This is an extract from my journal which I use to get noise out of my head. It’s pretty raw but I wanted to put into words what anxiety at it’s worst can feel like to me. Something more elaborate than saying “it’s shit”. Enjoy!
“Falling into a bottomless hole is the closest way I can describe it. Everything and everyone around me simply doesn’t matter anymore. They can’t help me, I can’t even help myself right now. Sounds blur into one and my surroundings are on fast forward yet I am able to see everything with 20 20 vision. Familiar things that normally hold some value now mean nothing and offer no comfort. My heart is pumping and I am alert. There’s no hiding from myself. Closing my eyes does nothing nor do a few gentle words from a loved one. It feels as though my soul has buried itself into the deepest, darkest parts of me and is too frightened to ever come back out.
It’s at this point I start to become upset and frustrated at the desperate situation I’m in and the lack of light at the end of the tunnel. I see no way out and i’m devastated. Hopeless. Lost in my own thoughts that I have no control over. So many thoughts bouncing around in my head yet I can’t string a simple sentence together. It’s like i’ve lost the ability to speak; there is no signal from my brain to send the words out of my mouth.
Do you know what it’s like to have a head spilling over with thoughts and no way to get them out? It’s like drowning from the inside out. Mentally.
I can hear my own voice screaming “Why are you letting this happen?! How did you get here again?! THIS IS NOT YOU!” But it’s no good because the moment for turning back has long passed. Now I just have to ride it out and hope that it ends soon.
I assure myself i’ll start to look for some magic cure that’ll prevent this from happening again. This will be the time I finally give in and take a pill to mask it, this time will be different, there is no way i’m ever feeling like this again. I start to exhaust my already overactive mind with promises that I can’t keep and get even more upset. If there were a simple cure, wouldn’t it have been found by now? Sold to the masses and shown on TV with some catchy jingle? No side effects, no health issues, just a tiny little pill that melts all of the thoughts away and is hand delivered to you by a fluffy bunny who cuddles you until the medication kicks in, assuring you everything is going to be ok.
Therapy, detoxes, herbal teas; they’ve all shown their uses but never been enough kick this once and for all. And then all i’ve been left with is something else to throw on the “Anxious BBQ” because I put too much emphasis on it working. On me being cured.
And then reality starts to kick in as that feeling of hopelessness starts to disappear. Maybe because i’ve talked myself out of it or maybe because i’m simply too exhausted to hold onto it anymore. Maybe both.
I look forward to a fresh day or sleep as this is normally what it takes for me to be me again. Happy, bubbly Emma who from the outside appears to only be concerned about what dinner will be that night.
I give myself a pat on the shoulder for getting through it again and sigh a breath of relief that I feel my normal happy self again. Once the feeling starts to dissipate it’s almost as though it never happened although a few butterflies still linger on in the depths of my stomach. They’re so familiar now I wonder what it would feel like without them?”
After an anxiety attack has passed is where it can get dangerous for me because I can be all too quick to write off what happened and want to move on as quickly as possible. But just because i’m close to feeling my bubbly self again, I try to never forget how I felt in this moment and let that push me to find better ways of handling it or actions to prevent it even happening again.
I’m currently playing around with some things – being my own guinea pig is the only way I think i’ll ever truly know the best course of action for getting a real handle on my anxiety. And it’s likely the same will be for anyone else in a similar situation.
What works for me is likely to be different to what works for someone else so my advice is to keep looking, try new things out on yourself and NEVER give up.
Anxiety or any form of mental health doesn’t have the right to grip you to the point of suffocation.