On Anxiety

Sometimes, things happen in your life that change you.  They wring you from the inside out, draining you of everything you knew and replacing it with something else.  Except when you are put back together again, you are never quite the same.  Things just don’t fit together in the same way: a jigsaw assembled by a crazy toddler, the pieces forced into spaces that don’t quite fit; it is together, but the picture is not; a distorted Picasso with distorted gaps.  It is as a result of these gaps that natural disasters occur. These fault lines betray the fact that we are not quite whole, not quite what we were.  

Disaster can strike at anytime, catching you on the face or doubling you over at the stomach.  It is rocks rubbing against each other, tectonic plates colliding and splitting the surface, revealing giant chasms below; and when the shaking begins, it rumbles, rolls and shudders.  Sometimes it is  below the surface, like oceanic tectonic plates splitting, eventually causing a tsunami, unleashing wave after wave of watery destruction. More often than not, it is below the surface, never bubbling up, never revealing itself, but you know the giant crack is there.  Because in the gap it leaves, there is an uncontrollable juddering.  

Outwardly, there is nothing wrong.  You eat, sleep, take care of your child; you do the things you need to.  But inwardly, the juddering continues, moving up and down your chest, pushing your heart into your throat, rolling a boulder on your chest.  And that lump.  There is always a lump.  A constriction, a pushing, a rolling, joining the the juddering in the chasm.  The vibrations are so loud inside you, you think everyone can tell.  You look around, check yourself for outward signs, but there are none.  The juddering continues, privately, secretly, mockingly.  

Sometimes the sides of the chasm meet again, but the relief is only temporary; subduction gnaws at your insides and it all begins again.  A natural disaster.  No one is responsible, except for you.  Only you can stop it.  But you can’t.  You can’t stop it, because it stops you.  Don’t try to stop it, you can’t.  Just let it vibrate in the background and go on about your day.  You can go about your day with juddering in the chasm.  It is what is best.  

Except you can’t because it starts to control you.  A trembling, angry dictator, telling you where you can and can’t go, what you can and can’t cope with.  You can’t make plans, they might get changed.  You can’t do that.  You might fail. You can’t make decisions, you might make the wrong one. What if you make the wrong one? What then? You won’t be able to change it, and then you’ll be stuck.  Stuck, trapped, floundering.  You can’t.  You can’t. You can’t.  So don’t. 

Thus the juddering continues, a pulsating, reverberating no thing, intangible.  You try to touch it.  You press your chest, try to push the boulder down, but you can’t.  You can’t.  You can’t. You can’t.  So don’t.  

You’re too honest. You’ve told everyone now.  They know.  They know. They know how weak you are. Why did you tell them? Why do you want everyone knowing? Are you stupid?   Hide it.  Cover it.  Embrace it.  Love it.  

You will miss it when it’s gone. And it will be gone; that shuddering, those reverberations, that pressure, that rolling in your chest.  One day it will leave you.  One day you’ll control it, master it, tame it.  

But right now, you can’t write this because everyone will know.  You can’t. You can’t. You can’t.  So don’t.  


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