The Anatomy Of An Anxiety Attack

Sometimes I think I talk myself into panic attacks just to feel something. Singular emotions only take the human mind so far, and then we need something to compel us to feel. And with the absence of the affirmation of true love in my life, or excitement, or something to look forward to, it’s hard. So instead of dealing with the monotony of being in an idle place, I feed into toxic thought patterns.

It’s a familiar road, and I know that it will lead to tears on my pillow case. After I cry, I will sleep. And I hope with all of my heart to find the love, the hope, the validation, or whatever I need that removes the burden of seeking something to fill the emotional void sooner than later. To call it a void is outspoken, because something is there, just not what needs to be. Precious anxiety. And I’m holding onto her for dear life behind closed doors.

I understand the narrative that is most popular in our generation. I’m supposed to find and perfect myself before loving someone else, but goodness, if I’m not a mess on most days. It’s a mess that I’m slowly cleaning up, but I wish that my vulnerability was enticing enough to provoke someone to come and stay a while. I wish they’d look in my eyes and see the humanity that feels a little too deeply at times. And I’m not asking him to come in and fix what he didn’t break. Not by any means. Self-accountability and responsibility are extremely important to me. I am a realist. Admittedly, I can’t always love myself like I should, but I’d love him with my whole heart.  I’d pay more than I can afford to have a love that’s mine and wants to be, even on the bad days.

I have men in my life. At times, though, I feel like I’m holding them hostage. For some reason they stay, but they couldn’t care less if it all ended someday. I have to watch what I say, even about myself. I can’t get real with them, because any sign of instability and they will punish me with silence. It’s a life of double texting and double-mindedness. I often find myself feeling isolated in a room sitting next to them. And even with multiple potential partners, no one is risking anything. No one will hang their heart on the line. My own stays in a constant state of limbo based on their next moves. My own holds its steady place on my sleeve. And it’s a big heart that I’ve got—I couldn’t hide it away even if I wanted to.

My journals are full of unrealistic goals. Maybe if I lose weight, get plastic surgery, and feel much less, they will want me more. I’ll Instagram my pictures with “good vibes only” to protect myself from the monstrosity of damaged goods that I’ve become. As long as someone else loves me, maybe I’ll be able to value myself.

My hands begin to tingle and my chest begins to feel a tinge of pain. I contemplate going to the emergency room, because although I’ve don’t this a million times, this could be a heart attack. Deep down, I know it’s only my brain attacking my heart in a fit of spite, seeking revenge.

And then comes the hurtful words: You’re worthless. You’re fat. You’re too emotional. No one will ever want you. You’re an ugly mess. How dare you be high maintenance. He told you that you were unlovable. You couldn’t even keep him around. Look at you now. All alone. You just had to go demanding respect that you didn’t deserve. Pathetic.

It goes on and on, my own mind handpicking insults, replaying traumatic moments and reassuring me that somehow I could have changed the outcomes. Reminding me to be quiet, because no one ever understands. And at last, the first tear falls.

In a sick way, there’s a sense of relief, because I feel something. Intensity to someone who struggles with anxiety is like a drug. The fine line between reality and what my perception decides is valid and right is often blurred. Social cues are nearly impossible, because the slightest change in tone of voice or expeditiousness of response will have one convinced that the relationship is completely tarnished.

I find difficulty existing in these moments. Internal loneliness makes for long nights and days that never seem to end.

Southern girl, Introverted socialite, Fluent in day dreamer.

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