Anxiety — it begins first as a blizzard in your belly, and even the simplest of things seem to rise like mountains before you. The weight of climbing out of bed crashes down on your chest until you feel you cannot move or breathe and troubled thoughts pelt down at you like hailstones that never seem to subside or relent.
You smile through grit teeth to hide the thick black smog of sadness billowing from the crippling inferno inside you that you did not have the tears left to put out, while friends and family wrap their arms around you and tell you, “Hey, there is nothing to worry about.”
And isn’t that what sickens you most. By all measures of logic, you know in your heart they are right. It is a beautiful world and a beautiful life and, relatively speaking, all of your troubles and fears appear petty and small next to what others face day in and day out in other less fortunate parts of the world.
So why does not seem to matter? Why do you still feel so stuck and afraid?
Because anxiety does not listen to logic. Because anxiety is an urgent, deafening thing and no matter the number of reasons you have to remain happy or positive, when it is present, you can hear nothing else.
You feel you cannot bring yourself to move because there is too much ahead of you and there is too much ahead of you because you cannot bring yourself to move. It is a perfect storm — a vicious cycle of fear feeding inaction and inaction feeding fear — a self-made prison that you alone carry the key to, but lack the courage to use.
But as with all things in life, there is always hope. Over the years and through experience I have come to believe that anxiety has a weakness and that weakness is momentum.
You take one small step, and then another. You compartmentalize your life down into manageable chunks and check them off one after another. And though at first the ground below your feet may seem unstable or jagged, and every so often you will lose footing and progress, with every lunge forward you will begin to feel the strength seep back into your bones and new purpose flow wild and free through your veins. With your every decision to take action in your life, the slant of your path ahead will begin to flatten out until it no longer feels like you are scrambling up the sheer face of a cliff, but instead, moving softly and easily across smooth, solid ground.
The fact of it is, for sufferers of anxiety, there will always be more mountains to climb – a seemingly infinite number that can often span the length of a life – but trust in this: you will climb them over and over because you have to. You will climb them because there is nothing here for you down at the foot of the mountain. You will climb them because the view at the summit is beautiful.