Anxiety is a thief. It will rob you blind and the worst part is that you won’t know you’ve been robbed until you are staring at this empty hole inside your soul wondering what the hell happened. Anxiety moves quickly and hits you when you are least expecting it.
It is a beautiful summer day. The sky is crystal blue with not a cloud to be seen. The birds are chirping and the wind feels so good on your face as it casually passes by. Even the trees seem relaxed as their leaves dance around in the sun. It’s a good day….that is for most people.
I wake up on this gorgeous summer day and I know it’s gorgeous because that’s just stating a fact. Immediately following this realization a pit settles in my stomach. I shouldn’t say it settles in my stomach like it’s new; this pit has been lodged in my stomach for so long now. I feel afraid and I don’t know why. I should feel happy on this beautiful day, but beautiful days scare me. They are a reminder of how awful I am feeling on the inside. A dark and gloomy day matches my mood so much better.
It’s Friday and my day is filled with the normal things a 21 year old care free girl does. I lay out, working on my perfect tan, go shopping and I even get my nails done. It is a day that should leave me feeling rested and rejuvenated as I prepare to go out with my friends, but my anxiety always has other plans.
As I lay in the sun I am trying to calm the rhythm of my breathing. I have had such trouble breathing. I feel as if I have to fight for each breath. I feel like I have a knife stabbing me in the chest. I feel like I can’t get a full breath in and then I can’t fully exhale. All of these feelings cause me to panic and instead of relaxing in the sun I am gasping for air. I find that I am holding my breath and then quickly taking a deep long breath in, and it hurts. It hurts every time. I decide that laying here is too much work and I get up to go inside. It is lunchtime and I am already drained.
I decide to go shopping because I really want a new outfit to wear out tonight, but just the thought of going into the mall makes me panic. I debate with myself back and forth for over an hour on whether or not to go the mall. The store I love is in the mall, but that means I’ll have to go into the mall. The mall is one of my biggest triggers for my panic attacks. Every time I have set foot into a mall within the past year it has been torture. I have had constant panic attacks throughout each experience, but right now I really want to go to my favorite store. I can’t do it, I want to, but I just can’t. After this ridiculous fight with myself I end up going to Mandee’s and buying a new shirt. This has become my go to store because it’s easy. It’s a typical storefront building so it’s small which means I am in and out. That gives me less time to worry about dying. I am always worrying about dying.
I end up at the nail salon much later than I had planned. As I sit in the chair I am desperately trying to relax, but again I become fixated on my breathing. It just hurts so bad and I want to scream. No I want to cry. I want to scream and cry. I am terrified that I am going to pass out. I can’t catch my breath and I fear that I might be having a heart attack. Frantically I look at the clock and then back to the lady doing my nails and she just smiles at me. She’s just sitting there with such a calm smile on her face painting my nails my color of choice “wicked,” looking as if she has not a care in the world and here I am freaking out. I might run. I feel like I should just get up and go. But I really want her to finish my nails. I WANT TO HAVE PRETTY NAILS! I am getting so upset. This is ridiculous. This day has been exhausting. What if I’m having a heart attack? Then that little voice pops into my head, “you’re not having a heart attack, it’s just anxiety and you are crazy.” Now I really want to cry. For the next twenty minutes I bash myself quietly inside my head as the calm lady smiles and finishes my nails.
You are crazy. You are losing your mind. Why can’t you just relax? You do this to yourself. You deserve to feel like shit. You are a bad person. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as these awful thoughts take over my mind and I am smiling. I am sitting in the chair with this stupid smile on my face. Crazy people smile all the time I think to myself.
I leave the nail salon and drive home. I have a great tan, a cute outfit and awesome nails. That night I bail on my friends and end up staying home. Stupid fucking anxiety.
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