I wake up from apocalyptic dreams, my body twisted in the blankets. I’m not scared because this is the 5th end-of-the-world dream I’ve had since Christmas. Each dream plays out a different scenario.
In one dream, we’re in the middle of a nuclear war. In another dream, there’s lava spilling onto streets.
I’ve had anxiety since I hit puberty. It was mostly social anxiety that plagued me. For the longest time, the drugs lubricated my social interactions and conversations. Drugs protected me from the thousands of thoughts screaming inside my head.
Everyone here hates you.
If you speak, they’re gonna think you’re an ignorant fool.
Of course, these were the nicest thoughts that floated through my consciousness.
I’ve been sober for a few years now, and my anxiety has been slowly increasing. I don’t have anything to make it bearable. I’ve got no true coping skills or grounding skills for anxiety.
I’m locked in a cage while my brain throws insults. My throat closes up and my heart is ready to escape my chest. It even ventures out of social situations and into my past.
It’s an after thought that hits me in the chest, full blast. Anxiety’s fingers are gripped on my present and my past.
I don’t leave the house unless I have an appointment. If I do end up in a public space, I can feel everyone’s eyes burning into my back, their lips uttering my name.
In reality, I know I’m not that important to discuss but it sure feels like strangers are whispering about me.
I can be writing an article or browsing Netflix when panic sets in. There doesn’t have to be a trigger, it just fills me with a dread I can’t explain. The anxiety is attached to me, like my own personal rain storm brewing overhead.
Let me out of this cage. I want to breathe again.