What Anxiety is Like

When you're laying in shavasana in the middle of your hot yoga class, and all of a sudden you can't breathe, because a song triggered a memory that brought on intense panic.

When you're sitting in your car, key in the ignition, but you can't turn it because you can't calm your breath, can't stop the tears, can't focus your eyes.

Like you're out of control, like your body isn't yours any more, like something has taken you over and it won't let you go.

Like nothing makes sense and it's all moving too fast and you can't make sense of anything.

Like everything is rough and sharp and rubbing me the wrong way.

It's all a blur of intensity, of hypersensitivity, of everything firing all at once yet somehow still feeling numb.

Like you're drowning, thrashing, trying to come up for air, but your lungs are collapsing and your limbs are too tired and your brain is screaming at you to just give up and let it take you under.

When you're laying in bed, bundled in every thick layer you own, cocooned in several blankets, yet you still can't stop shivering and shaking.

When you know what is true, but you can't seem to remember any of it now, and you're convinced no one would care if you tried to tell them what was happening to you.

Like every rational thought goes out the window and all you can hear are the lies on repeat, the fear taking over, the stress surrounding you.

When you try to write, try to process, try to pray, but the words won't come.

It's all too much, yet nothing is helping, and nothing feels like enough to make it stop.

Like you're wrestling a monster much bigger that you, one that somehow knows your every weakness and can exploit them all at once, leaving you defenseless and helpless and trapped.

Like you're falling into quicksand, like the floor has fallen out beneath you, like you can't find anything sure or steady to bring you back to solid ground again.

When you feel a million miles away and completely alone even when loved ones are within reach.

When you're doubled over in the shower, your hot, angry tears streaming down your face with the falling water.

Like desperately wishing for some kind of rescue, some way out.

Like you're under attack, under siege on all sides, defenseless and wounded but unable to wave a white flag.

When you rub on the oils and drink mugs of tea and attempt to read Scripture and ask the friends to pray, yet you still feel like nothing can touch it, not when it's this big, this bad.

When you can't even find the words for it, the reason for it, the trigger behind it, the explanation for why it's happening yet again when things seemed to be so fine.

Like the darkness has fallen and your eyes haven't adjusted and you're stumbling around just trying to find a way to turn the light back on.

Like you've stumbled into a wasteland, a desert, a maze.

Like you're fighting a losing battle.

Like you're somehow broken, somehow weak.

Like each new breath takes every ounce of effort you can muster.

Like you live with the fear that it could happen again, just when you least expect it.

Like fighting, drowning, waiting, wishing, hoping, praying, breathing, sinking, struggling, surviving.

This is anxiety.