What I Wish You Knew About My Anxiety

I wish you knew that most of the time I feel like I have lost all control over my own life, that I am doing the very best I can – and often times my best is barely enough to get me through the day.

I wish you knew that my anxiety is like a never-ending game of Jenga building up inside of me; each trigger like a block moving to the top, destabilizing me from the inside out.

I wish you knew that “just tired” has lost all meaning to me; I am wholly enervated, drained to my core, unable to lift my head from under this blanket for fear that the world will crash in on me.

I wish you knew that breathing does not come naturally; that my heavy sighs are not an expression of frustration, but rather my body’s desperate response to a lack of air.

I wish you knew that sometimes being surrounded by people makes me feel alive – for about 15 minutes and then I am taken down by an overwhelming feeling of dread. That walking down a crowded street can make me feel like I’m drowning in a pool of bricks, unable to push my way to a surface.

I wish you knew about the guilt. How it drips off of me with every outburst brought on from the nervousness that festers in my bones. How it follows each and every breakdown because I am lucky. Because I have everything. Because there is no reason to be anxious or depressed. Because I should be happy.

I wish you knew about the tears. The hot and furious ones that come on despite protest, the silent streams that crawl down my chin and neck coating my cheeks without me realizing it, or the ones that bring me to my knees in the kitchen on perfectly beautiful sunny days.

I wish you knew that there is nothing “wrong”. I wish you knew that there is no explanation you will find satisfying for why my panic attacks come on like waves in a storm. I wish you knew that the swift swing from happy to devastatingly sad is as jarring and unsettling to me is as it is to you.

I wish you knew that I am not something you can fix and that I fight every day against the darkness so that it does not come to define me. I wish you knew that some days I lose that battle. Those are the days I wish you knew how much I need you to understand, to be kind, to be there – to remind me to breathe.

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Astra is a twenty-something madness who likes to write short stories that are, kind of like her, barely there. Her soul is happiest when she is reading, or being around people who lift up her spirits.

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