That gnawing in your stomach.
The tightness in your chest.
A million thoughts running through your mind.
A thousand failures.
A thousand imaginary eyes staring back at you, disgusted.
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You did something bad.”
“You will never succeed.”
“He hates you.”
“He doesn’t want you anymore.”
“You’ve ruined everything.”
Anxiety. It’s an awful monster that affects 40 million people in America, 8.2 million in the U.K. as well as many others. And yet those who experience it, myself included, feel completely alone when we are suffering through it.
It chews up your insides and knocks down confidence like a stack of cards. No matter how many times you talk to yourself about how things will be okay, the voice of anxiety always yells over it, causing tension and fear.
You spend nights crying yourself to sleep from fighting with your own mind and you wake up exhausted and defeated.
This has been me the last few days.
I suffer from anxiety, and have for at least the past 10 years if not longer.
My usual morning routine right now is getting up with Nathan, he showers while I get dressed and mentally prepare myself for the day, then we walk together to the restaurant downstairs for breakfast with his co-workers. After breakfast I give Nathan a quick hug and kiss before he leaves for work. I walk back to the room, get my backpack, and sit in the small sitting area and work on my blog posts and video editing and whatever else I need to get done.
For the past two or three days (I’ve honestly lost track of the days.), I try to wake up with Nathan and I end up being a weighted chunk of meat, struggling to keep my eyes open enough to get out of bed. My muscles and joints ache from tension and struggle and I end up having to stay in bed while Nathan leaves for breakfast.
This has made me feel like a failure.
I’ve spent a lot of time this week, thinking and trying to pin-point where my anxiety is stemming from. The problem is that sometimes when we do this, the anxiety ends up running around like a opposing magnet side. We get close, and then it scurries away and you’re back at square one.
I talk to my friends and try to voice what I’m feeling, and then come to amazing conclusions as to what is causing this, and then I completely lose my reasoning as soon as we end the call.
I’m told by my friends and guides to talk to Nathan and tell him that I’m struggling. Tell him my concerns so he can help alleviate them, and yet I lie in bed beside him, crying from fear of sharing and then being rejected and him leaving. My stomach turns. “No. I can’t talk tonight. I can’t lose him today.” And yet my gut knows he would be sympathetic and encouraging. It’s like I enjoy the suffering. Although I know there’s a way to reduce, if not completely release this worry, I still sit in silence and continue the cycle. Why?
Anxiety isn’t rational. Although it’s primary purpose was to help, it is not helping, but hindering us to an existence of worry and sleepless nights.
So today, after another night of restless sleep and pain that led to another morning of sleeping in and eyes with the ever-darkening circles under them, I sat at my computer and although I wanted to ignore what was happening and simply post about what Mexico has been like, I couldn’t. I had to share with you so you could know that you’re not alone in experiencing this.
We are a large, tired and beaten army. We stand together in the trenches of life as these bombs eventually cause us to be numb to the noise and the shaking. We stand. We sigh, and we wait. And then one day, we’ll find a solution. We’ll find our footing and find a way up and out of this trench and numb state we suffer in.
Then, as the sun rises, we will see each other as we grasp the hands of the others, stretched along the horizon.
(P.s. The cover photo of this post was edited to make me look more beaten down than I actually do. I don't have a black eye or anything! I simply darkened my dark circles. <3)