I often liken my anxiety to being like living your entire life on a roller-coaster, both figuratively and, in some ways, literally. Literally being the feeling that it has on your stomach, it flips your stomach like you’re pelting down a massive drop and then hitting a huge loop or something. This is constant over the course of the day. My mood goes up and down with the cars on the coaster as well, I feel fine on the climb, gradually progressing towards some semblance of normality and an intrusive thought or panic jumps in and I hit the down slope, my stomach hits my throat and my chest tightens, my head hurts and I feel absolutely sick. Imagine this on repeat over the course of a day and people are still somehow surprised when I say I’m constantly tired. My fear is, every time I hit a loop, so to speak, I have no inertia keeping me where I’m supposed to be. What’s going to happen if I fall out? I will hit the ground one way or another and I’m imagining that to be the absolute rock bottom. I’m hoping that it never comes to that though and that I can hang on in that car.
It’s like there’s a constant battle of “what if…” versus “I don’t need to worry about that” versus “this could happen” versus “I’m in control and I’m a good person”, raging on through my brain too. Consciously and subconsciously. I find myself going over every time I’ve done something wrong to someone, even if it’s the tiniest thing that is long forgiven. I assume most or all people are going to turn on me and hurt me one day, even if they say they won’t. I fear losing everyone and everything I love and my worries all end in me dying. The fight or flight kicks in, the adrenaline courses, I feel sick again and I just want it to stop. If someone could apply the brakes for me and end this odyssey of obsession, I’d be delighted and forever in your debt. If only I could escape my own brain or learn how to properly settle it, that would be fantastic. I’ve tried mindfulness, meditation, medication (all the m’s) and it still doesn’t stop the eternal over-thinking and ruminating. Where’s the ejector seat? The emergency exit? They don’t exist and even if they do, they are never the option to take. I’m here, I need to be here and people need me here.
I always try and pull myself back to that conclusion above. People need me here, they need me alive. I can’t imagine what it would do to my son or my mum if I left this world. My brother, my sisters, my nieces, nephews, cousins, friends – how would they feel? I’d be escaping the pain only to leave it with them. I’d leave a shadow of myself hanging in the doorways of their minds. They see a movie, hear a passage, hear a song that reminds them of me and it’d send them into grief. My son needs his father, I needed mine and he wasn’t there and I can’t do that to my precious boy. I can’t imagine him growing up thinking I didn’t want to stay with him and see him become a teenager, then a man grown. I can convince myself that most people would understand but I doubt that’s true but the little guy especially, he’d never understand and he’d probably never forgive me. Especially if and when he has kids of his own. He would feel the same connection where you know you need to be there for them and you cannot abandon them in any sense.
Cue the tears, the fears, the sickness. Again.