Everyone has a crazy lady in their head. She interrupts your thoughts with her absurd claims and fears that have no basis to begin with. But at least you can silence her. I can’t silence my crazy lady. My crazy lady has found a permanent home in my head. She pretends to be my friend but she is my worst enemy. She is anxiety. Somedays, my anxiety tells me we’re spending the day together and doesn’t let me say no. She spends all day tormenting me. I know she is not me. I know she is not even my friend, but somehow she is becoming my most frequent companion. Anxiety tells me she’s looking out for me but I know she is the one I need protecting from. There are days where I feel intolerable and there is nothing I can do about it. I want to apologize to my loved ones for bringing anxiety with me where she was not invited, but I don’t know how to kick her out. I want them to understand if I could leave her behind, I would. I feel headaches and I wonder if it is anxiety’s fault, but anxiety makes excuses for herself. She tells me there are greater causes for this headache, causes that are not her, causes that she exists only to warn me about. I tell anxiety to shut up. But I believe her anyway.
Anxiety tells me to stop doing things for myself. She tells me there is no point. She gives me a list of fears. Fears so paralyzing that they make you stop thinking about a future. You spend all day paralyzed because of her. How do you explain that you can’t stop the crazy lady without making people think you are the crazy lady? How do you have such a crazy lady living in your head without becoming the crazy lady? Every day that anxiety spends tied up with me, I am absolutely terrified that we will merge together in a way that I will lose myself.
But there are days where anxiety leaves. You want to lock the door and throw a party, but deep down, you know she’ll be back. So you tell her to take her time outside of your head. These days feel like cutting out a toxic friend and not missing them one bit. Days without anxiety are days where I feel like myself. I am not the crazy lady I convinced myself I was, and this is the ultimate proof. Days without her are so freeing. They’re days where I get so much done, days that I wish I had every day. On these days, I wonder where she is. I don’t wonder for too long though, because sometimes she takes that as a cue to return. I never miss her.
When anxiety comes back, I feel her in the morning. I feel heavier when I wake up. She feels heavy in my mind. I try to ignore her so she will leave again. So she knows that she is unwanted here. But it isn’t long before she has tied herself up with me again. I’m anxious and paralyzed, tied up and tied down. I think about all of the things that no one thinks about, and I wonder why they don’t think about it, how they don’t think about it, why I do think about it. Anxiety tells me I should be thinking like this. Anxiety tells me everything will go wrong. Everyone will know. Everything is wrong. Everything you didn’t know was wrong, is wrong.
Anxiety has no evidence. She has no facts. Anxiety speculates. But my anxiety is the headline on the front page of the New York Times. I’ve only read one sentence and I’m hooked. Convinced. I don’t need to see more because I trust her. I know her. She knows me. When my anxiety visits, she doesn’t let anyone else see me. And when she does, they leave. Most people can’t handle being around anxiety. I so badly want to tell them that if they stay, we can try to ignore her. That I miss them and just because she is around doesn’t mean that we can’t be together. I hate anxiety. But it looks like I am stuck with her.