Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
You know anxiety. It feels weird to say it but you think you have a handle on it.
The constricted chest? Inhale while counting to four. Exhale while counting to four.
The racing thoughts? Still your body. Watch your thoughts till they slow down.
The diarrhea? Well, you’re just going to have to stay close to indoor plumbing.
You know how to honor your anxiety. “I’m feeling a bit anxious. That’s because this is important to me.”
But if you get ‘this’ wrong, will you die? No.
It’s worthy of prior preparation. But not of panic so painful it stops you in your tracks.
So ‘it’ shows up and you ride it out. And lo and behold! You didn’t die. You mastered a demon.
But what about its twin?
Now this sucker hits you out of nowhere.
Suddenly concrete blocks are chained to your feet. And to your heart. The color is sucked out of the world. You drown under a blanket of such heavy purposelessness that there really is no point in getting out of bed.
But, of course, the world forces you to surface. You eat. You shower. You grin. But that icy pool of nothing exists just outside that activity.
You might try television. Food. Arguing with a loved one. Anything to feel alive again. But you just can’t seem to take a breath.
Let’s try this again. It worked last time.
“What am I feeling?”
The water begins to swirl.
It has you in its cold grip.
Water flows into your throat. No air left.
But out of nowhere, a tiny voice answers.
You surface. You sputter.
“I’m afraid of being alone. Of not being loved.”
Who does the voice belong to? A little kid at a party, overwhelmed by noise and people. The class clown, joking away her loneliness. A young woman bullied at work.
And what do you tell this small voice?
There is nothing that sounds right. That sounds honest.
But you’re here now. Not drowning. Just here. Contemplating that icy pool. And maybe that’s all you need.