Anxiety and I have been dating for a while. Its favorite time to visit me is late at night, a booty call of baseless worry. We tumble in the sheets violently, sweating, pleading, desperate. It is powerful and dominant; I am tearful and submissive. In the depths of our relationship, I wait for it. I sit by my phone, cancelling all other plans just in case it wants me, waiting, waiting, desperate for a rush of adrenaline.
by Stephanie Wyeld (original post)
We spend days together sometimes, propping each other up with catastrophized thoughts. It stands by me while I wait for medical test results, or to see how my kid’s day went at school. It holds me, firmly, forcing my head to its breast so I can’t breathe. It tells me, “I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I can manage this, let’s think this through, let’s just determine the worst possible outcome.”
Sometimes it pulls out the photo album and sits next to me, thigh to thigh, and we look through pictures of my history. It asks me, “what could you have done differently? What could you have done better? You were wrong, so wrong.” It laughs; it likes the photos with the biggest stories. “Tell me more,” it says, about the time I embarrassed myself, or hurt someone, or failed miserably.
Don’t feel bad, just think about it, think about it until you feel bad.
Think about it many years after the fact. Tell me all about it again so you don’t forget, ever. Never forget anything terrible you’ve done.
Don’t forgive yourself, my love.
Anxiety wants me to stay up with it, late into the night, talking, talking, the less sleep you have the more you need me.
Stay up with me, baby, I need you.
Anxiety doesn’t like it when I’m too distracted. Or if I take medicine to help me sleep. “Don’t take that,” it says, “you’ll get addicted. I’ll hold you while you rest. Just one more night with me and then you can sleep.”
“Don’t think of me,” it says, “as leaves floating by on a gentle stream. Don’t think of me as another cloud coasting by. Don’t define me by a medical diagnosis or manage me with a behavior therapy or any kind of therapy. Don’t talk about me openly with friends who love you. I exist for you.”
You will not share me, you stupid bitch, I only belong to you.
Anxiety smiles, caressing my face gently, and hits me where you can’t see it, over and over until the bones are broken. The bruises that hide behind my laugh are blue and pink and green and brown.
I tell it to leave, weeping.
It leaves me broken, bitter, exhausted. It slams the door, furious, as I watch in tears, relieved, and bleeding.
About the Author
Stephanie Wyeld made her writing debut in grade eight when the teacher read her story about the Titanic aloud to the class with the lights off for effect. She has a B.Sc.(Kin), an M.Eng, and a penchant for volunteering. Her words can be found in SavvyMom, Bluntmoms, Sammiches & Psych Meds and The Woolfer. She is on Twitter, @steph_the_twit and on Facebook.