Anxiety is not something you can romanticize in the classical sense—believe me, I’ve tried many times. As nice as the idea seems, it’s not about being a tortured intellectual or a wounded artist who makes something beautiful out of their pain and illness.
No, the harsh reality is far from that.
I tried for months to put my fear and pain in a creative outlet, but I was so unwell I could barely walk to the next room, let alone create anything. If you are like me, when you are unwell you feel that somehow you can channel this illness into some form of expression, but there I was feeling so unwell I could hardly see my closest friends and absolutely no way I could do anything constructive with what I was feeling. As you start feeling better you can channel it, as I am now; but there can be months in between of being a pale shadow of who you thought you were.
The reality of anxiety and panic I found was: waking up to all-night sweats, shaking and feeling suffocated in the walls of your house so you run to get outside and be able to breathe, only to find outside it’s actually your own skin that’s suffocating you. Exhaustion, nausea, and muscle tension finally give way to cramped and dizzying sleep at 3 AM as the room spins due to pure exhaustion and adrenaline pumping through your body. Then you wake up in a couple short hours and do it all again, day after day—or months. Living life in such a heightened state of panic you can no longer tell the difference between good and bad releases of adrenaline. You can’t sleep, you can’t eat. You can’t leave your house, yet you can’t sit still, either. Every action of the day is an immense battle of will.
For me it was a battle I couldn’t win alone—not without help.
After almost a year of this on and off, and six months of being completely broken down not sleeping or eating for days at a time, I had to face the fact I needed medical help. Anxiety is just a part of my life, who I am.
I tried everything I could find in the realm of holistic medicine. After months, I was so exhausted I finally broke and saw doctors—so many doctors. Waiting rooms, hospitals, offices. So many white soulless buildings certain they had the cure. They hand out Valium like candy, then tell me how addictive they are. Anti-depressants are my last resort.
I am completely overcome with fear and sickness. I don’t know if I will ever be who I was back in 2014, I fear that man is gone. Now I am whoever this pale shaky shell is. I hope those I love still see him in here.