The Anatomy of an Anxious mind


The Anatomy of an Anxious mind

I am a Time Traveler. I live in the nebulous space between today and tomorrow; somewhere between this second and the next.

I see the future laid out before me during every waking moment. All the endless possibilities compete for my attention and I, a mathematician by default, continually calculate my odds.

Anxiety disorder is a serious mental health condition that can be crippling for those who suffer from it. Even daily activities can be hampered by the effects of this condition including panic attacks, increased heartbeat and racing thoughts. It’s normal to be nervous or anxious about things once in a while, but for individuals suffering from this condition, it can be unbearable to carry on with the normal functions of life. And anxiety is as a result of overthinking. So instead of carrying on with your day you’re worrying whether or not your friend, whom you’ve known for years, really wants to meet up? She sounded kind of busy when you called. And now no work shall be done today because of the tone of someone’s voice, which probably had nothing to do with you to begin with.

As I jump from the future to the present and then back again, I am deprived. I see everyone around me living a normal life and experiencing time linearly. It must not be for me, though, this mundane existence. I am made for adventure, and so I go. 

Anxiety stems from a preoccupation with the future. You are never in the present. And if you have a very common comorbidity, depression, you are also overly-concerned with the past too. As a journalist and researcher I spend lots of my time reading dense content and requiring long periods of concentration. This becomes a joke if I’m having a bad day because how do I focus when my body is convinced it’s at the edge of a cliff? Living with anxiety is like living with an invisible chronic illness so no one will take you seriously if you ever decide to explain how it feels to exist in your body. Some of you would not last even 24 hours. Especially the people who drop off to sleep 3 seconds after laying their heads on the pillow. Those are the ones I envy the most.

I am a Time Traveler. I live in the space between the release of the guillotine and the bounce of the head off the executioner’s block. In that endless moment of panic and despair, I make my home. 

A constant fight is always ongoing between my soul and my physical form. Time Travel cannot be experienced by the physical body. And so my body itches as my spirit tries to escape. The only escape is sleep. Or… 

Trigger warning; anxiety might come with suicidal ideation because what kind of life is this? Where you are fraught from the moment you open your eyes to the time you close them? A body going through multiple panic attacks in a day is no joke. And that’s why I don’t understand our disdain for people on psychiatric medication. They’re just trying to live a semblance of a normal life. The worst thing is that GPs in the clinics around this country will not have any sympathy for you either. From an actual doctor to me while in the middle of a panic-attack a few years ago: “You? A 25-year-old with anxiety? For what reason? Your mother has more reason to be a nervous wreck, she has lived longer than you and has more problems.”

On the spaceship through Time, I hold a funeral. Grieving for time not yet lost but soon to be lost. Because I am stuck on my spaceship. Watching through the windows to what I could do; what I could be doing. I see versions of myself moving through activities, taking part in the real world with everyone else. I wish I could switch places with her, that me that is part of the corporeal world. But all I can do is watch.

Having anxiety is dying multiple deaths multiple times a day. Because the feeling that grips you and raises the hair on your arms and tightens your chest is too real and you feel like your heart is really going to stop beating in the next moment. I would not wish this on my worst enemy but for my fellow Time Travelers, there is hope. Anxiety can be treated through medication and/or psychotherapy. There are also lots of resources online on strategies to manage your symptoms.

As a Time Traveler, I am Damocles, seated on King Dionysius’ throne with a sword over my head held only by a single hair of a horse’s tail. I grip the arms of the throne and clench my teeth and remain that way as I rocket through Time. Will the fear get me first or will the sword?

I wish for the sword to fall.


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