Concealed anxiety. You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. You can’t smell it. But you can feel it on every inch of your body.
It comes out from hiding when you least expect it. It’s a ghost that you never invited inside your brain. It’s a skeleton in your closet, that won’t go away no matter how many times you smash it to pieces. It’s a monster under your bed, who comes out to play at the worst possible moments.
It can even show up in your dreams, taunting you and telling you that you aren’t enough. It whispers to you as you fall asleep saying, ‘You are a fuck up. No one likes you anyway, so you might as well stop trying‘.
And as soon as you open up eyes to greet the new day, there it is again. Showing up inside your head, making your mind spin in a million different directions. It makes you want to sleep. It makes you want to hide away. It makes you want to stop trying, because what’s the point, right?
Concealed anxiety shows up through the way you grind your teeth. It shows up through the wringing of your hands, and the casual way you bite your lips so hard that they bleed. It shows up through the way you tap your foot almost as if it’s a dance. A dance to make it go away. A dance to try to get all those thoughts out of your head.
It shows up through a hundred questions all at once that pound at your head without warning. Am I good enough for this job? Am I good enough for him or for her? Will she ever forgive me? Is this mistake going to cost me my career? What if I never succeed? What if all I ever do is fail?
Will I ever be enough?
Concealed anxiety shows up through the way you have to take an extra breath of air before your morning starts. It shows up through the way you constantly yawn, in a desperate attempt to get more air into your collapsing lungs. It shows up in the weight in your chest, making you feel like an elephant is standing on your heart.
It creeps up to your brain, at the happiest of moments. On the most beautiful days. It can start so quietly, that it almost doesn’t exist for you. But all once, you become it’s victim. It’s prey.
Concealed anxiety can leave from time to time. You may think it’s gone for good. You may think it will never come back, but it just might. It comes and goes in waves. Some, more powerful than others. Some quieter, more gentle.
But let me tell you, there is nothing gentle about concealed anxiety.
Concealed anxiety is viscous. Not only does it attempt to hide away in the channels of your brain for months at a time, it leaps so suddenly back into your mind and shows itself off so abruptly.
It likes to show itself through the biting of your cuticles. Through the chattering of your teeth. Through picking at your fingers and bumps on your skin. Until you bleed. Through the plucking of your eyebrow hairs and eyelashes. Through your heart rate sending you through a 26 mile marathon. Through your lungs threatening to shut down. Until all you feel like is an exhausted piece of meat.
Concealed anxiety is a ferocious animal. And just because you can’t see it so clearly. Just because you aren’t having panic attacks everyday. Just because other people don’t notice it written on your face, doesn’t mean that it’s not there. And it doesn’t mean that what you are going through, isn’t truly petrifying.