts, turning them crisp and fresh again. I have had enough of this prison of the senses. I do not want to be entertained. I do not wish to be distracted from myself, from the truths swirling inside of me.

I kindof just want to be, away from this unromantic little addiction.

 


Note: This is a late entry for Day 16 of my NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. You can read the entry for Day 15 here.  This is a bit different from what I usually write, a little less whimsical and not something I expected to write for NaNoWriMo but hey, phones might not be very romantic to write about but they’re still a thing.