What Unmanaged Anxiety Looks Like

Every Cell of my Body is being Electrocuted

I have an anxiety disorder. You can’t see it, because I carefully, intentionally, with every fiber of my being, keep it hidden as much as I possibly can. Sometimes I can feel it surfacing. It feels like a muddy, thick goo trying to break the surface of my skin. I can feel my mouth go dry, my teeth are grinding, and I wonder if I am going to die right here in this moment. My heart is pounding right out of my chest, and I can’t catch my breath. I look for my husband. Sometimes he is near. When he is, I grab his arm and he recognizes what is going on. He can hold me in a way to calm down the raging demons most days. He isn’t always there. Every cell of my body feels like they are being electrocuted, each one separately, and with a full shocking charge. But somehow, the muddy, thick goo seems to continue to flow toward the surface of my skin and it is then that I look for a way out. Where is the nearest door; hell, even a damn window will work at this point. I don’t even tell anyone I left. My family and close friends know. They have experienced my missing person syndrome on many occasions. Sometimes, they look for me. They never find me. I carefully hide until the electrical, muddy goo feeling subsides; usually curled up in a dark closet or a black corner or alley. In the past, it has always eventually gone away – the terrifying fear consuming my entire being. I am convinced this time, the noisy, fiery demons are going to win. I am either going to die by suffocation or a heart attack. They will find my lifeless body here in this disgusting dark hell hole. They will probably think I was a homeless, mental case and never contact my family.

Constant Worrying

When the demons are not chasing me, and the muddy thick goo is not rising up through the electrically shocked cells in my body, I am calmer but not free. What if I lose my job and cannot pay the bills? I would be homeless. Who would take care of me? I am too old to be job hunting. Could I actually sleep in an alley with a sleeping bag? I mean people lived out in the wilderness for hundreds of years, I guess I could. But I don’t want to. Would my children take me in? Do I want to live with my children? What if at this very moment my children are in a horrific car accident. I text my grown daughter, “Are you alright. I had this feeling.” “I am fine mom” in a tone of voice that reflects annoyance. I don’t care. I had to know. I begin to get nauseous, sweaty and have diarrhea. What did I eat? Was it something I cooked? What if everyone that ate supper is sick and it is all my fault? Oh, I can’t call them and scare them if they aren’t sick. I will wait, but will they call me? Maybe they don’t realize it was my cooking. Now my mind is ninety miles an hour and I can’t relax. I am getting one of my migraines. I can’t go to the ER. That will make my migraine worse. Did I fill my shot prescription? My head is pounding too much to go see and too hard to call for help. Now my heart is racing so fast that I feel I am going to pass out and I can’t breathe. I am going to die, and no one is going to know it was my cooking that made them all sick. I have to get still. I have to do my breathing. Maybe I will die but maybe I can avert this feeling. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

Addicted to Drama

Finally, my heart rate calmed down and I can breathe so I get my shot for my migraine. I plunge it into my thigh. I hate that yucky metal taste in my mouth right after the shot, but I soon feel my migraine subside. I take something for my stomach and go lie down in my bed. I feel like I have completed a triathlon. The phone rings. It is my brother. He tells me he is not going to be able to come and fix my washing machine this weekend. He got free tickets to the playoffs. What? How dare he. Doesn’t he know I don’t have the money to go to the laundry mat. Besides, washing my clothes in those filthy machines makes me sick. With my bad back, I can’t lift those laundry baskets to load in the car. How can he do this to me? All so he can watch some stupid game. What am I going to wear to work? He clearly does not care about me. I call mom and tell her how he is treating me. Doesn’t he know I need his help. I try to convince mom to call him and tell him to come fix my washing machine. Mom tells me not to get her in the middle of this. I call my sister. She seems more sympathetic. My sister says she will call him and talk to him. Five minutes later my brother called me yelling at the top of his lungs. He slams the phone down. I call my daughter who tells me to let him calm down a bit and we will work something out tomorrow. I call my son and he tells me I am addicted to drama. Am I addicted to drama? I didn’t start this. How come everyone isn’t mad at my brother?

Impulsive Fixes

I go to the park and lay on a blanket to try to calm down. I look at the beautiful sky, the gorgeous flowers and the magnificent trees blowing in the gentle wind. Why is my life so hard? I look at families picnicking in the park. They seem to love each other and care for one another.  Why doesn’t my family act like those families? Why is everything so chaotic? My dad calls and tells me he will be over this weekend to fix my washing machine. I tell him not to bother, I will take care of it. I get in the car and go to Sears and buy a washing machine on credit. It will be delivered before the weekend and they will install it. In the mall parking lot, I realize that I do not have enough money left after payday to make the Sears payment next month or the months after. I can feel my mouth go dry, my teeth are grinding, and I wonder if I am going to die right here in this moment. My heart is pounding, and I can’t catch my breath. Every cell of my body feels like they are being electrocuted, each one separately, and with a full shocking charge. I can feel the muddy, thick goo surfacing…


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