Anxiety is the treacle in my hair, licking my cheeks as I rest my head on the pillow at night. In the morning when I go to shower I realise there wasn’t as much treacle as I thought there had been but it is still frustratingly hard to get the remnants out of those last few strands.
It’s the sound of blood pulsating in my ears as I am forced to experience a thought I would normally avoid. An advert. A video. A pop-up on my computer.
It’s my trembling limbs as I try to disguise them under a table so no one sees.
It’s reading back a text message to a health professional and wishing you had switched your phone off that day.
It’s the desperate loneliness of knowing what you’re saying sounds completely ridiculous to the listener but to you it is such a terribly real fear and that 0.001% possibility of it happening is far too high for you to ever be able to stop thinking about it.
It’s the furrowed brow of your family and friends as you try to explain just one of the debilitating thoughts you experience 1,000 times a day and the exasperating response of “That’s ridiculous” when you already know it is, but that statement doesn’t lower the chances of it happening to me.
It’s the nudge in the night to wake your partner to tell them that this time you really are dying and you need them to call an ambulance.
It’s the relief, when you calm down, that they didn’t wake up when you nudged them.
It’s the “Don’t you worry” response that makes you long for the time it was actually only a fleeting worry.
It’s wanting your partner to know exactly what this feels like, when an unwanted thought arrives in your head and makes you feel like it has wrapped itself around your lungs and entered your throat choking your words whilst playing the video of your greatest fear on repeat and simultaneously, never wanting anyone you care about to ever have to feel this way.
It’s 1000 videos of a sleeping baby.
It’s an A4 piece of paper telling you that when you’re having a panic attack you might feel like you’re going to shit your pants, but you’re not. You might feel dizzy, but you won’t faint. You might see things, but they’re not there. Which is funny because this time I’m 100% positive that I really am going to faint and shit my pants.
It’s watching your dog running around a field completely unaware of the turmoil in your head, and making a wish that you too were a dog so that you could have relief from this feeling.
It’s begging the magpies in the garden to hang out more and stop leaving that one fucking guy on his own, just as I look out of the window.
It’s running up the stairs just one more time to stop the bad thing happening but explaining to the people with you that you’re trying to reach your step count for the day.
It’s the “Sorry, what were you saying?” and the “Can you say that again?” as you zone out of a conversation to do a mental risk assessment on the random thought you just had that is now expanding in to a worry. Into a fear. Into a premonition. Into a fact.
It’s the smiling face whilst sat on a tipping chair.
It’s the treacle in my hair.