The ropes are becoming increasingly taut against my ribcage as I struggle to force the oxygen into my lungs; my throat is closing in on itself as my saliva is forming a watery wall around it– my heart is fighting a losing battle against a sternum that seems to be forcing itself from the anterior to the posterior of my body and I can’t breathe I can’t swallow I can’t escape the absolute tenseness in my neck that is travelling to the rest of my muscles like rapid fire; everything is on fire there is fire in my veins in my brain in every crevice of my body– an explosion is imminent. This is it thisistheend.
It’s not the end; the rational component of who I am knows that the ropes which crush me are nothing but the influence of the anxiety that encroaches on my mind without my permission. The ropes are not real, but their influences are– here I am, lying in bed, feeling as if the world itself is collapsing onto my chest even though I fully understand that this is not my reality.
This chaos is not caused by stress; I am currently on winter break and– for the first time in years– I do not have some mundane assignment looming over me, demanding to be acknowledged. Yes, I have to go to work, but I enjoy my job. There is nothing immediate or urgent for me to accomplish yet the demons in my mind refuse to cease their incessant torrent of whispered poison:
“You are insufficient.”
“You are doing nothing worthwhile with your life.”
“Who the fuck do you think you are? Do you really think that you have an impact on the world?”
“Stop lying to yourself. You’re lazy, unintelligent, unattractive… you’re delusional. You’re a disgrace.”
“You’re a narcissist addicted to being desired.”
My anxiety manifests itself into a monologue of misguided self-hatred. Of course, I attempt to declare “Hey, anxiety, fuck you. I have a high IQ and I made the dean’s list of a very rigorous school, so I must not be unintelligent. I have been chased by guys, so I can’t be that unattractive. I have done many things– I was drum major, I was highly- awarded in mock trial, I didn’t overdose on pills because I care about my family more than I care about my own suffering– despite you encompassing my mind in flames and tearing into my nerves while shrieking demands for me to quit. You are the one inflicted with delusions, not me.”
But then I worry about being a narcissist. I shouldn’t think of myself as better than anything; I need to be humble. I can’t be self-centered– I can’t let myself create an elated perception that does not reflect who I truly am. Any triumph that my rebuttal claims against anxiety is engulfed in the tide of fearful confusion; the path that I have created to lead myself away from self-hatred is washed away and I am back to being lost in myself with nothing to guide me but the ever present noise of demons beating against the shore of my consciousness.
For me, remaining stationary is not restful or bliss; lethargy is an entity that I fear. When static, my mind runs rampant and stampedes my confidence into a broken remnant of what it once was.
I need to be occupied with something– anything. I can’t allow myself to fall victim to this vicious and conflicting cycle of self-hatred.
I have to find my way out of stagnancy.